Freshman Seminars

A number of Freshman Seminars are offered on a regular basis.  They include:

Music 007: Noise.
Professor Brian Kane.
The topic of noise as an introduction to the problems of sound and signification. The surplus of information in white noise, and the meaning perceived when noise is filtered. Contexts in which noise has become filtered for political and aesthetic ends. Topics include sound poetry, literature, electronic music, noise pollution, and consumption.

Music 012: One Thousand Years of Love Songs.
Professor Anna Zayaruznaya
History of the love song in Western culture from the twelfth-century troubadours to contemporary popular hits. Music and the shifting social constructions of desire over the past millennium. The song repertory’s engagement with ideas and movements such as courtly love, humanism, romanticism, sexual libertinism, and the LGBT rights movement.

Music 020: Conducted Improvisation Ensemble.
Professor Michael Veal.
Exploration and elaboration of the conduction (i.e. conducted improvisation) methods of Lawrence “Butch” Morris (1947–2013). Ensemble rehearsals; weekly listening assignments to familiarize students with different approaches to improvised music; assigned readings that provide historical context for students’ musical work. Players of all instruments and skill levels are welcome.

Music 050: Transformations in 20th and 21st Century Music
Professor Trevor Bača
Introduction to outstanding pieces of 20th- and 21st-century instrumental music. Students examine details of the music and the social/historical context of each piece, in chronological order: one piece for each of the twelve decades from 1900 to the present. Composers include Mahler, Stravinsky, Ravel, Varèse, Copland, Cage, Reich,Xenakis, Eastman, Takemitsu, Czernowin, and Monk.

Music 076: Jazz & Architecture: Thinking Spatially in Jazz
Professor Michael Veal
An exploration of the sonic and social utility of spatial thinking in jazz, with a particular emphasis on the architectural discourse as a source of terms and concepts.

Music 079: Music, Gender, (Dis)ability
Professor Jessica Peritz
This seminar investigates how socio-cultural constructions of difference are, and have been, negotiated in music. Since Aristotle’s On the Generation of Animals, if not earlier, (dis)ability and the non-cis-male body have been tightly intertwined in Western thought; with the myth of Orpheus, these modes of difference became foundational to narratives of music’s origins. By tracing intersections between representations of music, gender/sex, and (dis)ability, this course offers an introduction to cultural and social approaches to Western music history. Topics include the songs of Sappho, the figure of the castrato, and trans* voices.