Music

Related disciplines

The music program is structured to integrate theory and practice. Students select a combination of component courses that together constitute one full course, called a Music Third. A minimal Music Third includes four components:

  1. Individual instruction (instrumental performance, composition, or voice), the central area of study around which the rest of the program is planned
  2. Theory and/or history (see requirements below)
  3. A performance ensemble (see area requirements below)
  4. Concert attendance/Music Tuesdays (see requirements below)

The student, in consultation with the faculty, plans the music program best-suited to his or her needs and interests. Advanced students may, with faculty consent, elect to take two-thirds of their course of study in music.

 

2017-2018 Courses

Music

Cross-Cultural Listening

Open , Lecture—Fall

This course may be counted for either humanities or social science distribution credit. It may also be taken as a semester-long component. No prior experience in music is necessary.

This course will explore the relationship of listening, music, and sound across different cultural and historical contexts. Recent scholarship on listening and sound has revealed how listening plays a crucial role in the formulation of theories about music, and we will study how various ideas about listening inform contemporary understandings of music and sound. Drawing from cultural theory, research from the field of sound studies, and ethnographic case studies from ethnomusicology and anthropology, we will understand key concepts of listening with specific musical and sonic examples. Course units may include technologies of listening, listening as an impetus for empathy and to stimulate political action, strategies for listening to cultural and musical difference, and music and sound as tools for torture and for healing. Individual class sessions may include sound technologies such as the phonograph and the MP3; soundscapes; music therapy; and the listening contexts of individual genres such as Iranian pop, Buddhist chant, Balinese Gamelan, muzak, and EDM. Participation in the Gamelan Angklung Chandra Buana (Balinese music ensemble) is strongly encouraged.

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Related Disciplines

Ecomusicology: Music, Activism, and Climate Change

Open , Seminar—Spring

This course may be counted as either humanities or social science credit. It may also be taken as a semester-long component. No prior experience in music is necessary.

This course looks at the intersections of music, culture, and nature. We will explore music in nature, music about nature, and the nature of music in the human experience. We will study how artists and musicians are using music and sound to address climate change by surveying important trends in the young field of ecomusicology, such as soundscape studies, environmental musical criticism, acoustic ecology, and animal musicalities. Themes will range from music vs. sound and the cultural construction of nature to aurality and the efficacy of sonic activism. Class sessions may include Appalachian coal mining songs, indigenous music from the Arctic, art music composition, soundscapes, field recordings, birdsong, soundwalks, and musical responses to environmental crises such as Hurricane Katrina and the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan. Participation in the Faso Foli (West African percussion) ensemble is strongly encouraged.

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Related Disciplines

Music, Mind, and Meaning: The Perception and Cognition of Music

Open , 3-credit seminar—Fall

The ability to read music is preferred but not required.

As early as Pythagoras and Aristoxenus, humans have tried to characterize and explain how music is understood, processed, and endowed with meaning despite seeming to have no obvious semantic content. As we have come to learn more about human cognition in general, our engagement with music has been explored with much greater understanding of the intersecting aspects of our nature as biological organisms that impact our cognition of music—from our segmentation of audio streams, to our conceptualization of musical objects and tropes, to the role that gesture plays in our experiences of “motion” in music. This course will survey several major areas of music cognition and perception. We will explore how modern insights into cognition can inform analyses of compositions from various historical periods, primarily from the Western concert-hall tradition. Students taking the course as a component in one of the performing arts Third programs (Music, Dance, or Theatre) will complete regular weekly readings and/or analytical responses. For students taking the course as a three-credit seminar, the weekly readings and analytical exercises will be supplemented with at least one in-class presentation and two additional analytical essays (on topics to be assigned).

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Theory I: Materials of Music

Component

Hearing and Singing is taken concurrently with this course. This course is a prerequisite to the Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition and the Advanced Theory sequence.

This introductory course will meet twice each week (two 90-minute sessions). We will study elements of music—such as pitch, rhythm, intensity, and timbre—and will see how they combine in various musical structures and how these structures communicate. Studies will include notation and ear training, as well as theoretical exercises, rudimentary analyses, and the study of repertoire from various eras of Western music.

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Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition

Component

The materials of this course are prerequisite to any Advanced Theory course. Survey of Western Music is required for all students taking Theory II who have not had a similar history course.

As a skill-building course in the language of tonal music, this course covers diatonic harmony and voice leading, elementary counterpoint, and simple forms. Students will develop an understanding through part writing, analysis, composition, and aural skills.

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Advanced Theory: Advanced Tonal Theory and Analysis

Component

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the required theory sequence or an equivalent background.

This course will focus on an analysis of tonal music, with a particular emphasis on chromatic harmony. Our goal will be to quickly develop basic understanding and skill in this area, and then to refine them in the analysis of complete movements and works. Our repertoire will range from Bach to Brahms, and we will try to incorporate music that class participants might be studying in their lessons or ensembles.

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Advanced Theory: Jazz Theory and Harmony

Component

Prerequisite: Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition.

This course will study the building blocks and concepts of jazz theory, harmony, and rhythm. This will include the study of the standard modes and scales, as well as the use of melodic and harmonic minor scales and their respective modals systems. It will also include the study and application of diminished and augmented scales and their role in harmonic progression, particularly the diminished chord as a parental structure. An in-depth study will be given to harmony and harmonic progression through analysis and memorization of triads, extensions, and alterations, as well as substitute chords, re-harmonization, and back cycling. We will look at polytonality and the superposition of various hybrid chords over different bass tones and other harmonic structures. We will study and apply all of the above to their characteristic and stylistic genres, including bebop, modal, free, and progressive jazz. The study of rhythm, which is possibly the single most important aspect of jazz, will be a primary focus, as well. We will also use composition as a way to absorb and truly understand the concepts discussed.

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Advanced Theory: Orchestration and Score Study

Component

Although this course will be important for composers, it is predicated on the conviction that learning more about the capabilities of instruments—both individually and in combination—is invaluable to the appreciation of music for anyone. Of course, a composer needs to learn the timbral palettes of various instruments, as well as how to write idiomatically for them; but performers, theorists, and historians benefit enormously, as well. They learn both why some musical choices were necessary, but also why some choices are especially clever or even astonishing. The first semester will focus on basic characteristics and some extended techniques of the primary orchestral instruments and will include considerations and examples for orchestral and chamber literature. The second semester will add a few more advanced and/or less-standard instruments—such as the harp, guitar, and synthesizer—but will primarily focus on extensive score study with an eye toward varied approaches to orchestration. Examples will include works from the Baroque era all the way to the present day. All students will compose small excerpts for solo instruments and chamber groups as each instrument is introduced. For composers, the first-semester project will be an arrangement of part of an assigned piano piece for full orchestra; the final project will be a relatively brief original composition for large chamber group or full orchestra. Non-composition students will have the option to either do those projects or substitute with relatively brief papers, analyzing the orchestration in pieces chosen from a list provided by the instructor.

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Advanced Theory: 20th-Century Theoretical Approaches: Post-Tonal and Rock Music

Component

Prerequisite: Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition.

This course will be an examination of various theoretical approaches to music of the 20th century—including post-tonal, serial, textural, minimalist, and pop/rock music. Our primary text will be Joseph Straus’s Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory; but we will also explore other relevant texts, including scores and recordings of the works themselves. This course will include study of the music of Schoenberg, Webern, Pink Floyd, Ligeti, Bartók, Reich, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Corigliano, and Del Tredici, among others.

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Hearing and Singing

Component

This class also fulfills the performance component of the music program for those beginning students who are not ready to participate in other ensembles.

This class focuses on developing fluency with the rudiments of music. It is the required aural corollary to Theory I: Materials of Music. As students begin to explore the fundamental concepts of written theory—reading notes on the staff, interpreting rhythm—Hearing and Singing works to translate these sights into sounds. The use of solfège helps in this process, as ear, mind, and voice begin to understand the relationship between the pitches of the scale. Rhythm drills help solidify a sense of rhythm and a familiarity with rhythm patterns. In-class chorale singing supports this process. All incoming students will take a diagnostic test to determine placement.

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Sight-Reading for Instrumentalists

Component

This course is open to all instrumentalists who are interested in developing techniques to improve their sight-reading skills. Groups from duets to quintets will be formed, according to level, and will meet once a week. A sight-reading “performance” will be held at the end of each semester.

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20th-Century Compositional Techniques

Component

Students should have taken Theory I: Materials of Music or its equivalent.

Composers have been exploring new avenues for creating and organizing their music beyond a traditional tonal construct since the turn of the 20th century. As we will discover, some composers relate to the past by extending those techniques into a new realm; others firmly attempt to establish procedures that disregard the history of compositional methods that precede them. This course is a workshop in the art of composition, with a focus on new approaches to writing that composers devised during the late 19th century to present times. We will examine in detail significant works by a wide variety of major 20th- (and 21st-) century composers: beginning with the first inklings of Modernism in Debussy, Wagner, and Schoenberg; stopping by a myriad of resulting genres, such as Neoclassicism in Stravinsky and Minimalism with Steve Reich; and finishing off with very recent compositions by established and emerging composers from across the globe. Since this class focuses heavily on compositional techniques through the act of composing, it is expected that students have or will develop a fluency in notation, preferably with Sibelius or Finale. The class will culminate in a reading session of your final work by live performers.

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Introduction to Electronic Music and Music Technology

Component

Permission of the instructor is required.

The Sarah Lawrence Electronic Music Studio is a state-of-the art facility dedicated to the instruction and development of electronic music composition. The studio contains the latest in digital audio hardware and software for synthesis, recording, and signal processing, along with a full complement of vintage analog synthesizers and tape machines. Beginning students will start with an introduction to the equipment, basic acoustics and principles of studio recording, signal processing, and a historical overview of the medium. Once students have acquired a certain level of proficiency with the equipment and material—usually by the second semester—focus will be on preparing compositions that will be heard in concerts of electronic music, student composers’ concerts, music workshops, and open concerts.

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Recording, Sequencing, and Mastering Electronic Music

Component

Permission of the instructor is required.

This course will focus on creating electronic music primarily using software-based Digital Audio Workstations. Materials covered will include MIDI, ProTools, Digital Performer, Logic, Reason, Ableton Live, MaxMsp, Traction, and elements of Sibelius and Finale (as connected to media scoring). Class assignments will focus on composing individual works and/or creating music and designing sound for various media such as film, dance, and interactive performance art. Students in this course may also choose to evolve collaborative projects with students from those areas. Projects will be presented in class for discussion and critique.

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Studio Composition and Music Technology

Component

Open to a limited number of advanced students who have successfully completed Studio for Electronic Music and Experimental Sound and are at or beyond the Advanced Theory level. Permission of the instructor is required.

Students work on individual projects involving aspects of music technology including, but not limited to, works for electro-acoustic instruments, live and/or prerecorded; works involving interactive performance media–laptop ensembles; Disklavier; and improvised or through-composed works.

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Survey of Western Music

Component

This component is required for all students taking Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition and is also open to students who have completed the theory sequence.

This course is a chronological survey of Western music from the Middle Ages to the present. The course is designed to acquaint the student with significant compositions of the Western musical tradition, as well as to explore the cyclical nature of music that mirrors philosophical and theoretical ideas in Ancient Greece and how that cycle appears every 300 years: the Ars nova of the 14th century, Le nuove musiche of the 17th century, and the New Music of the 20th century and beyond. The course involves participation in listening, reading, and discussion, including occasional quizzes about and/or written summaries of historical periods. Presentations are required during the second term.

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Jazz History

Component

This is one of the music history component courses required for all Advanced Theory students (see above).

Jazz music of all styles and periods will be listened to, analyzed, and discussed. Emphasis will be placed on instrumental styles and performance techniques that have evolved in the performance of jazz. Skills in listening to and enjoying some of the finer points of the music will be enhanced by the study of elements such as form, phrasing, instrumentation, instrumental technique, and style. Special emphasis will be placed on the development of modern jazz and its relationship to older styles. Some topics: Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, roots and development of the Big Band sound, Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, lineage of pianists, horn players, evolution of the rhythm section, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, be-bop, cool jazz, jazz of the ’60s and ’70s, fusion and jazz rock, jazz of the ’80s, and modern trends. The crossover of jazz into other styles of modern music, such as rock and R&B, will be discussed, as will the influence that modern concert music and world music has had on jazz styles. This is a two-semester class; however, it will be possible to enter in the second semester.

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The Modern String Quartet: Evolutions and Styles

Component—Fall

This course will begin with the origins of the string quartet form in the Classical and Romantic eras and will then explore the many “-isms” of the 20th and 21st centuries as they manifested themselves in that format. The course will function as both a history course—introducing the biographies of many composers, as well the evolution of the most important stylistic trends of the modern and contemporary eras—and as a music literature course—acquainting the student with seminal string quartets and unsung classics of the genre. In addition to the usual common-practice suspects, students will be introduced to the lives and works of Béla Bartók, Dmitri Shostakovich, Gloria Coates, Anton Webern, Ruth Crawford-Seeger, Sofia Gubaidulina, Per Nørgård, Ben Johnston, Joan Tower, Philip Glass, and others. The evolution of many styles will be explored, including spectralism, serialism, microtonalism, eclecticism, minimalism, and brutalism.

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The Modern Symphony: Evolutions and Styles

Component—Spring

This course will begin with the origins of the symphonic form in the Classical and Romantic eras, and will then explore the many “-isms” of the 20th and 21st centuries as they manifested themselves in that format. The course will function as both a history course—introducing the biographies of many composers, as well as the evolution of the most important stylistic trends of the modern and contemporary eras—and as a music literature course—acquainting the student with seminal symphonies and unsung classics of the genre. In addition to the usual common-practice suspects, students will be introduced to the lives and works of Igor Stravinsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, Gloria Coates, Anton Webern, Galina Ustvolskaya, Amy Beach, Per Nørgård, Wolfgang Rihm, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, John Adams and others. The evolution of many styles will be explored, including spectralism, serialism, microtonalism, eclecticism, minimalism, and brutalism.

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Monteverdi to Monteverdi

Component—Spring

Permission of the instructor is required.

Claudio Monteverdi occupies a truly unique position in music history. His early works are masterful examples of the often serene and balanced style of late Renaissance vocal music. Yet, by the end of his long life, he had become a key player in developing and establishing the much more personal and often extravagant musical language of the early Baroque. Our course will follow this journey, as well as some of his other extraordinary transitions—such as from the secular and privileged world of the court of Mantua to directing musical worship at St. Mark’s in Venice and eventually returning to the secular sphere by being an engine of early commercial opera. We will also have an opportunity to examine important aspects of his artistic evolution by comparing the youthful innocence and immediacy of his L’Orfeo to the cynicism and wisdom of his late work, L’Incoronazione di Poppea. In addition, we will attend a number of performances of his music in New York City and invite some professional stage directors and singers to share their insights into the Italian master.

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Cross-Cultural Listening

Component—Fall

See full course description under Lecture and Seminars.

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Ecomusicology: Music, Activism and Climate Change

Component—Spring

See full course description under Lecture and Seminars.

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Chamber Choir

Component

Chamber Choir meets twice a week. An audition is required.

Early madrigals and motets and contemporary works especially suited to a small number of voices will form the body of this group’s repertoire. The ensemble will perform winter and spring concerts.

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The Blues Ensemble

Component

An audition is required.

This performance ensemble is geared toward learning and performing various traditional, as well as hybrid, styles of blues music. The blues, like jazz, is a purely American art form. Students will learn and investigate Delta Blues—performing songs by Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Skip James, and others—as well as Texas Country Blues by originators such as Blind Lemon Jefferson and Chicago Blues, beginning with Big Bill Broonzy and moving up through Howlin’ Wolf and Buddy Guy. Students will also learn songs and stylings by Muddy Waters, Albert King, and B.B. King and learn how they influenced modern bluesmen such as Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughn and pioneer rockers such as Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jimi Hendrix.

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Jazz Colloquium

Component

An audition is required.

This ensemble will meet weekly to rehearse and perform a wide variety of modern jazz music and other related styles. Repertoire in the past has included works by composers Thelonius Monk, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock, as well as some rock, Motown, and blues. All instruments are welcome.

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Jazz Performance and Improvisation Workshop

Component

A placement audition is required.

This class is intended for all instrumentalists and will provide a hands-on study of topics relating to the performance of jazz music. The class will meet as an ensemble, but the focus will not be on rehearsing repertoire and giving concerts. Instead, students will focus on improving jazz playing by applying the topic at hand directly to instruments, and immediate feedback on the performance will be given. The workshop environment will allow students to experiment with new techniques as they develop their sound. Topics include jazz chord/scale theory; extensions of traditional tonal harmony; altered chords; modes; scales; improvising on chord changes; analyzing a chord progression or tune; analysis of form; performance and style study, including swing, Latin, jazz-rock, and ballade styles; and ensemble technique. The format can be adapted to varying instrumentation and levels of proficiency.

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Jazz Vocal Ensemble

Component

An audition is required.

No longer do vocalists need to share valuable time with those wanting to focus primarily on instrumental jazz and vice versa. This ensemble will be dedicated to providing a performance-oriented environment for the aspiring jazz vocalist. We will mostly concentrate on picking material from the standard jazz repertoire. Vocalists will get an opportunity to work on arrangements, interpretation, delivery, phrasing, and intonation in a realistic situation with a live rhythm section and soloists. They will learn how to work with, give direction to, and get what they need from the rhythm section. It will provide an environment to learn to hear forms and changes and also work on vocal improvisation, if they so choose. This will not only give students an opportunity to work on singing solo or lead vocals but also to work with other vocalists in singing backup or harmony vocals for and with each other. And it will serve as a great opportunity for instrumentalists to learn the true art of accompanying the jazz vocalist, which will prove to be a valuable experience in preparing for a career as a professional musician.

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Jazz Vocal Seminar

Component

An audition is required.

This component is an exploration of the relationship of melody, harmony, rhythm, text, style and how these elements can be combined and manipulated to create meaning and beauty. A significant level of vocal development will be expected and required.

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Self-Discovery Through Singing

Component

This course encourages an exploration of the student's vocal ability and potential. Each singer develops his/her technique through repertoire and vocal exercises geared to individual ability and specific voice type. At the core of instruction is the required weekly "practice sheet,” which becomes the tool for "self-discovery.” Each semester ends with a class performance in recital format.

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So This Is Opera?

Component

An audition is required.

This course is an introduction to opera through an opera workshop experience that explores combining drama and music to create a story. Open to students in the performing arts (music, dance, and theatre), as well as to the College community at large. All levels are welcome. Weekly class attendance is mandatory.

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Studio Class

Component

A placement audition is required.

This is a beginning course in basic vocal technique. Each student's vocal needs are met within the structure and content of the class.

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Seminar in Vocal Performance

Component

During the course of their studies and with permission of their instructor, all Music Thirds in voice are required to take Seminar in Vocal Performance for two semesters.

Voice students will gain performance experience by singing repertoire selected in cooperation with the studio instructors. Students will become acquainted with a broader vocal literature perspective through singing in several languages and by exploring several historical music periods. Interpretation, diction, and stage deportment will be stressed.

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African Classics of the Post-Colonial Era

Component—Fall

From highlife and jújù in Nigeria, to soukous and makossa in Congo and Cameroon, to the sounds of Manding music in Guinea, and to “Swinging Addis” in Ethiopia, the decades following World War II saw an explosion of musical creativity that blossomed across sub-Saharan Africa. Syncretic styles merging African aesthetics with European, Caribbean, and American influences and instruments resulted in vibrant new musical genres that harken back to traditional African sources while exploring bold and original musical forms. As European powers formally withdrew from their former colonies, newly inspired African musicians took advantage of broadened artistic resources and created vital, contemporary musical expressions. This performance course will explore a wide range of African musical styles that emerged in the second half of the 20th century. We will undertake a broad musical history, considering prominent groups and individual musicians during this time period, and will perform tightly structured arrangements of some of their most effective and influential pieces. There will be some opportunities for genre-appropriate improvisation and soloing. A wide range of instruments will be welcome, including strings, horns, guitars, keyboards, drums, and various other percussion instruments. A basic facility on one’s musical instrument is expected, but prior experience with African musical aesthetics is neither assumed nor required.

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Gamelan Angklung Chandra Buana

Component—Fall

A gamelan angklung is a bronze orchestra that includes four-toned metallophones, gongs, drums, and flutes. Rhythmic patterns played upon the instruments interlock and combine to form large structures of great complexity and beauty. The gamelan angklung that we will play was specially handcrafted in Bali for the College and was named Chandra Buana, or “Moon Earth,” at its dedication on April 16, 2000, in Reisinger Concert Hall. Any interested student may join; no previous experience with music is necessary.

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West African Percussion Ensemble Faso Foli

Component—Spring

Faso Foli is the name of our West African performance ensemble: It is a Malinke phrase that translates loosely as "playing to my father's home." In this class, we will develop the ability to play expressive melodies and intricate polyrhythms in a group context, as we recreate the celebrated musical legacy of the West African Mande Empire. These traditions have been kept alive and vital through creative interpretation and innovation in Africa, in the United States and in other parts of the world. Correspondingly, our repertoire will reflect a wide range of expressive practices, both ancient in origin and dynamic in contemporary performance. The instruments we play—balafons, dun dun drums, and djembe hand drums—were constructed for the College in 2006, handcrafted by master builders in Guinea. Relevant instrumental techniques will be taught in the class, and no previous experience with African musical practice is assumed. Any interested student may join.

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Awareness Through Movement™ for Musicians

Component—Spring

This course will offer a selection from the thousands of Awareness Through Movement lessons developed by Moshe Feldenkrais. The lessons consist of verbal instructions for carefully designed movement sequences that allow the students to better sense and feel themselves and thereby develop new and improved organizational patterns. These gentle movements are done in comfortable positions (lying, sitting, and standing), and many instrumentalists and singers have found them to be hugely helpful in developing greater ease, reducing unwanted tension and performance anxiety, and preventing injuries. Another benefit is the often increased capacity for learning and, perhaps most importantly, an increased enjoyment of music making and the creative process.

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Baroque Ensemble

Component—Spring

An audition is required.

This performance ensemble focuses on music from roughly 1600 to 1750 and is open to both instrumentalists and singers. Using modern instruments, we will explore the rich and diverse musical world of the Baroque. Regular coachings will be supported by sessions exploring a variety of performance practice issues, such ornamentation, notational conventions, continuo playing, and editions.

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Bluegrass Performance Ensemble

Component—Spring

Bluegrass music is a 20th-century amalgam of popular and traditional music styles, emphasizing vocal performance and instrumental improvisation, that coalesced in the American Southeast in the 1940s. This ensemble will highlight through performance many of the influences and traditions that bluegrass comprises, including ballads, breakdowns, “brother duets,” gospel quartets, Irish-style medleys, “modal” instrumentals, “old-time” country, popular song, and rhythm and blues, among many possible others. Though experienced players will have plenty of opportunities to improvise, participants need not have played bluegrass before. The ensemble should include fiddle, 5-string banjo, steel-string acoustic guitar, mandolin, resophonic guitar (Dobro®), and upright (double) bass.

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Chamber Music

Component

Various chamber groups—from quartets or quintets to violin and piano duos—are formed each year depending on the number and variety of qualified instrumentalists who apply. There are weekly coaching sessions. Groups will have an opportunity to perform at the end of each semester in a chamber music concert.

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Chamber Music Improvisation

Component—Fall

Class size is limited. An audition is required.

This is an experimental performing ensemble that explores a variety of musical styles and techniques, including free improvisation, improvisational conducting, and various other chance-based methods. The ensemble is open to all instruments (acoustic and electric), voice, electronic synthesizers, and laptop computers. Students must be able to demonstrate a level of proficiency on their chosen instrument. Composer-performers, dancers, and actors are also welcome. Performance opportunities will include concerts and collaboration with other programs—such as dance, theatre, film, and performance art—as well as community outreach.

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Evolution of a Performance

Component—Spring

Permission of the instructor is required.

This advanced seminar presents a unique resource designed to help students develop well-informed and inspired performances. The content of this course will be carefully tailored to participants’ interests, needs, abilities, and chosen repertoire. It will include a combination of the following: textual criticism and possible creation of a performance edition; consideration of performance practices, drawing on historical documents and recent scholarship; study of historical instruments; review of pertinent analytical techniques and writings; analytical, compositional, and ear-training assignments; readings that explore the cultural, artistic, and emotional worlds of the composers studied; in-class performances and coaching; and discussion of broader philosophical issues relating to authenticity in performance. This course is for accomplished and highly motivated performers who have a theory background commensurate with completion of at least the first semester of Advanced Theory: Advanced Tonal Theory and Composition. It is especially suitable for instrumentalists and singers who are preparing for a recital or performances of major chamber music works.

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Experimental Improvisation Ensemble

Component—Spring

Permission of the instructors is required.

This class explores a variety of musical and dance styles and techniques, including free improvisation, chance-based methods, conducting, and scoring. We will collaboratively innovate practices and build scores that extend our understanding of how the mediums of dance and music relate to and with one another. How the body makes sound and how sound moves will serve as entry points for our individual and group experimentation. Scores will be explored with an eye toward their performing potential. The ensemble is open to composer-performers, dancers, performance artists, and actors. Music students must be able to demonstrate proficiency on their chosen instrument. All instruments (acoustic and electrical), voice, electronic synthesizers, and laptop computers are welcome.

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Guitar Class

Component

This course is for beginning acoustic or electric guitar students by recommendation of the faculty.

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Guitar Ensemble

Component

Permission of the instructor is required.

This class offers informal performance opportunities on a weekly basis as a way of exploring guitar solo, duo, and ensemble repertoire. The course will seek to improve sight-reading abilities and foster a thorough knowledge of the guitar literature. Recommended for students interested in classical guitar.

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Keyboard Lab

Component

Placement arranged by the piano faculty.

This course is designed to accommodate beginning piano students who take Keyboard Lab as the core of their Music Third. Instruction takes place in a group setting, with eight keyboard stations and one master station. Students will be introduced to elementary keyboard technique and simple piano pieces.

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Senior Recital

Component—Spring

An audition is required.

This component offers students the opportunity to share with the larger College community the results of their sustained work in performance study. During the semester of their recital, students will receive additional coaching by their principal teachers.

Violin Masterclass

Component

This class meets weekly and involves both playing and discussion. Each student is required to prepare a solo piece. An accompanist will be present before and during each class to rehearse and perform with students. Each master class is organized as a series of individual lessons that address recurrent performance problems, including discussions concerning technical and musical issues (basic and advanced), as well as performance practices. All students will receive copies of the works being performed.

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Master Class

Component

Master classes—a series of concerts, instrumental and vocal seminars, and lecture demonstrations pertaining to music history, world music, improvisation, jazz, composition, and music technology—take place on Wednesdays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in either Reisinger Concert Hall or Marshall Field House Room 1. The classes are open to the College community.

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Music Faculty

Music Workshops and Open Concerts

Component

These workshops provide an opportunity for students to perform music that they have been studying in an informal, supportive environment. In this class, participants will present a prepared piece and receive constructive feedback from the instructor and other students. Along with the specifics of each performance, class discussion may include general performance issues such as dealing with anxiety, stage presence, and other related topics. Each term will consist of three workshops, culminating at the end of each semester in an open concert that is a more formal recital. The entire SLC community is welcome and encouraged to participate.

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Dance and Music Improvisation

Component—Spring

Permission of the instructors is required.

This class explores a variety of musical and dance styles and techniques, including free improvisation, chance-based methods, conducting, and scoring. We will collaboratively innovate practices and build scores that extend our understanding of how the mediums of dance and music relate both to and with one another. How the body makes sound and how sound moves will serve as entry points for our individual and group experimentation. Scores will be explored with an eye toward their performing potential. The ensemble is open to composer-performers, dancers, performance artists, and actors. Music students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in their chosen instrument. All instruments (acoustic and electric), voice, electronic synthesizers, and laptop computers are welcome.

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Related Disciplines

The New Elements: Mathematics and the Arts

Open , Lecture—Spring

This lecture will explore the bearing of modern mathematical ideas on 20th-century Western creative and performing arts. Euclid’s collection of geometric propositions and proofs, entitled The Elements, is an archetype of logical reasoning that, since antiquity, has had a broad influence beyond mathematics. The non-Euclidean revolution in the 19th century initiated a radical reconception of not only geometry but also mathematics as a whole. We will investigate, on the one hand, mathematical content as a source of new forms of expression, including non-Euclidean geometry, the fourth dimension, set theory, functions, networks, topology, and probability. On the other hand, we will study mathematical practice and the artists and writers who, intentionally or not, reflect modern mathematical attitudes in an attempt to break with the past. While this lecture does not aim for a comprehensive survey of the entire last century, we will investigate a sequence of case studies, including: Russian Suprematist art; the Bauhaus school in Western European architecture and design; Serialism in Western music; OuLiPo, “a secret laboratory of literary structures” in post-war French literature; and the origins of postmodern dance in 1960-70s North America, among others. This course assumes no particular expertise with mathematics or cultural history. Course readings and a program of art and performance viewings, both in lecture and off campus, will establish a basis for investigating the relevance of fundamental mathematical concepts to modern literature and the arts. Group conferences will provide practice for students, working with such mathematical concepts as they relate to particular artistic practices.

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