Musicology & Ethnomusicology Courses – Spring 2019

Undergraduate Courses

MH 106 – Music and Culture (Clarke)
T-R 3:30-4:45 / CFA 216
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.. No preq. Open to all students 2 cr.

MH 212 – History and Literature of Music II (Vajjhala)
TR 12:30-1:45 / CFA 154
Historical survey of music from 1750 to the present. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness. Required of all CFA BM and BA majors. 4cr

MH 403 – Latinos Making Music in the United States (Birenbaum Quintero)
T-R 12:30-1:45 / CFA B36
What impact have Latinos and Latinas had on the popular music of the United States? More than you might think. Not only have Latinos in the United States been instrumental in creating globally popular Spanish-language music like salsa, norteno, and reggaeton, they are also central, if usually unacknowledged, in the histories of jazz, rock and hip hop. The history of US music is usually told as the story of interactions between black and white Americans, so what does a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual music history reveal about music in the United States? To answer these questions, we will trace the participation of Latinos, alongside other ethnic groups, in the creation of US popular music from the 19th to the 21st centuries, surveying the musical styles of Latinos in the US and discussing the role of these musics in articulating race, class, gender and sexual identities for US Latinos, their circulation along migration routes, their role in identity politics and ethnic marketing, and their commercial crossover to Anglo audiences.  Case studies may include Mexican-American/Chicano, Puerto Rican/Nuyorican and Cuban/American musics; Latin music in golden age Hollywood; Latin dance crazes from mambo to the Macarena; rock en espanol; reggaeton, race politics, and the creation of the “Hurban” market; and the transnational Latin music industries of Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.  4 cr.

MH 404– Sacred Music, East and West (Heimarck)
TR 11:30-12:5 pm / CFA B36
This course aims to develop a cultural awareness of diversity and global citizenship through a deeper understanding of diverse religious beliefs and sacred music practices. Students will explore civic engagement through participation in several musical subcultures in the Boston area. 4cr

MH 407–Sonic and Visual Culture and Modern E. Asia (Kaneda)
T-R 3:30 – 4:45 pm / CFA B36
This is a course about music as sonic and visual culture. Focusing on East Asian cultures in the Boston Area, students in the course will explore a diverse range of sounds, images and ideas across geographies. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Research and Information Literacy. 4 cr

MH 433 – Motown, and Classic Funk: Soundtracks of Empowerment and Civil Rights (Coelho)
MWF 12:20-1:10 / CFA 154
Rhythm and Blues, the classic Motown sound, and Funk are seminal influences in the development of rap, hip hop, fusion, and contemporary urban and R&B styles. But even more, these styles provided the soundtrack of African-American empowerment and community, and were central to the civil rights movement, the relationship between music and politics, and the larger development of popular music in the 20thcentury. This course will follow the trajectory of funk from its roots in rhythm and blues and the highly influential Motown sound through its classic formulation in the 1970s, and will conclude with a discussion of the urban transformation and revival of funk over the last two decades. We will place these styles within their cultural and social contexts, as well as examine their evolving musical characteristics in some detail through works by Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, George Clinton, and many others. This course is intended for the general university student and neither assumes nor requires previous training in music. No prereq. 4 cr.

MH 561 A1- World Music Ensemble (TBA)
T 6:30-9:15 / CFA B36
TOPIC TBA

Open to all BU students. 1cr


Graduate Courses

MH 402 – Graduate Music History Review (TBA)
MW 9:05 – 9:55 / CFA 216
Review of music history and literature from the Middle Ages to the present. Can be taken as a prep course for the DMA Qualifying Exams. 

MH 561 A1- World Music Ensemble (TBA)
T 6:30-9:15 / CFA B36
TOPIC TBA

Open to all BU students. 1cr

MH 611 A1 – Music Research Techniques (Dempsey)
M 2:30-4:15 / Mugar 205
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 musicology; the recording as text; and scholarly approaches to popular music. 2 cr.

MH 620 – Music Since 1960 (Kaneda)W 8:00-10:45 / FLR 281
This course focuses on experimental music since 1960 as a social and cultural practice. Musical materials focus on works and practices with roots in the Western Classical musical tradition. Music and social engagement will be a central theme. Primarily for graduate students in the DMA program.

MH 629 – Early Music Studies – Spring 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. Fall 2018 offering is as follows:

  • MH 629 A1:“Recording Early Music” with Grammy Award-winning early music producer Brad Michel February 9-10, 2019: 10-1 pm / 2-5 pm both days.
    Course Description:  This mini-course provides a hands-on practical approach dealing with ideas and common practices in early music towards making a good quality recording with personal electronics; both instrumentalists and singers are welcome.
  • MH 629 B1: “Music of 16th-Century Spain: The Vihuela in Twenty Songs” with Ralph Maier (Mt Royal University), April 6-7, 10-1 pm & 2-5 pm both days.

Course descriptionIn Renaissance Spain, the vihuela enjoyed a position of ubiquity roughly analogous to its modern relative, the guitar. Spain’s burgeoning print industry, along with the development of tablature notation, brought a wealth of vocal and instrumental works to an audience spanning the entire social strata in a format that could be easily understood by all. Beginning with Luis de Milan’s El Maestro (1536), and culminating with Esteban Daza’s El Parnasso (1576), the seven extant vihuela books in print represent a crucial window into 16th-century Spanish music-making.In addition to exploring some of the period’s most exquisite works for vihuela and voice, this course will provide students with an overview of the instrument’s most significant composers and their published works, and address issues of notation, transcription, ornamentation, and arrangement. Classroom activities will balance lectures with in-class projects and demonstrations.

MH 631 – Individual Composeras: Arvo Pärt and Minimalism (Shenton)
M 2:30-5:15 / FLR 281
According to the web site Bachtrak, Arvo Pärt (b. 1935) is the most performed contemporary composer in the world, and has been for several years. Around 1976 he developed a new compositional technique called “tintinnabulation.” Since 1976 he has written more than 100 pieces in this new style, which have been embraced by both performers and listeners alike, and have extensively been used in film, TV, and social media. The course will examine the pre-tintinnabuli music as preparation for an in-depth discussion and analysis of his music, especially those works composed since 1976. Pärt once said: “I could compare my music to white light, which contains all colors. Only a prism can divide the colors and make them appear; this prism could be the spirit of the listener.” (Hermann Conen, liner notes for Alina (ECM New Series 1591)). By providing biographical context, analyses, and interpretation the course will provide students with tools to be able to hear even more colors in this music. It will also examine the technique of minimalism in a broader context, including works by Reich, Riley, Glass, Adams, and Tavener.
 3 cr.

MH 722/ MH 822 A1 –Music circa 1500 and Performance (Urquhart)
T 3:30-6:15 /  FLR 281
In this course, we will explore the issue of non-notated accidentals, with a primary focus on music c. 1500.  Prof. Urquhart’s book manuscript will be the primary guide through this traditionally thorny topic, but we will also consider readings by Willi Apel, Edward Lowinsky, Margaret Bent, Joshua Rifkin and Richard Sherr, and others that pertain to the topic.   Music from primary sources will serve to focus the investigation, in particular manuscript sources that raise specific questions about how musicologists have addressed the issue in the past.  The relationship between sources in Rome and Cambrai will be a primary topic, and how it has shaped our understanding of the music of Josquin and his contemporaries. 3 cr/4 cr

MH 724 /824 A1-  Topics in the Music of Joseph Haydn (Yudkin)
W 2:30-5:15 /FLR 281
A look at the achievements of the most prolific and renowned composer of the eighteenth century in opera, symphony, chamber music, sacred music, and oratorio.  Permission of instructor. Meets with CFA MU 824.  3/4 credits

MH 771/871 A1 – Music and Black Thought (Birenbaum Quintero)
F 11:15-2:00 pm, FLR 281
In this course, 3/4 cr.

MH 771/871 B1 – Music and Migration (Khoury)
W 8:00-10:45 am, FLR 281
Human migration is a global phenomenon. Whether people move due to political, social, religious, economical, climatic, or other factors, their music moves as well. Music is shared amidst the mobility of individuals and communities, and propelled by new technologies and media. This circulation on a transnational and global scale leads to original trends, brings new meanings to older practices, and fosters innovation in performance frameworks.

From the preservation of musical practices of the homeland to the creation of a space for immigrant communities on the hip-hop scene, what are the ways in which musical production and consumption operate in the context of migration? Illustrated by selected case-studies among diasporas in the US and communities abroad, this course looks at the multiple roles that music assumes in the formation of ideas of local and national music cultures; in recollecting and reinterpreting the past; in community building and empowerment; as well as in community outreach and social justice work. It also examines such musical processes and initiatives in relation to globalization, transnational networks, and cultural flows.

The course is designed in an interactive format, alternating lectures and discussions based on readings along with audio and video analysis. Course materials include texts from relevant fields in the social sciences selected to help students understand the socio-cultural context of the examples used in class and to put them in perspective in order to encourage a reflexive approach to the themes discussed. Furthermore, engaging with the multicultural soundscape of Boston, students undertake original fieldwork projects within the many communities living in the Boston area.

CFA 854 – Seminar in the Music of John Coltrane (Price)
R 12:30-3:15
John Coltrane was once described by Albert Ayler, “like a visitor to this planet. He came in peace and left in peace; but during his time here, he kept trying to reach new levels of awareness, of peace, of spirituality. That’s why I regard the music he played as spiritual music – – John’s way of getting closer and closer to the Creator” (qtd. in Valerie Wilmer’s As Serious As Your Life 1977:31). This seminar will explore the life, music and legacy of John William Coltrane (1926-1967) through his relentless commitment to the creation of courageous music, his enduring spiritual journey and his under appreciated role as a creative activist. Using the tools of ethnomusicology, cultural studies, and theological reflection, we will explore and engage the work and legacy of an American icon with global impact and universal influence. 4 cr.

CFA 860 – Research Methods in Ethnomusicology (Heimarck)
M 8-10:45

4 cr.