Martin Goldray

Marjorie Leff Miller Faculty Scholar in Music

BA, Cornell University. MM, University of Illinois. DMA, Yale University. Fulbright scholar in Paris; pianist and conductor, with special interests in 17th- through 20th-century music. Performed extensively and recorded as pianist, soloist, chamber musician, and conductor; performed with most of the major new music ensembles, such as the New Music Consort and Speculum Musicae; worked with composers such as Babbitt, Carter, and numerous younger composers and premiered new works, including many written for him. Toured internationally as a member of the Philip Glass Ensemble from 1983-1996; conducted the premieres of several Glass operas and appears on many recordings of Glass’s music. Conducted film soundtracks and worked as producer in recording studios. Formerly on the faculty of the Composers Conference at Wellesley College. 2010 Recipient of the Lipkin Family Prize for Inspirational Teaching. SLC, 1998–

Undergraduate Courses 2020-2021

Music

First-Year Studies: FYS in Music

Open , FYS 1C—Year

In this class we will study the major styles and techniques of Western classical music. No prior knowledge of music or music theory is required. Technical and analytical terms will be introduced as we go, but students who have had some background in music theory will be able to do more advanced work in conferences. The material will range from the music of the Middle Ages to the present day. Musical works will be examined in detail, as well as in the context of various other issues: What was the role of art in society? How did music relate to the other arts? What social and economic issues affected the dissemination of music? What role does history and interpretation play in our understanding of music? Students will meet for weekly conferences during the first six weeks of the semester and every two weeks thereafter.

Faculty

The Beatles

Open , 3-credit seminar—Fall

This course may also be taken as a semester-long component.

The impact of The Beatles has been immeasurable. In their seven years as a recording band, they explored and enlarged every aspect of songwriting technique, producing one musical milestone after the next. This class will trace the development of The Beatles chronologically through their 12 original English albums and the singles that were released alongside them. We will focus on the ways in which The Beatles used harmony, phrase structure, rhythm, structural ambiguity, and sonority in continuously innovative ways. We will also look at some of the of musical styles and cultural phenomena that The Beatles assimilated and transformed, from early rock & roll, Motown, and The Goon Show to 1960s counterculture, and explore how The Beatles, in turn, influenced music and culture in the 1960s. There will also be guest-led discussions by other members of the music faculty on the following topics: The Beatles and the evolution of studio recording; the use of electronic music techniques (Yannelli); Norwegian Wood and the great sitar explosion (Higgins); electric guitar techniques (Alexander); and acoustic guitar techniques (Anderson).

Faculty

The Music of Russia

Open , 3-credit seminar—Spring

This course may also be taken as a semester-long component.

This course will survey the great contributions of Russian composers to Western music from the first half of the 19th century to the end of the Soviet era and beyond. We will study those works in the context of the important historical events and intellectual movements that galvanized Russian artists: the desire to find the appropriate expression of Russian identity, the ambivalence toward the achievements of Western Europe, the ideals of civic responsibility, the aestheticism of the later 19th century, the Russian Revolution, and the repressions of Soviet society. The music of Russia is in a constant dialogue with literature, politics, religion, and philosophy—and we will attempt to follow the threads that link the music to those subjects. Composers to be studied include Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Musorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Scriabin, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Gubaidulina. We will end the course with a look at emigré composers such as Stravinsky, who composed his most Russian works for non-Russian audiences.

Faculty

The Beatles

Component—Fall

See course description under Lecture and Seminars.

Faculty

The Music of Russia

Component—Spring

See course description under Lecture and Seminars.

Faculty

Previous Courses

The Beatles

Component—Spring

See full description under Lecture and Seminars.

Faculty

The Beatles

Open , 3-credit seminar—Spring

The impact of The Beatles has been immeasurable. In their seven years as a recording band, they explored and enlarged every aspect of songwriting technique, producing one musical milestone after the next. This class will trace the development of The Beatles chronologically through their 12 original English albums and the singles that were released alongside them. We will focus on the ways the Beatles used harmony, phrase structure, rhythm, structural ambiguity, and sonority in continuously innovative ways. We will also look at some of the musical styles and cultural phenomena that The Beatles assimilated and transformed—from early Rock & Roll, Motown, and The Goon Show to 1960s counterculture—and explore how The Beatles, in turn, influenced music and culture in the 1960s. This course will be taught with a little help from my friends on the music faculty, who will lead discussions on the following topics: The Beatles and the evolution of studio recording (Yannelli), their use of electronic music techniques (Yannelli), Norwegian Wood and the great sitar explosion (Higgins), electric guitar techniques (Alexander), and acoustic guitar techniques (Anderson). Several evenings during the semester will be devoted to film viewings.

Faculty

The Philosophy of Music

Open , Lecture—Spring

This course may also be taken as a semester-long component.

Music is central to most of our lives. How can we understand the experience of music? What does music express? If it expresses emotions, how do those emotions relate to the emotions we experience in everyday life? Can music without words express emotions with as much clarity as music with words? As a background to these questions, we will also be looking at issues concerning the nature and experience of art of general; and we will examine the views of writers such as Plato, Kant, Schopenhauer, Dewey, and Adorno and compare how they understand the role of art in society and in our own experience. The musical repertory will include medieval and Renaissance music, music by Bach, songs by Schubert, and examples from the symphonic repertory by composers such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinsky. We will study those works using the techniques of formal analysis that are generally used in music-history classes but also attempt to draw out the many contextual threads: How are they embedded in a culture, and how do they reflect the temperament and orientation of the composers? While most of our musical examples will be from the classical repertory, other styles will also occasionally be relevant. The goals of the class will be to understand how musical and philosophical thought can illuminate each other and to deepen our awareness of the range and power of music. No prior knowledge of music theory or history is required; we will introduce and define the terms we need as the class proceeds.

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Related Disciplines

The Art of Interpretation

Open , Seminar—Fall

This course may be counted as either humanities or creative arts credit. This course may also be taken as a semester-long component.

Interpretation is a central activity in human experience—it’s how we make sense of things from works of art to peoples’ actions; but much of the time we’re unaware of how we go about making our interpretations. In the classical music world, interpretation is central and usually carefully considered. Every moment of a performance of classical music is mediated through the performer’s interpretation. Much of what we do as performers goes far beyond the instructions on the page. Are there rules or constraints on this process? What criteria can we use to evaluate performances? How have performance styles changed, and how can we relate those changes to our contemporary tastes? In this class, we will look at scores and listen to performances from the entire history of Western music and reflect on the many interpretive decisions made by singers, instrumentalists, and conductors. We will study historical sources and write critical appraisals of performances. Readings will range from historical writers such as Leopold Mozart, C. P. E. Bach, Tosi, Muffat, North, Frescobaldi, and Quantz to contemporary writers such as Taruskin, Harnoncourt, and Haynes.

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Philosophy of Music

Component—Spring

See full course description under Lecture and Seminars.

Faculty

The Art of Interpretation

Component—Fall

See full course description under Lecture and Seminars.

Faculty

Conducting

Component

The first semester will cover the basic techniques of conducting, score-reading and analysis, interpretation, period styles, instrumental techniques, orchestration from a conductor’s point of view, and a comparison of conducting styles. The repertory will range from Baroque to new music. The second semester will focus on leading rehearsals with live players.

Faculty

Philosophy of Music

Open , Lecture—Spring

This course may be taken as a five-credit humanities class or as a component of a Music Third.

In recent years, a number of philosophers have examined the experience of music: Does it express emotions? And, if so, how? Does it convey meaning? Can we use the idea of narrative to help understand music without a text? Etc.? This class will begin by examining some different perspectives on the role of music—and art in general—in life and thought, including that of the Ancient Greeks, Kant, Hegel, Dewey, and Adorno. We will then look at the work of more recent philosophers. The ideas presented in the class will always be related to musical examples; the class will equally involve reading and attentive listening. Musical examples will come mostly from the Western classical tradition, but some other traditions may also be relevant. The goal of the class will be to see how music and philosophical thought can illuminate each other and, hopefully, to deepen our awareness of the range and power of music. We will use analytical techniques in looking at pieces of music, but prior knowledge of music theory is not required.

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Related Disciplines

20th-/21st-Century Music History

Component

In this class, students will study the history of Western music from the beginnings of modernism at the end of the 19th century, with music by Debussy and Mahler, to music of today. The focus will be on the study of major works in various genres (symphonic music, opera, chamber music, and vocal music), but we will also examine the changing social and intellectual contexts of the period such as the influences of two world wars, the rise of mass entertainment, the development of recording and broadcast media, and the changing role of the arts in society.

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