Music in the Baroque Era: Prima pratica and seconda pratica
Professor Kerry McCarthy
This seminar will explore the gradual and complex transition between the musical worlds we now call the Renaissance and the Baroque. The main thread of the class will be the eight books of madrigals published by Claudio Monteverdi between 1587 and 1638, but we will also consult a wide variety of other music (and a judicious selection of secondary sources). We will study counterpoint and dissonance treatment, text-music relationships, the testimony of contemporary theorists, and the broader cultural issues underlying the changing musical styles of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Final research projects will be in areas of interest chosen by each student.
Music Classic Era: Haydn Symphonies
Professor Larry Todd
The Symphonies of Haydn (ca. 1759-1795), tracing the significance of the genre for Haydn's career, his assimilation of Italian and Viennese models, and the role of formal process, orchestration, extra-musical elements, and social context. We will consider the entire sweep of Haydn's symphonies, divided into several stages: 1) early symphonies and the formation of an early symphonic style, 2) the so-called Sturm und Drang (ca. 1768-1772) and its decidedly experimental thrust, 3) the consolidation of a "high" classical style, 4) the Paris Symphonies, and 5) the London Symphonies (4 and 5 as representative of the "internationalization" of Haydn's mature style).
Composition Seminar: Musical Form in Theory and Practice
Professors Stephen Jaffe and Philip Rupprecht
We will consider musical form from varying perspectives, examining musical meanings as created or heard, in-time and experienced retrospectively. Is form a set of constraints imposed by musical culture or a more illusionary experience, i.e. of compositional dialogue between convention and abstract material? In traditional and contemporary repertoires, is formal understanding best heard as generating from a composer’s idea, and communicated through a performer’s gesture? Or may compositional meanings be profitably altered through re-interpretation in performance? How are traditional formal schemes (“sonata,” for instance) reworked in later practice?
Composers, performers, and theorists have understood formal concepts in a variety of ways. We will examine questions of form in the music of a range of composers, including Beethoven, Mahler, Sibelius, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and more contemporary modernist composers such as Franco Donatoni, Michael Gandolfi, Harrison Birtwistle and others, including composers working with “iconic” images in recent multidisciplinary work. A number of different attitudes to form will be under discussion -- form as generative, form as grid, form as narrative, form as non-narrative, form as juxtaposition.
Discussions will be enriched by readings from theorists, analysts, and composers including Cone, Grimley, Hepokoski, Ligeti, Messiaen, Meredith Monk, Schoenberg, Schmalfeldt, and Stein. We hope to generate discussion and understanding across compositional and scholarly practices, and we welcome participants with a range of expertise.
Written work: Students will prepare shorter and final projects in composition, analysis, and/or musicological investigation of form. You will be able to choose the precise focus of your written work for this seminar, in consultation with Professors Jaffe and Rupprecht.
Seminar in the History of Music: Music in France from Lully to Gluck
Professor Jacqueline Waeber
Aim of this seminar will be to study the most salient aspects of the period musically dominated in late 17th-century France by Jean-Baptiste Lully, the Sun King’s composer, down to the eve of the French Revolution that saw the reconciliation of the antagonistic styles of Italian and French music through Gluck’s “Reform operas” performed in Paris during the 1770s.
Since the 19th century, historiographies of 18th-century music have remained essentially concerned by the supremacy of Austro-German and Italian musical repertoires. Yet no other country than France has offered so many challenging grounds for debates on the aesthetics of music. The intellectual contributions and legacies of the French Enlightenment still continue to fuel our contemporary conceptions of music as an art of expression, and of music and its supposedly common origins with language.
This seminar will consist in close examinations of primary sources: texts on music, and musical scores, that will help us to understand the privileged place, in 18th-century French musical discourse, of the primacy of vocal expressivity. We will also favor dialectical approaches of French musical style and aesthetics by encouraging comparisons with foreign musical models and discourses (Italian opera seria and buffa, German Singspiel; Northern European and Italian instrumental music).