Film, Concerts, Gaming: Gender - Music by American Women


We will engage with several contemporary themes as we explore and appreciate compositions and music scores, including:

  • Fortnite
  • Little Big Planet
  • Call of Duty
  • God of War
  • Plants vs. Zombies
  • Assassin’s Creed
  • Captain Marvel
  • The Shining
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Dear John
  • Margaret Bonds’s Freedom March on Montgomery
  • Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman
  • Julia Wolfe’s Lick
  • Carolina Shaw’s Partita for Eight Voices


The course requires no prerequisites and is geared towards Sophomores and First-years, but all are welcome, and will count towards the following course codes and attributes: W, CCI, ALP, & CZ.

Over the past century, there has been a dramatic increase in female composers with substantial careers. Within the U.S., several women have come to the forefront with distinct voices, including Amy Beach, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Joan Tower, Meredith Monk, Jennifer Higdon, Missy Mazzoli, and Caroline Shaw. Within the film and game industries, a handful of American women have begun rising through the ranks, establishing their own sound with films (Captain MarvelThe ShiningDear JohnA Clockwork Orange), and video games (God of WarLittle Big PlanetAssassin’s CreedPrince of Persia: Forgotten Sands).

This course will focus on some of the major American female composers of the twentieth and twenty-first century. Students will explore the lives and works of several composers through selected readings, movies, and audio clips. Weekly discussions will include consideration of historical context and an in-depth look at topics such as harmony and form, style/genre, and orchestration.  Students will also have the opportunity to discuss and debate additional topics, including accessibility, advocacy, feminism, gender, and performance practice.

MUS 190S-01

Crosslisting Numbers: 

VMS 190S-03

Curriculum Codes: