Musicology & Ethnomusicology Courses – Fall 2018

Undergraduate Courses

MH 105 – Music Appreciation (Clarke)
T-R 12:30-1:45 / CFA
Basic materials of music; analysis of masterpieces of music with reference to cultural background; group attendance of concerts with preliminary discussion period. Course does not presuppose a technical knowledge of music. 2 cr.

MH 106 – Music and Culture (Rowley)
T-R 3:30-4:45 / CFA 154
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 211 – History and Literature of Music I (Coelho)
TR 12:30-1:45 / CFA 154
Historical survey of music from the Middle Ages through the Baroque . Required of all CFA BM and BA majors. 4cr

MH 406 – 19th-Century Virtuosos (Vajjhala)
MWF 10:10-11:00 / CFA B36
Are virtuosos a different order, separate from proficient and even excellent musicians? In this course, we will broach these and other questions in the context of the nineteenth century. Though the designation “virtuoso” had been in use previously, it was in the Romantic era that the term became the nebulous, contentious one it is today. Our study will be broken down into two large sections: one considers various virtuoso performance techniques, the second looks at the inner workings of virtuosity. The final week of this course will be devoted to presentations on your research into the topic of virtuosity in nineteenth-century music. 4cr

MH 408– Bob Dylan: Music and Words (Yudkin)
TR 12:30-1:45 pm / FLR 133
This course will examine Bob Dylan’s music and lyrics from 1962 to 1975 in the context of his life, artistic influences, and milieu. We will explore the wealth of criticism and reaction his songs have inspired, paying special attention to questions concerning the nature of his art-for example, his dependence on musical tradition or the relationship between song lyrics and poetry-and past and current critical discussion about his legacy. 4cr

MH 427–Special Topics in Music History: History of Performance Practice (Juarez)
MWF 11:15-12:05 pm / CFA 154
 Introduction to performance practice in early music, encompassing the great baroque masters, but going beyond that repertoire to include Medieval and Renaissance music as well as Renaissance and Baroque Music beyond Europe. An approach that will require research and performance. The class will review the history of the revival of Bach and Handel, as well as the path of historical performance practices since the 18th century within a Cultural History approach. 4 cr

MH 436 – Musical Cultures of the World (Birenbaum Quintero)
TR 11:00-12:15 / FLR 134
In cultures around the world, music is not just art and entertainment, but many other things, from a political tool to a healing practice. This course introduces students to selected musical regions: West Africa, South India, the Andes, Bali. Native North America, Pacific Islands, the Hispanic Caribbean, and Bulgaria. We will investigate the many ways in which sound is organized musically, how it promotes particular kinds of social organization, its relationship with the natural and spiritual worlds, and the ways in which, over the course of history, it has been subject to long-running intra/intercultural dialogues, struggles, and negotiation processes that continue to produce new hybrid forms. You will also introduced to basic musical concepts and terminology, and acquire listening skills that will enable you to better encounter and understand music in this course and beyond. No prereq. 4 cr.

MH 561 A1- World Music Ensemble: Creative Gamelan (Coss)
T 6:30-9:15 / CFA B36
From French impressionists to American minimalists, Indonesian gamelan music has been a constant source of inspiration for composers around the world—we will find out why in this hands-on ensemble. In addition to learning to play Indonesian instruments from the island of Bali, we will explore the music’s structures and techniques in order to apply them in our own creative projects.

The first half of the semester will focus on the basics of Balinese gamelan—instruments, tuning, scale, and melody—and some of the music’s organizing principles: interlocking, layering, and gong cycles. From there, we will develop original musical projects (either individually or in groups) that apply this knowledge to our own interests—whether composition, education, or performance. We will showcase these projects for each other and the CFA community during the final class period. Open to all BU students. 1cr


Graduate Courses

MH 401 – Graduate Music History Review (Smith)
MW 2:30-4:15 / CFA B36
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: Creative Gamelan (Coss)
T 6:30-9:15 / CFA B36
From French impressionists to American minimalists, Indonesian gamelan music has been a constant source of inspiration for composers around the world—we will find out why in this hands-on ensemble. In addition to learning to play Indonesian instruments from the island of Bali, we will explore the music’s structures and techniques in order to apply them in our own creative projects.

The first half of the semester will focus on the basics of Balinese gamelan—instruments, tuning, scale, and melody—and some of the music’s organizing principles: interlocking, layering, and gong cycles. From there, we will develop original musical projects (either individually or in groups) that apply this knowledge to our own interests—whether composition, education, or performance. We will showcase these projects for each other and the CFA community during the final class period.  Open to all BU students. 1cr

MH 611 A1 – Music Research Techniques (Feo)
M 2:30-4:15 / Mugar 203

MH 611 B1 – Music Research Techniques (Feo)
W 2:30-4:15 / Mugar 203
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 – Special Topics: Theories and Practices of Musical Performance (Kaneda)
TR 2:00-3:15
This course considers theories about performance as it applies to practices of classical and contemporary musical today. Texts will draw on a range of disciplines including music studies, anthropology, performance studies, gender studies, and more. Students will be encouraged to bring in their own knowledge and questions about periods and works they are interested in. There will be a good amount of attention paid to 20th- and 21st-century music, but it is not a “period” specific course.  

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: “Early 17th-Century Italian Monody and its Origins: A Practical Guide for Performers” with tenor Gian Paolo Fagotto & Il Furioso. 7-8 October, 10-1 pm & 2-5 pm both days.

Course Description:  To understand the performance and essential background of Italian monody of the early 17th century – including the works of Monteverdi in this style – it is important to study the way singers of the Renaissance reduced polyphonic works (madrigals, canzonettas, etc.) into solo-song versions with lute accompaniment,  a style that is at the root of monody.  In this mini-course, we will examine this and other early stages in the development of monody from the middle of the 16th century and isolate their distinguishing characteristics. Since, the birth of the recitative style introduced not only a new relationship between music and text, but also new and unique methods of performance, we will examine the many expressive devices that are possible in this music.  In addition, we will survey the main sources describing  the vocal techniques that are fundamental to this music, including vocal delivery, the use of embellishments, and the technique of making diminutions.

  • MH 629 B1: Music and Le Roman de Fauvel: Fable, Morality, and Political Satire, circa 1310,” Anne Azéma (Boston Camerata), 10-11 November, 10-1 pm & 2-5 pm both days.Course description: The Roman de Fauvel s a 14th-century satire about public corruption meaningful in the present day? The metamorphosing horse Fauvel is the protagonist of  an acerbic and witty fable, satirizing religious and political life in fourteenth century France, and laden with implications  for contemporary society.   Anne Azéma will present  a generous selection of music and text from one of the most famous of all medieval manuscripts: there will be an abundance of monodies, motets, insturmental music as well as a close look at the source (edition, transmission), media aspect of this celebrated manuscript through the numerous miniatures from the original source. Fauvel, the abusive leader with an orange mane,  appears variously in these illustrations as animal, as man with a horses’ hindquarters, as a man with an animal’s head.This group welcomes: Musicians (singers, instrumentalists), Musicologists, Romance Languages students, Art History, History.

MH 631 – Beethoven (Yudkin)
W 2:30-5:15 / FLR 281

This class will examine the late works of Beethoven in the context of his earlier styles.  We shall discuss what “lateness” means in regards to a composer’s life and work, and whether the concept of the “three periods” long established for Beethoven’s work is useful; and we shall look very closely at some of the great late compositions of this remarkable composer, an icon of artistic achievement in Western civilization.  3 cr.

MH 727/ MH 827 A1 –Listening to Schubert: Symphonies and Chamber Music of the 1820s (Rifkin)
M 2:30-5:15 /  FLR 281
The last few years of Schubert’s life saw a remarkable production of large-scale instrumental music that moved in often startling fashion beyond the Classical models that had initially molded his thinking in this realm. In particular, the works begin to explore new dimensions of time, creating an unprecedented equipoise between motion and stasis.

In this seminar, we shall, above all, listento this music, in recordings and, if possible, live performances, and respond to what we hear in free-floating discussion that will follow only the directions of the participants’ interest and exclude no possibility a priori. We shall, however, seek to bolster our perceptions through background reading of recent and earlier literature – analytic, historic, and hermeneutic. 3/4cr

MH 771 /871 A1-  Sacred Music and Dance in Brazil (Dempsey)
R 12:30-3:15 / FLR 281
 This course explores sacred communities in Brazil through the lens of cultural forms, including sacred and secular music, dance, and the visual arts. Broadly speaking, we examine the role of creative expression as animus for and illustration of faith, craft, and memory. We also analyze how music, performance style, dance, and visual imagery interact with other modalities of life, such as nationhood, race, gender, sexuality, human rights, history, cultural ownership, social commentary, and inequality. Close attention is given to how religious expression as a musical process has shaped and been shaped by the vocabularies and concepts present in cultural, aesthetic, racial, and social discussions in Brazil.

How do Brazilians who create these traditions conceive their own practices, interact with one another, and dialogue with wider publics? We address these kinds of questions by studying the sonic lexicons of Brazilian practitioners who participate in Candomblé, Batuque, Xangô, Tambor de Mina, Congado, Umbanda, and Protestantism. The materials encompass a broad sweep of history from colonial Brazil to the present day. We also investigate how sacred artistic expressions operate on multiple levels, from the collective to the personal, in order to study the traditions expansively.

Upon completing this course, students will have garnered critical knowledge about a diversity of sacred creative expressions in Brazil. Moreover, through in-depth case studies, they will become well acquainted with thinkers and theories drawn from various interdisciplinary perspectives. And equally important, they will acquire skills in academic writing and presenting. Learning activities include lectures, class discussions, student presentations, and guest lecture/demonstrations. Students will be encouraged to craft projects in alignment with their scholarly interests. 3/4 credits

MH 820 – Pro-Seminar in Musicology and Ethnomusicology (Vajjhala)
T 12:30-3:15 / FLR 281
In this course, we will turn our critical lens onto the (sub-)disciplines of historical musicology and ethnomusicology.  Our study will include
– mapping historiographical trends
– examining influential methodologies
– interrogating the study of music within the academy itself

Assignments will consist of in-class presentations, weekly writing tasks, and other activities that will help prepare you as scholars and teachers of music.

CFA 831 – Ethnomusicology and Historical Musicology: Transpacific Musicology (Kaneda)
T 3:30-6:15
What are the musical and political assumptions and implications behind terms such as “Western” “non-Western,” “Asian” “Western-classical,” and “Asian/Pacific American” in contemporary music scholarship? Questioning the epistemological, political, and ethical stakes of these designations, Transpacific Musicology examines processes of cultural exchange and circulation of Western music in locations typically designated as “non-Western.” Case studies primarily draw on scholarship related to East Asian, Pacific Islands, and Asian American cultural and geographic spaces.