Special Topics Courses
The Department of Music offers the following Special Topics Courses in spring 2022.
The Musical Theater Practicum (MUS 294-10) will be a workshop/studio class with an emphasis on developing your performing abilities as well as giving you a sort of “toolbox” of skills that you can use as you audition, rehearse and perform in the Musical Theater world.
This course introduces studio recording, exposing students to industry standard software and hardware, including DAWs, audio interfaces, patch bays, effects processors, mixing boards, microphones, and monitoring equipment. Students will learn about mic placement, editing (punching in, overdubbing, isolation & multi-tracking), signal routing, mixing, and mastering. They will learn how to communicate and interact with performers, and work towards creating final projects that blend the artistic aspirations of both the musicians and the studio technician. Students will learn to record a variety of styles, including rock/pop, classical, folk, and world music. Open to MUS majors & minors, CMS majors, and by permission of instructor.
The following courses are listed in the College Catalog as permanent offerings of the music department. Note: Not all courses are taught in every academic year. See course schedule to determine which courses are being offered during the current semester.
Music ensembles are one credit. Although students may register directly for music ensemble courses, their enrollment in the course may be subject to an audition. Students who do not successfully audition for an ensemble will be dropped from the course by the instructor or by the department chair for music, who will communicate an enrollment list to the Office of Student Records and Registration once auditions for the ensemble are complete. Auditions sometimes take place beyond the Drop/Add deadline for a semester.
Additionally, spaces in these courses are not always guaranteed. Therefore, full-time students are encouraged to plan their course load in such a way that they will not drop below full-time status if they do not succeed in their audition.
This ensemble focuses on learning to perform the panpipe music of South American Andean communities, a diverse culture comprising the South American countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Open to all. No prior musical experience required.
The Symphonic Band studies and performs concert band and wind ensemble music from various musical periods. Membership is open to qualified students.
The Steel Pan Ensemble (Steel Revolution) offers students an opportunity to explore the Trinidadian steel band tradition, as well as classical and popular arrangements and transcriptions. Students learn to perform on steel band instruments and study the social, historical, and cultural context of the ensemble. Readings, recordings, and video viewings supplement in-class instruction. The ensemble will present public performances. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
By the Edo period (1603-1868), three instruments had emerged from various directions to become popular among the Japanese people. The koto, a 13-string zither, the shamisen, a 3-string banjo-like instrument, and the shakuhachi, a Zen Buddhist bamboo flute. In this new ensemble, students are introduced to these instruments, have the opportunity to research, write about, and learn how to perform on an instrument of the student’s choice. Students also learn the unique notation systems of each instrument, as well as gain a deep understanding of Japanese traditional arts in relation to the social, ideological, and cultural development of Japanese traditional aesthetics.
The Jazz Ensemble presents programs each semester and plays at various College functions throughout the year. Membership is open to qualified students.
The College Chorus performs music from all principal style periods. Membership is open to all students.
The Early Music Consort is an instrumental ensemble that performs music from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque eras on period instruments. Membership is open to qualified students.
The String Orchestra studies and performs orchestral music from various musical periods. Membership is open to qualified students.
The Afro-Cuban Ensemble focuses primarily on the Cuban drum and song traditions associated with rumba and Santeria. Musical literacy is not a requirement; instead, rhythms and melodies will be transmitted via the oral traditions that are prevalent in Cuba. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
The Jazz Combo allows advanced jazz students to perform various styles of jazz literature, including standards, original compositions and arrangements. Ample opportunity is given for improvisation. The Combo presents programs each semester and performs at various College functions throughout the year. The ensemble is open to students through auditions, which take place at the beginning of each semester. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
Chamber Singers perform music from all principal periods and performs both on and off campus. The ensemble is open to students through auditions, which take place at the beginning of each semester.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
Various woodwind, brass, and string ensembles (duets, trios, quartets, quintets) perform in recitals throughout the year. The ensembles are open to students through auditions, which take place at the beginning of each semester. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
Music History/Literature, World Music and Ethnomusicology, and Music Theory
An introduction to music, including the study of notation, the basic elements of music theory, terminology, instrumentation, form, and the basic style periods. Representative works will be examined, and the aesthetics of music will be considered. Intended for students with little or no background in music.
An introduction to music of the world, including popular, folk, religious and classical traditions. Explores the way ethnomusicologists organize and analyze knowledge about the world, while investigating the ways music acquires meaning in performances that are socially, historically, and culturally situated.
The basic goal in music theory courses is to focus on the growth and development in the areas of comprehension, skills, and creativity. The academic approach will be to study and apply principles of melodic, harmonic, contrapuntal and formal structures, which are basic to musical composition and essential to the serious musician. The lecture portion of this course will focus on the elements of diatonic harmony through part-writing, formal analysis, and composition. The ear-training portion will focus on the development of intervals, triads, rhythmic study/dictation, melodic dictation, and sight-singing.
Recommended for participants in performance groups.
As a continuation of MUS 131, Music Theory II will continue the development of music comprehension through theory lectures/exercises and aural skills training. The lecture portion of this course will focus on part writing, the study of diatonic harmony, and formal analysis. The ear-training portion of this course will focus on the continuation and development of intervals, triads, seventh chords, melodic dictation, harmonic dictation, rhythmic dictation, as well as sight-singing and rhythmic studies. Recommended for participants in performance groups. Prerequisite: MUS 131 (Students who have a strong background in theory may take an examination to receive advanced standing and exemption from this prerequisite).
Class Piano I introduces the art of piano playing through establishing fundamentals in proper piano technique and facility. Simplified classical and popular literature will be taught in conjunction with fundamental music theory, technique, rhythmic exercises, and sight-reading. It is a prerequisite course for those students wishing to take applied music piano lessons but have no prior experience with the piano instrument.
Class Guitar I offers group instruction in the fundamental principles of playing the guitar. Students will be introduced to a variety of styles and techniques for the guitar and will learn to read standard notation and tablature. Course goals are to develop and improve technical skills and musicality, while gaining a deeper understanding of music theory, fretboard harmony, and performance practice of various stylistic periods and musical genres. No prior experience is required.
An examination of music in Western culture from its roots in ancient Greece to 1750. This course covers the Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods of music history. Areas of focus include the transformation of musical language and form, notions of musical creativity, music and politics, and the sociology of listening. These themes will be explored through close readings and analyses of significant musical, literary and philosophical works. This course requires that students have an advanced knowledge in reading and writing music notation.
An examination of music in Western culture from the end of the Classical to the Romantic periods. Areas of focus include the transformation of musical language and form, notions of musical creativity, music and politics, and the sociology of listening. These themes will be explored through close readings and analyses of significant musical, literary and philosophical works. This course requires that students have an advanced knowledge in reading and writing music notation.
An examination of music in Western culture since 1900. This course covers Impressionism, Modalism, Expressionism, Free Atonality, Modernism, Neoclassicism, Nationalism, Minimalism, and Postmodernism. Areas of focus include the transformation of musical language and form, notions of musical creativity, music and politics, and the sociology of listening. These themes will be explored through close readings and analyses of significant musical, literary and philosophical works. This course requires that students have an advanced knowledge in reading and writing music notation.
Jazz is both a uniquely American style as well as an international collaboration. Beginning with an examination of the roots and antecedents of jazz in the mid-1800s, students will learn the artistic contributions of many notable instrumentalists, vocalists, bandleaders, and arrangers. Particular emphasis will be placed upon understanding the musical and social forces that influenced each artist, and the role of each artist in encouraging innovation and development within this art form. Prior musical experience is not required.
Upon completion of Music Theory I and II, students will have gained a basic knowledge of diatonic harmony. Music Theory III will delve into more advanced topics address diatonic and chromatic harmonies, as well as large-scale form. The lecture portion of this course will focus on more advanced work in diatonic harmony, including applied chords, modulation, form, modal mixture, and other chromatic harmony. This will be accomplished through part-writing, formal analysis, and composition. The ear-training portion will focus on the continued development of intervals, triads, rhythmic study/dictation, melodic dictation, harmonic dictation, and sight-singing. Prerequisite: Music 132.
A study of basic conducting skills, score reading, rehearsal techniques, and the elements of arranging. Prerequisite: Music 132 or permission of the instructor.
This course will give an overview of major topics in creativity: the pleasures and pitfalls as well as effective strategies to use in creative work. Each week we tackle another issue and explore ways to approach creativity in the broadest sense. At the same time students work on self-directed projects throughout the semester (largely outside of class time), submit weekly progress updates, and periodically share with the class. By the end of the semester students will have a range of tools and hands-on experiences to return to again and again in their future creative work. Prerequisite: One course of Studio Art, Music, Theatre, Dance, or Creative Writing, or permission of the instructor.
Class Piano II teaches the art of piano playing through establishing fundamentals in proper piano technique and facility. This course is a continuation of Class Piano I and is designed for students who already possess basic piano skills. Intermediate level classical and popular literature will be taught in conjunction with fundamental music theory, technique, rhythmic exercises, and sight-reading. Prerequisite: MUS 135, or by instructor permission.
Class Guitar II offers Intermediate/advanced group guitar instruction. In a group setting, students will learn music from various stylistic periods and genres and will continue to develop technical and musical skills on the guitar. Prerequisite: MUS 136, or by instructor permission.
A study of music in the colonies and the United States from the various editions of the Bay Psalm Book to the music of the present.
Opera from the Florentine era to the present. The elements that comprise opera are studied, and representative works are analyzed. Students attend performances at the Washington National Opera as part of their study in the course.
Students will be introduced to ethnomusicological theory and method, while focusing on the musical practices of selected regions in South and Central America and the Caribbean. Folk, ritual, popular, and art/classical traditions will be examined in the contexts of cultural issues such as belief systems, politics, aesthetics, and identity.
Using selected musical areas from Asia, this course introduces and reinforces the basic concepts of ethnomusicology and trains students to develop listening and musicological analytical skills. We will examine folk, ritual, popular, and art/classical traditions in the contexts of cultural issues, such as belief systems, politics, aesthetics, and identity.
Using music, ritual, and liturgical analyses, this course investigates the historical, social, political, and intellectual circumstances that led to the eventual success of Christianity as a major religion of the world. Examples are drawn from Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism.
This course traces the history and development of the symphony from its roots in music of the late Baroque, its development in the Classical and Romantic periods, and its interpretations during the twentieth century. Using symphonic literature and readings as sources for analyses, this course examines both the musical innovations and social contexts of key composers and style periods. This course requires that students have an advanced knowledge in reading and writing music notation. Prerequisite: MUS 132 or permission of instructor.
A study of the principles of musical organization through analysis of compositions from diverse periods in music history. Prerequisite: MUS 232 or permission of the instructor.
A study of a variety of technologies associated with music recording, post-production, performance, and composition. Students will become familiar with advanced software, a variety of recording equipment, and MIDI peripherals. Potential students must first demonstrate competency as an instrumental or vocal performer.
Advanced study of conducting skills, score reading, and rehearsal techniques. Prerequisite: MUS 233 or permission of instructor.
This class introduces different theoretical and analytical approaches to the study of popular music. Students will examine form, phrase structure, pitch syntax, rhythm and meter, texture, timbre, recording techniques, and other parameters, in order to understand how these elements are organized in popular music and how they combine to create expressivity and meaning. Prerequisite: MUS 231 or permission of the instructor.
This course provides experiential learning for majors and minors through participation in music department events. By enrolling in this course, students commit to completing all required activities during the indicated semester. Course requirements will be clearly outlined by the instructor(s) at the beginning of the semester. These requirements will typically include attendance at concerts, attendance at department-sponsored lectures/masterclasses, and attending general information meetings. This is a zero-credit course and is graded pass/fail. Majors must enroll in and pass the course four times; minors must enroll and pass twice.
This course examines the formation of the discipline of ethnomusicology through a survey of its history, theory, and methodology. Students read and discuss the works of major scholars in the field and examine the interdisciplinary nature of ethnomusicology, particularly its relationship with historical musicology, anthropology, folklore, linguistics, and cultural studies. Research projects will compliment theoretical discussions and technical activities associated with the field such as fieldwork, ethnography, historical research, and transcription. Prerequisite: MUS 104 or ANT 105 or permission of Instructor.
A study of the fundamentals of instrumentation, orchestration, and arranging. Prerequisite: MUS 132 or permission of instructor.