MH 106 – Music and Culture (Dyer)
Survey of music’s dynamic interface with culture and society, past and present, including music’s relationship to politics, race, religion, and identity. In this course, we will approach music as the study of a cultural product, as a human activity deeply enmeshed in social, political, economic, philosophical, religious, ecological, and individual contexts. We’ll ask what examining music can tell us about cultures and history, and what examining cultures and history can tell us about different musics. Ultimately, we’ll ask what it even means to talk about “music” or “culture” in the first place.
MH 202/MH 212 – History and Literature of Music I (Vajjhala), CFA 165
Historical survey of music from 1750 to the present; 2nd sem. Required of all CFA and CAS music majors. Prereq MH 201/211. 3/4cr
MH 327/MH 427 – Selected Topics in Music History: The Concerto from Vivaldi to Copland (Sholes)
Prereq: CFA MH 201/211 and 202/212. Examination of the history of the concerto genre from the Baroque Period to the twentieth century. Composers addressed include Corelli, Vivaldi, Handel, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Paganini, Liszt, Grieg, Schumann, Brahms, Dvořák, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Elgar, Stravinsky, Ravel, Bartok, and Copland. Issues considered include formal and stylistic evolution and influence and cultural and performance contexts, as well as the persona of the virtuoso and other aspects of reception history. 3/4cr
MH 333/MH 433 – History of Rock (Coelho)
MWF 10:10-11, FLR 134
This course will provide both a wide-angled and narrowly focused examination of the blues in its musical and cultural dimensions. The idea of “Crossroads” is particularly apt here, as we will define the blues as a place where cultures and styles meet, as well as the birthplace of the musical style that gave rock and jazz its mythical and real past. We will trace the history, stylistic development, and adaptations of the Blues from its origins in late 19th-century America through its migration north to Chicago, its split into rock and R&B, its eventual revival in Britain during the 1960s, and its transformation, through R&B, into Funk. Along the way, we will look closely at case studies of players and groups, become familiar with the many musical techniques used by some of the most important Blues artists, songs, and albums, and we will end with a reflective and creative activity about how the Blues speaks through you. 3/4cr.
MH 334/434 – Interdisciplinary Topics in Music: The Difficulty of Being: Cocteau’s Paris, 1889-1963 (Shenton)
This course offers a comprehensive study of the renaissance of music in France after the Franco-Prussian War, concentrating on Paris as a musical center. Based around the work of novelist, philosopher, artist and musician Jean Cocteau and his extraordinary circle of colleagues, it will examine the socio-political background to important events, and will look closely at allied arts (especially the literary and visual arts). In addition to an examination of key works by important French composers (including Fauré, Debussy, Satie, Ravel and Les Six), it will assess the impact of figures such as Diaghilev and Stravinsky on the French musical and social scenes. (Knowledge of the French language not necessary.)
The course will include a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to see the French Collection of this period and, a live concert experience of French music, and students will read Cocteau’s biography and one of his novels.
MH 336/MH 436 –Musical Cultures of the World (Abe)
This course offers both an introductory look at several selected regions/countries among the diverse musical cultures around the world. Through these musical practices, we will investigate the ways in which many of these styles are the product of long running intra/intercultural dialogues, struggles, and negotiation processes that continue to produce new hybrid forms. Over the course of the semester, students will gain an understanding of the myriad ways people use music to construct and individual and group identities, the diverse ways groups incorporate music into their lives, and how to understand music within a broader historical, political, and economic context. A variety of scholars and performing artists will be invited to give a workshop on music/dance and discuss their lives as musicians. 3/4cr. No prereq.
MH 561 A1- World Music Ensemble: Omnivorous Global Music Ensemble (Abe) CFA B36
M 6:30-9:15 Open to BU Community
This ensemble will explore a wide variety of musical practices from the world over, including Brazil, the Balkans, Turkey, and Ethiopia, as well as free improvisation. This course will emphasize learning music from listening, and develop transcribing, arranging, and improvising skills. All instruments and singers welcome; musical proficiency required.
MH 561 B1- World Music Ensemble: Afro-Latin Music of the Americas (Birenbaum Quintero) / CFA B36
T 6:30-9:15 Open to BU Community
Afro-Latin American Music Ensemble is a performance-based class in which students learn to perform in various Afro-Latin American secular and spiritual genres, potentially including Afro-Colombian currulao, chrimia, gaita, cumbia, bullerengue, and tambora; Afro-Cuban rumba and batá and güiro Santeria music; Afro-Peruvian landó and festejo; Afro-Dominican salve, palo, and sarandunga, and others. Students will also learn about the historical experience, social conditions, political mobilizations, and spiritual beliefs of the black Latin American pulsation a whose music they play. Musical experience is welcomed but not necessary.
MH 402 – Graduate Music History Review (Rowley)
MH 561 A1- World Music Ensemble: Omnivorous Global Music Ensemble (Abé), CFA B36
This ensemble will explore a wide variety of musical practices from the world over, including Brazil, the Balkans, Turkey, and Ethiopia, as well as free improvisation. This course will emphasize learning music from listening, and develop transcribing, arranging, and improvising skills. All instruments and singers welcome; musical proficiency required. Open to BU Community. 1 cr.
MH 561 B1- World Music Ensemble: Afro-Latin Music of the Americas (Birenbaum Quintero), CFA B36
T 6:30-9:15 Open to BU Community
Afro-Latin American Music Ensemble is a performance-based class in which students learn to perform in various Afro-Latin American secular and spiritual genres, potentially including Afro-Colombian currulao, chrimia, gaita, cumbia, bullerengue, and tambora; Afro-Cuban rumba and batá and güiro Santeria music; Afro-Peruvian landó and festejo; Afro-Dominican salve, palo, and sarandunga, and others. Students will also learn about the historical experience, social conditions, political mobilizations, and spiritual beliefs of the black Latin American pulsation a whose music they play. Musical experience is welcomed but not necessary. 1 cr.
MH 611 A1 – Music Research Techniques (Barone)
W 2:30-4:15 / Mugar 205
Introduction to materials about music history and performance. Topics include research methods, primary and secondary sources, reading and writing about music, editions and editing, and sound recordings. 2 cr.
MH 620 – Topics in Musical Style: Minimalism (Forrestal)
M 2:30-5:15 /
This course focuses on the development of European and American minimalist music, beginning with its roots in global and Western traditions, and how what once began as the musical output of a niche group of artists and musicians permeated into concert and popular music today. The course examines the music of, among others, the canonical “minimalists” (Philip Glass, Steve Reich, La Monte Young, and Terry Riley), as well as composers and artists as wide ranging as Arvo Pärt, John Adams, David Lang, Brian Eno, the Velvet Underground, Kraftwerk, Elena Ruehr, Kanye West, and Sunn 0))). The course also engages with the plastic and visual arts; as well as film, poetry, dance, performance art, and contemporary opera. We will address the social, political, cultural, and theoretical paradigms that led to minimalism’s creation. We will approach and critique minimalism as a style, period, ethos, moral address, and aesthetic force in the arts and in everyday life.. 3 cr.
MH 629 – Early Music Studies – Fall Mini-courses Mini-courses offered by the Center for Early Music Studies are taught by eminent figures in the field of early music, and offer an intensive, laboratory-style immersion in early music scholarship and performance on selected topics, composers, and repertories, covering vocal and instrumental styles from the Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century. 1 cr. Can be repeated for credit. Spring 2016 offerings are as follows:
- MH 629 A1 – Moving the Souls of Listeners: Accompanying Monody (Catherine Liddell)
January 31-February 1, 2017: 10 – 1 pm and 2 – 5 pm both days
This course will focus on Italian 17th-century extended monodies, a genre challenging to singers because of their length, challenging to accompanists because of the often slow-moving harmonies. Thus, we will work on both sides of the equation, keeping in mind descriptions of musicians as “harmonic orators, explorers of the soul, enchanters of the intellect and comforters of the heart.” (Mersenne) We will explore the close and synergistic relationship between accompanist and soloist, examining what the singer needs from the accompanist and what the accompanist needs from the singer. Upon registering, participants have the choice of either being assigned a monody or bringing in one he or she is working on, along with a translation to share. Singers should find an accompanist and begin working on the piece before the first session.
MH 631 – Individual Composers: Johannes Brahms (Sholes)
M 2:30-5:15 /
This course examines the life and works of Johannes Brahms. Brahms’s symphonies, concertos, chamber works, piano pieces, songs, and choral works will be explored, and we will consider how these relate to issues in biography and psychology and to trends in music history, aesthetics, politics, religion, literature, and the visual arts.. 3 cr.
MH 711 A1- Research and Bibliography (Sholes)
This course is an introduction to basic methods and materials of scholarly research in music. Topics will include writing about music; library, archival, and online research; historiography and criticism; the history of and contemporary trends in musicology; the recording as text; and scholarly approaches to popular music and music for film. 3 cr
MH 724 / MH 824 – Music of the Classical Era: Beethoven’s String Quartets (Yudkin)
R 12:30-3:15 / TBA
The string quartets of Beethoven span his mature creative life from the time he was about thirty until just before his death in 1827. Over the course of this time he composed sixteen string quartets that contain some of his most powerful, personal, and expressive music. We shall examine all of the quartets in the context of the composer’s life and of the musical and cultural context of the times, bringing to bear different analytical techniques as well as issues of performance. The course will include visits by distinguished guest artists. 3 & 4 cr.
MH 727 A1/827 A1- Selected Topics in Musicology: A Princess and her Lute Book, a Prince and Polyphony: Music, Gender, and Power at an Early Baroque Court (Rifkin)
T 3:30-6:15 / FLR 281
This seminar, given in partial collaboration with Victor Coelho, will focus on music at the court of Hessen-Kassel in Germany during the first two decades of the seventeenth century. Musicians and scholars know Kassel – if at all – as the scene of Heinrich Schütz’s musical upbringing and early professional activity; but it merits attention as a remarkable place on its own, both for the high level of its musical life and for the singularly rich fund of musical and archival documentation that brings us closer to that life.
We’ll start with a manuscript book of lute music owned by princess Elisabeth (1596–1625), a daughter of the ruling prince, Moritz the Learned (1572–1632). Both her book and she hold considerable fascination – the former a varied and cosmopolitan anthology put together by several members of her circle, the princess herself an erudite and polyglot woman of unusual poetic and musical gifts. Working outward from the lute book, we consider her role in the propagation of Italian monody at the court and the development of a “woman’s sphere” of musical activity. 3/4 credits
MH 727 B1/827 B1- Selected Topics in Musicology: Performance Practice (Shenton)
W 2:30-5:15 / FLR 281
After a general introduction to the topic, this seminar will study the developmental history of performance practice and the application of its principles and methodology to a wide range of music from Plainsong through early Romantic music, with class performance of selected pieces where possible. The discussion will focus on issues such as notation, interpretation, improvisation, organology, iconography, editing and sources. It will examine important treatises and instructional books such as those by Zarlino, Quantz, C.P.E. Bach, and Leopold Mozart, and more modern sources of information such as music boxes, piano rolls and recordings. It will trace the history of the performance practice movement and try to assess the way forward in this century so that musicians can make intelligent and informed performance decisions. 3/4 credits
MH 771/871 – Selected Topics in Ethnomusicology: Music and Mysticism (Heimarck)
R 12:30-3:15 / FLR 281
This course will investigate connections between music and mysticism utilizing theories of the sacred that inform sacred journeys, sacred text, sacred music, performance and ritual. We will apply these theories towards a deep consideration of qawwali- Sufi devotional music of India and Pakistan, and the Bhakti traditions in India, including kirtan singing and Saiva-Siddhanta philosophy. We will also explore the mantras and philosophy used by the Balinese puppeteer or dalang and the Saiva or Buddha priests in Bali, Indonesia. Finally, we will consider the mystical traditions of Iran, with a particular focus on Persian Sufi poetry (ghazal) and music practices such as zikr, the reciting or recollection of God’s name. 3/4 cr
MH 831- Black Aesthetics, Racial Thought & Techno-modernity (Birenbaum Quintero)
F 11:15-2 pm / FLR 281
The course explores the nexus between technology, race thinking, and black aesthetic practice (primarily musical) since the late nineteenth century. Case studies will include the slavery analogies built into robotics and cybernetics; overlaps between Caribbean philosophers of creolization and contemporary explorations of cyborgs and post-humanism; the influences of fugitive slaves and music technology in the development of US property law; the hacking of technology for black aesthetic projects including hip hop, Jamaican dub, and various instantiations of Afro-Futurism.. 4 cr
MH 852 – Current Trends in Scholarship: Music and Gesture (Vajjhala)
R 3:30 – 6:15 pm / FLR 281
Music has long had a transcendental aspect ascribed to it. Whether as a “harmony of the spheres,” or as downloaded songs piped through headphones, sound often appears to be dislocated and disembodied. This course aims to reinvigorate music’s relation to bodies, using the rubric of gesture to do so. Our aim is not to historicize the relationship of music and gesture, or to offer a grand, synthetic theory of them (either separately or together), but instead to encourage you to develop your own rules of engagement for these demanding, often elusive materials. 4 credits.
MH 860 – Research Methods in Ethnomusicology (Abe)
T 12:30 – 3:15 pm / FLR 281
This course will investigate research methods used in ethnomusicology including fieldwork, transcription and notation of non-Western music, interview techniques, and technology. This course will prepare graduate students in ethnomusicology to design and conduct original research, and it will introduce ethnomusicological research techniques to graduate students from various disciplines. Students will examine and critique a wide range of musical ethnographies, write research proposals, conduct a short-term fieldwork in Boston, and produce an ethnography by the end of the semester. 4 credits. May be repeated for credit.