Graduate Seminar Offerings 2017-2018

Students are encouraged to explore seminars under all areas.

Register for seminars on Minerva. Visit Student Resources for registration tips.

Seminars in the Department of Music Research
(Complementary Seminars for Performance Students)

 

MUCO 633 Seminar in Composition 3 | 3 credits | Professor Brian Cherney | Fall

Topic: Canadian Orchestral Music of the 1950s and 60s

A study, primarily analytical, of some significant Canadian orchestral repertoire, taking into account historical context, style, compositional approaches and, especially, treatment of the modern orchestra during this early period of twentieth-century “modernism” in Canada. Are the composers’ approaches to the orchestra fairly traditional or do they reflect developments elsewhere during these years? The composers will include figures such as István Anhalt, Harry Somers, Barbara Pentland, Pierre Mercure, John Weinzweig, Otto Joachim, R. Murray Shafer, Bruce Mather, Gilles Tremblay, and Serge Garant. Is it possible that there are significant orchestral works from this period which have yet to be discovered?

The seminar will consist of discussion and reports centred on the repertoire chosen. Students will be evaluated on the basis of an oral presentation in the seminar and a substantial research paper on an aspect of the subject dealt with in the oral presentation.


MUGT 612 Seminar-Music Education 3 | 3 credits | Professor Lisa Lorenzino | Fall

Topic: Global Trends in Formal, Informal, and Non-Formal Music Teaching

This seminar is unique in its international focus as it investigates varied pedagogical practices of music education. Students critically discuss formal, informal, and non-formal music teaching in a range of settings including curricular, extra-curricular, community based, online, and autodidactic learning. Specific topics studied include rote learning, improvisation and the master/apprentice model, among other teaching methodologies.

A major focus of the seminar will be the global dissemination of El Sistema, the Venezuelan orchestral training program for disenfranchised youth. Now operating in over 60 nations, El Sistema is providing a new model for music education with a social justice focus. Other models studied, in less detail, will include initiatives such as New Horizons International and Musical Futures (Lucy Green).

Class sessions will include guest lecturers, both live and via SKYPE. Students will have the opportunity to be involved in the collection of qualitative data via semi-structured interviews in a project of their choice. Evaluation will include 1-2 research papers and an in-class presentation as well as other small assignments.


MUHL 680 Seminar in Musicology 1 | 3 credits | Professor Lloyd Whitesell | Fall

Topic: The Tragic Mode

The tragic mode has a long prestigious history, especially in theatrical genres. Does music have its own ways of conveying tragic events and emotions? How does it work in miniature genres, or instrumental music? Do special attitudes, gestures or personas need to be cultivated to perform the tragic? We will explore such issues in relation to a range of examples from both classical and popular music. Readings will cover seminal texts (Aristotle, Nietzsche, Northrop Frye) as well as new perspectives from topic theory, affect theory, queer theory, and aesthetic philosophy. We will also enrich our discussion by contrasting the tragic with more lowbrow, informal aesthetic modes such as the ‘melodramatic’ or the ‘cute.’ Evaluation will be based on class participation, occasional short assignments, and a final paper/presentation.


MUHL 682 Seminar in Musicology 3 | 3 credits | Professor David Brackett | Fall

Topic: Music and the Social

The idea that music and society are somehow related can be found in ancient writings as diverse as those by Plato and the Chinese philosopher Lu Be We. This seminar will explore the nature of that relationship through a survey of scholars associated with the sociology of music as well as the sociology of art. Drawing together a broad range of theoretical writings, we will develop a theory of music’s role in the construction of personal identity and collective social life. Students will be evaluated on their preparation for class, weekly written responses to the readings, class participation, brief weekly presentations, a presentation of their final project, and a final paper.


MUHL 683 Seminar in Musicology - CRN TBA | 3 credits | Professor Tom Beghin | Fall

Topic: Beethoven and his Foreign Pianos: Performance, Rhetoric, and Reception

This seminar will be given during certain weeks across the Fall and Winter terms 2017-18. However, the seminar is scheduled during the Winter 2018 in Minerva. Exact schedule to be indicated on Minerva.

We zoom in on two unique non-Austrian instruments that have become intertwined with two distinct periods of Beethoven’s life. In 1803 Beethoven ordered a French piano from Erard Frères in Paris, while in 1818 he received a Broadwood piano from London. Both instruments have been preserved in museums as Beethoven relics and they have recently been copied for renewed use and research. What do these objects tell? Drawing from studies on material culture, while becoming familiar with historical and organological detail, we will investigate what significance these instruments held for Beethoven, from a variety of perspectives.

This course will run throughout the whole academic year, for four distinct periods of three weeks each, with one final week. Instead of one large term paper, two shorter papers (of ca. 15 pages each) will be required, in addition to two presentations in class. Participants will have the opportunity to communicate directly with members of a research cluster at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent, Belgium, headed by Prof. Beghin and devoted to this very subject.


MUMT 605 Digit Sound Synth&Aud Process | 3 credits | Professor Philippe Depalle | Fall

Topic: Digital Sound Synthesis and Audio Processing

Most digital sound synthesis methods and audio processing techniques are based on the spectral representation of sound signals. This seminar starts with a theoretical and practical study of spectral representation, spectral analysis, and spectral modification of sound signals. Digital sound synthesis and sound processing techniques are then presented as specific spectral modeling or alterations from which their capabilities, properties, and limitations are deduced. Techniques explored in this context include the phase-vocoder, additive synthesis, source-filter synthesis, non-linear (distortion) processing, and audio effects. Available Computer Music software and ad hoc pieces of software are used as examples and illustrations. Evaluation will be based on two assignments (25% each), one in-class presentation (15%), and a final project (35%).


MUMT 616 Timbre Form-Bearing Dim in Mus | 3 credits | Professor Joseph Plazak | Fall

Topic: Timbre Form-Bearing Dimensions in Music

This seminar explores music theoretic, performance-related, psychophysical, and cognitive perspectives on musical timbre and its role as a bearer of musical form, with particular emphasis on the perceptual results of orchestration practice. Evaluation will be based on active participation in class discussions and student-led debates [20%], a 20-minute in-class presentation of an individual project followed by 15 minutes of discussion [20%], and two 45-minutes in-class presentations of group projects (one on analyses of selected pieces of music [25%], one on the results of a thought experiment involving those pieces [35%]), followed by 30 minutes of discussion.


MUMT 620 Gestural Control of Sound Syn. | 3 credits | Professor Marcelo Wanderley | Fall

Topic: Gestural Control of Sound Synthesis

This seminar examines the use of computers as part of novel digital musical instruments, including physical gestures and actions, design and evaluation of new interfaces for musical expression, and mapping strategies between gestures and sounds. Basic knowledge of sound synthesis methods is required. Evaluation will be based on summaries of papers, student presentation, project proposal, and a project presentation.


MUMT 621 Mus. Info,Retr.,Acq.,Preserv. | 3 credits | Professor Ichiro Fujinaga | Fall

Topic: Music Information Retrieval, Acquisition, Preservation

This seminar will investigate current research activities in the area of music information retrieval. The goal is to discover ways to efficiently find and retrieve musical information. Although the field is relatively new, it encompasses various music disciplines including music analysis, music education, music history, music theory, music psychology, and audio signal processing.

Each student will be expected to present various music information retrieval topics along with literature reviews. Each presentation should be accompanied by web pages created by the presenter. The final project may consist of software development, a theoretical paper, or an extended review paper. Class format will be presentations followed by discussions.

Potential topics include: Themefinder, MELDEX, Cantus, audio content analysis and search, web crawling, melodic similarities, computer- aided transcription, beat tracking, timbre recognition, speech / music separation, P2P technologies, audio and music formats (MPEG-4/7/21, MP3, MusicXML), and Web Services. Students will be evaluated on the quality of the presentations, written assignments, class participation, and the final project.


MUTH 652 Seminar in Music Theory 1 | 3 credits | Professor Jonathan Wild | Fall

Topic: Extended Tonality, 1910-25

In this semester we shall examine music from the early part of the twentieth century whose language is sometimes described as "extended tonality" (a term which will certainly require careful consideration). Focusing principally on the music itself, we shall nonetheless pursue readings each week alongside intensive analytic work. Composers to be studied will cover a range of responses to the late-stage evolutions of tonality, and will include Mahler, Scriabin, Szymanowski, Fauré, Reger, Bartók, and Sibelius, as well as lesser-known figures from the European periphery. Students will provide written analytic responses each week, engage in discussion on analysis and other reading topics, and write a 15- to 20-page paper.


MUTH 653 Seminar in Music Theory 2 | 3 credits | Professor Nicole Biamonte | Fall

Topic: Music Theory Pedagogy

This seminar prepares students to teach music theory and aural skills at the college level. The primary focus is on approaches to teaching the course materials, but course design and curricular issues will also be considered. We will practice presenting the materials through teaching demonstrations, consider what should constitute those core topics for different student populations, and examine and critique recent research in music theory pedagogy. Coursework consists of teaching demonstrations, preparing sample course materials (including teaching videos), reading assignments, class discussion, reviews of theory textbooks, and a research paper. Evaluation will be based on teaching demonstrations, participation in discussion, and the assignments listed above (written course materials, teaching videos, textbook reviews, and research paper). Students will also design a statement of teaching philosophy for use in job applications.


Performance and Performance Practice Seminars
(Open to Performance Students)

 

MUPP 690 Performance Practice Seminar 1 | 3 credits | Professor TBD | Fall

Topic: Handel’s Opera Seria

This seminar will explore the historical context of Handel’s opera seria and the rhetorical performance practice involved in the performance of these operas. Through exploration of both primary and secondary sources, students will construct an understanding of the historical world surrounding Handel’s operas and will develop a knowledge of the rhetorical performance practice of the day. We will dive into the rules and tools of rhetorical performance practice which will result in a final sung performance and final paper using these rhetorical tools. Evaluation will be based on active participation in class discussions, one research presentation, one vocal performance presentation with the application of rhetorical performance practice principles and a final paper.


MUPP 691 Perf Practice Seminar 2 | 3 credits | Professor TBD | Fall

Topic: "The Truth About a Legend": Glenn Gould on Performance, Repertoire, and Technology

This year marks the 85th anniversary of the great pianist Glenn Gould's birth, the 60th anniversary of his historic performances in Moscow and Leningrad, and the 35th anniversary of his death. Throughout Canada in this sesquicentennial year, Gould is still being held up as a representative figure of the country’s presence on the international music scene. It is, therefore, an opportune time to reflect on the perspectives that Gould, through his recordings, writings, interviews, television series and films, brought to the performance of baroque music and other repertoires. Piano vs. harpsichord, style, tempo, ornamentation, the agency of performers in transforming the repertoire they play to suit their own vision, and cultural self-fashioning are some of the issues that Gould continues to challenge and which will be considered here.

For this seminar, we will tap the rich primary textual resources (correspondence, writings, score annotations, television and film scripts, and compositions), studio recording offtakes, photos, and other series of documents in the Glenn Gould collection at Library and Archives Canada. The CBC, National Film Board of Canada, as well as Gould's commercial recordings and the massive international literature, filmography and discography surrounding this controversial but undisputed force in music performance will be assessed. Seminar participants will have access to a complete, up-to-date bibliographic list of secondary literature comprising more than a thousand titles that can be found nowhere else.


MUPP 692 Perf Practice Seminar 3 | 3 credits | Professor TBD | Fall

Topic: Interpretation and Analysis of Olivier Messiaen's Works

This seminar will explore Messiaen’s major symphonic, chamber, vocal, and keyboard works. This will include a critical evaluation of Messiaen’s own treatises and writings, along with essays by other performers and conductors. Emphasis will be placed on the implications of the composer’s own analyses and compositional techniques on interpretation and performance practice. In addition to readings, students will listen to and evaluate recordings on which Messiaen himself performed or supervised. Each student will give presentations on repertoire and performance considerations for their own instrument or voice, which they will expand in a final paper. Students will be evaluated based on participation in class discussions surrounding the reading and listening assignments, as well as their prepared presentations and final paper.


MUPP 693 Perf Practice Seminar 4 (open to students from both departments) | 3 credits | Professors Isabelle Cossette, Fabrice Marandola and Marcelo Wanderley | Fall

Topic: Interdisciplinary Seminar: Techniques and Tools for the Analysis of Musical Performance

The evolution of technology has led in recent years to the development of new ways to assess musical performance. This new array of tools and methods helps to uncover unknown aspects of music performance that in turn may inform the development of new instruments, musical practices and pedagogical methods. What can be measured, and what kind of new insights can we gain by using these methods? How can we design protocols that respect both scientific thoroughness and artistic expression? These questions will be the main focus of the seminar.

This seminar will be team-taught and largely based on group projects. Students will learn how to use several methods to measure different aspects of their performance, including 3D motion capture, 2D high-speed video, EMG, and eye-tracking. Classes will include 1/ lectures on different research projects in music performance science; 2/ lectures and tutorials on tools, methods and approaches to the analysis of musical performance; 3/ pilot-studies designed and conducted by the students. Students majoring in music technology, performance and education will work together in small groups to design pilot-studies that will be implemented over the course of the seminar. Evaluation will include literature review, oral presentation, pilot-study and report.


MUPP 694 Performance Practice Seminar 5 | 3 credits | Professor Simon Aldrich | Fall

Topic: Historical Performance Practice

This seminar will look at the genesis and evolution of the historically informed performance (HIP) movement. HIP’s initial ambitions will be reviewed through the writings of the movement’s pioneers, and its emergence and subsequent impact will be explored though both compelling academic debate and in the context of real-world application. Evaluation will be based on class presentations, a final project and professionalism (attendance and participation).


MUPG 590 Vocal Styles and Conventions | 3 credits | Professor TBD | Fall

Topic: Vocal Styles and Conventions

This seminar emphasizes vocal performance practices through practical application: text, language, inflection, pronunciation and interpretation considered with the individuality of each student’s voice and technical development. After examining historica l treatises, students will discuss and present musical selections using modern performance standards while remaining true to the stylistic demands of each period.


MUPG 675D1 Special Project in Perf 1 | 3 credits | Professor TBD | Fall

Topic: Organ Literature

This course will explore organ repertoire, styles, instruments, and techniques from the middle ages to the 21st century. The course will be divided over a full academic year. The first semester will examine organ music up to and including J.S. Bach, while the second semester will focus on music after Bach and up to the present. Materials for the course will include books, articles, and treatises covering a range of topics in organ literature, in addition to score and recording studies. Students will be evaluated based on class participation, reading assignments, and a final project in which they will be able to apply knowledge from the course, to repertoire they are preparing for exams and recitals.


MUPG 678 Seminar in Perf Topics 2 | 3 credits | Professor John Hollenbeck | Fall

Topic: Concentration and Ensemble Practice

The primary exercise used throughout this course seems very simple: to play short quarter notes with the ensemble, while subdividing the beat at a very slow tempo with eyes closed. The shortness of the notes and slow tempo makes it easy to hear if the musicians are together or not. Eyes closed makes it impossible to use visual cues to help the musicians play together. This way, you must rely on your own internal time and subdividing. The simplicity of the exercise is why it is an excellent path to improve concentration skills.

Added to the primary exercise is the additional of long notes, accents, dynamics, specific pitches on specific beats, individual playing and singing of the subdivisions (one at a time), improvisation on the subdivisions, ensemble inclusion of 1-5 extra notes on the subdivision. Each student is expected to practice the basic exercise as a solo exercise in between classes. Throughout the course, there will be class discussions, to talk about the internal experience and issues that come up in the practice. Students will also maintain a journal, detailing their practice and thoughts on the class and individual practice.

To break up the potential monotony of the primary exercise, other exercises involving improvisation will be practiced.

Benefits of the course:

  • Increased awareness and practice of concentration.
  • Increased awareness and insight into sound production.
  • Increased rhythmic awareness and strengthening of internal time.
  • Practice of pinpoint listening skills.
  • Ensemble listening and playing.
  • Understanding and experiencing the power of unison tutti playing.
  • Body awareness and posture.
  • Awareness and practice of the efficiency "between the notes”.
  • Increased ability to be “still".

Evaluation will be based on attendance/participation (75%), and hand-written class journal (25%).


MUPG 695 Grad. Jazz Improv. Seminar | 3 credits | Professor Rémi Bolduc | Fall

Topic: Advanced Improvisation Seminar

The goal of the seminar is to help students develop their own musical voice by researching the improvisational ideas and approaches of various jazz artists. With approval of the instructor, students will choose the artists to be studied and will be responsible for transcribing compositions and improvised solos by these musicians. Students will also have the opportunity to play the music in class and receive feedback from the instructor and their peers, with approximately one third of class time spent performing. The instructor wil l begin the seminar by presenting his own ideas and insights about specific mentors. There will be at least three transcriptions and written analyses required from each student, as well as weekly practice assignments derived from the material. Evaluation will be based on the quality of the analyses, transcriptions and ideas the students bring to the seminar, and on their ability to i ncorporate those ideas into their playing.

Seminars in the Department of Music Research
(Complementary Seminars for Performance Students)

 

MUCO 634 Seminar in Composition 4 | 3 credits | Professor Georgia Spyropoulou | Winter

Topic: TBD

Description TBD.


MUGT 613 Seminar-Music Education 4 | 3 credits | Professor Isabelle Cossette | Winter

Topic: Understanding the Performing Body

This course is designed for performance, pedagogy and music education students interested in understanding how to use their body in an optimal, healthy and efficient way.

Class sessions are intended to provide the opportunity for the students to explore knowledge that will seed the inquiry on issues related to the use of body during music playing. Students will develop their critical thinking on topics like health of musicians, musculoskeletal injuries, breathing strategies, neuroplasticity, nutrition, etc. Discussions based on readings, presentations and lab visits, will allow the students to apply theoretical knowledge to their practicing routine, performance or teaching skills.

Evaluation will be based on class preparation/participation, presentations, an annotated bibliography and a final project that will require the integration of research findings and/or pedagogical skills. Topics will be based on students’ interests and may include health of musicians, musculoskeletal injuries, nutrition, brain functions, etc.


MUHL 681 Seminar in Musicology 2 | 3 credits | Professor Roe-Min Kok | Winter

Topic: Music, Mortality, Memory

In this seminar, we shall study notions of death and its corollary, memory, in music from different historical periods. Understood as a fundamental force in the life cycle, mortality has long fascinated creative artists working in various media. Readings about cultural and social practices and religious beliefs about human suffering, disease, demise and mourning will inform our analyses of musical works. The seminar focuses on Western classical music of the eighteenth through early twentieth centuries; however, participants are encouraged to explore other periods and repertories in their final projects. Evaluation will be based on in-class presentations, a final paper, a final paper proposal, and attendance/ participation/ professionalism.


MUHL 682 Seminar in Musicology 3 | 3 credits | Professor Lisa Barg | Winter

Topic: Gender and Jazz

This seminar will survey the use of gender analysis in jazz studies with an emphasis on recent and emerging jazz scholarship that explicitly engages with feminist and queer theory, and with gender and sexuality studies. How has gender, as it intersects with the categories of race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and nation, shaped our understanding of jazz history? What does a focus on gender tell us about the practices, sounds, meanings, and debates central to jazz studies? Reading assignments will not be confined to jazz studies, but will include gender studies of other related music styles and histories.

In the first part of the semester we will survey feminist theories with a focus on a range of approaches to questions of “difference,” and will explore the pertinence of these theories for jazz studies. The rest of the term will concentrate primarily on case studies that proceed in a (mostly) chronological fashion. Class sessions will be devoted to discussion of the readings and, when appropriate, listening and/or video viewing. Students will give presentations, write commentaries on selected readings, and prepare a fifteen- to twenty-page seminar paper on a topic of their choice that will serve as a basis for a thirty-minute presentation. Students will be expected early on in the seminar to identify an aspect of a jazz studies-related project that may benefit from gender analysis.


MUHL 684 Seminar in Musicology 5 | 3 credits | Visiting Professor Beverley Diamond | Winter

Topic: Indigenous Modernities

Modernity in the field of music is most often associated with the break from tonality and other innovations of classical composition in the late 19th through the 20th centuries. Critics of the very concept of “modernity,” however, have often argued for time frames that encompass colonialism and have pointed to definitions of science and rationality since the enlightenment that cast many cultures as “pre-modern.” Responses to such critiques include work on “alternative modernities” and “provincializing Europe” in the 1990s and on “Indigenous modernities” in the early 21st century. This course will explore how fresh thinking about modernity has emerged in selected musical practices of Indigenous people around the globe and has had an impact on virtually all music genres. Indigenous people are defined here as those whose deep roots in specific places and histories of colonial subjugation must be considered as we struggle to decolonize institutions and dismantle the entitlements of settler colonialism. Topics can be tailored to the interests of students to some extent but will include some of the following: the widespread burgeoning of Indigenous opera; hybrid musical styles and genres, particularly juxtapositions of traditional and popular music; gendered subjectivities in modern Indigenous musical practices; anti-racist artistic projects; intersections and mismatches between Indigenous protocols and Western constructs of intellectual property; Indigenous sound studies at the nexus of slow violence to people and the earth; the politics of Indigenous festivals (in Scandinavia, Asia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Australia and/or Canada); new approaches to listening that are rooted in Indigenous languages and lifeways; the impacts of digital technology on Indigenous musical practices. Evaluation will be based on class participation, occasional small assignments (directing discussion of assigned reading, listening, or viewing; miniature “fieldwork” or research creation tasks), and a final research presentation/paper (15-20 pages).

Beverley Diamond is a Schulich School of Music Distinguished Visiting Chair (Winter 2018). Professor Emerita at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and founder and Director of its Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media, and Place, Diamond is an internationally renowned scholar of Indigenous music with over forty years of research experience including fieldwork in Canada and Norway. She has mentored over 75 graduate students. She has received prestigious accolades: Canada Research Chair, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Member of the Order of Canada, Trudeau Foundation Fellow, and SSHRC Gold Medal. She is a past President of the Society for Ethnomusicology and the first ever recipient of the SOCAN Foundation/ CUMS Award of Excellence for the Advancement of Research in Canadian Music.


MUMT 617 Cog. Dynam. of Mus. Listening | 3 credits | Professor TBD | Winter

Topic: Cognitive Dynamics of Mus. Listening

Description TBD.


MUMT 619 Input Devices for Music. Expr. | 3 credits | Professor Marcelo Wanderley | Winter

Topic: Input Devices for Musical Expression

Basic technologies used in the design of input devices for musical expression, including the most common types of electronic sensors, actuators and associated conditioning circuits and examples of their application to gestural controllers. Prior knowledge of analog electronics required.

Evaluation will be based on assignments and a final project.


MUMT 622 Time-Freq.&Param. Rep. of Snds | 3 credits | Professor Philippe Depalle | Winter

Topic: Time-Frequency & Parameter Rep. of Sounds

Research trends in time-frequency representations and parametric modeling applied to music and audio. Specific focus on atomic decomposition, matching pursuit, wavelet, and parametric analysis. Evaluation is based on in-class research literature presentations, and on a final project.


MUSR 692 Music Production Workshop | 3 credits | Professor Martha de Francisco | Winter

Topic: A Graduate Seminar for Performance and for Sound Recording Students

The Seminar focuses on the collaborative interaction between performing and recording partners during music recordings. It explores aesthetical questions of performance and recording, and it examines music performance issues in connection with the use of changing technological tools for recording and music production. Discussions are lead regarding the historical development of music production, and an updated analysis of current developments in the recording industry is provided.

The production sessions under the supervision of an expert music producer, realized as part of the Seminar, help students acquire insight in the musical, technical and logistical processes that characterize professional music productions, giving both sides suitable tools to enhance their potential as recording artists in the 21st century.

Evaluation will be based on in-class participation and presentations, individual work on the music productions as well as a final research paper or alternatively a completed Master of an own production project with a written description/analysis.


MUTH 655 Seminar in Music Theory 4 | 3 credits | Professor William Caplin | Winter

Topic: Beethoven’s Sketches

The seminar is devoted to an analytical examination of Beethoven’s sketches, the most significant extant source for the study of “compositional process” in tonal music. The course will survey past and recent research on the sketches, starting with Nottebohm, moving to the core studies of Johnson, Tyson, and Winter, and continuing to the present (esp. Lockwood and Gossman’s “Eroica Sketchbook” publication). Students will present in-class reports on selected readings from this secondary scholarship. Each student will also choose a group of sketches that have already been transcribed in order to uncover what they tell us about Beethoven’s approach to phrase structure and form. Students will present their findings in a series classroom presentations as well as in a final research paper. The instructor’s “theory of formal functions” will serve as the principal framework for analyzing the sketches; familiarity with this theory, while not absolutely essential, is highly desirable.


MUTH 656 Seminar in Music Theory 5 | 3 credits | Professor Christopher Neidhöfer | Winter

Topic: Form in Post-1945 Serial Music

The proliferation of serial compositional techniques after 1945 led to a rapid expansion of approaches to musical form. In this seminar we will explore how avant-garde composers thought about form in serial music and how they developed new kinds of forms in response to particular expressive needs and broader historical factors. We will study treatises and articles by Milton Babbitt, Pierre Boulez, Hanns Jelinek, Ernst Křenek, René Leibowitz, David Lewin, Josef Rufer, Leopold Spinner, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Stefan Wolpe, among others, as well as more recent analytical literature on the topic (Borio, Carone, De Benedictis, Losada, MacKay, Mosch, Schubert&Neidhöfer, and others). Topics include: Formenlehre tradition and new forms in Arnold Schoenberg’s late music, serially generated form in the music of Norma Beecroft, Ursula Mamlok, Camillo Togni, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, and others, serialism and aleatory forms, and György Ligeti’s 1965 critique of new formal conventions in serial music. Course requirements include weekly assigned readings, listening, and analysis, two in-class presentations, a midterm essay, and a final paper.


MUTH 658 History of Music Theory 1 | 3 credits | Professor Peter Schubert | Winter

Topic: Writings on music from Plato to Playford

This course entails reading, discussing, and writing about treatises from Greek Antiquity to the seventeenth century. Topics include: tetrachords; the Greater and Lesser Perfect Systems; the genera; tuning; ratios; the harmoniai; tonoi; affinities; modes; church keys; the effects of music; rhetoric; chords. Evaluation is based on three quizzes (@10% each), one short writing assignment (@20%), a class presentation (@ 10%) and a final paper (ca. 20pp.—40%).


Performance and Performance Practice Seminars
(Open to Performance Students)

 

MUPP 690 Performance Practice Seminar 1 | 3 credits | Professor TBD | Winter

Topic: Early Music Today

The early music revival has gone through many transformations. Today it is thoroughly institutionalized. Performers now benefit from studies of instruments, primary sources, and notation that occupied such a large part in the twentieth-century movement to “restore” early music to its “original” state, but performers and musicologists have begun to realize that “restoration” can result in objectification of the music, orphaned from the creative processes that must unfold within. Our literate society venerates text, and many performers have ceased to improvise or interact in any significant way with an established musical text. Modern notions of intellectual property eschew the shared compositional and performing approaches to music in the medieval and early modern periods, approaches that seem to us to obscure composer identity, and even to confer anonymity. Rhetoric is not something that many modern performers of early music grasp or put into practice; they are more familiar with aesthetics than with rhetoric, with the beauty of a musical work than with the means that will make it more persuasive.

In the first five weeks of the seminar, we begin by acquiring some basic information. Readings and recent research on tempo, ornamentation, pitch, tuning, notation, organology, and rhetoric will be explained and debated, and participants will acquire the necessary vocabulary to pursue a coherent discussion of what makes an early music performer a creative performer. In subsequent weeks, seminar participants take turns leading weekly discussions on proposed problems and readings, preparing handouts to facilitate these discussions.

This presentation and the feedback they will receive is the basis of their final paper and annotated bibliography.


MUPP 691 Perf Practice Seminar 2 | 3 credits | Professor Lena Weman | Winter

Topic: Burney's travels through Europe

Charles Burney travelled through Europe in 1770 and 1772 to collect material for his forthcoming Music History. Burney documented his travels in diaries that in different ways will be the point of departure for this seminar.

We will follow in Burney's footsteps and virtually visit different musical centres during the 18th Century. In focus are different musical styles and their characteristics, but also the cultural context of these centres. We will use Burney's own texts, appropriate parts of historical treatises, as well as more modern texts and recordings to follow musical development during the late baroque and early classical eras and discuss matters related to today performance of the music in question.

Evaluation will be based on class participation, assignments, a final paper and a presentation that might include performance.


MUPP 692 Perf Practice Seminar 3 | 3 credits | Professor TBD | Winter

Topic: Contemporary Repertoire and Collaborative Performance Practice

In the not so distant (analogue) past, a certain heroic artistic elite dominated the musical landscape. Period style interpretation was barely beginning to develop and concert music-making was a dominant social practice whereby musicians could live off a hierarchically determined canon of great works. Which is all very different from the life of a musician nowadays who must compete with all of the accumulated (audio and video) archives of the recorded past. So how do contemporary musicians shape their creative life? What is the role of musicians and interpreters concerned with developing an artistic relationship with contemporary creation? What is it that makes you unique and necessary now?

This course — open to fifteen instrumentalists and singers —will explore the role of committed musicians within their artistic and social networks. The course will foster experimental thinking and provide a fertile practical ground aimed at developing entrepreneurial skills rooted in collaboration and a meaningful partnership with audiences and communities. You will be required to work both solo and chamber music pieces.

The course will provide you with an opportunity to:

  • learn one contemporary score for your solo instrument/voice (unconventional works could be welcome);
  • form a small (ad hoc) chamber ensemble with other participants and learn one appropriate contemporary score;
  • compile a list of repertoire for the ensemble you will form;
  • develop rehearsal and shared leadership techniques with your newly acquired partners;
  • prepare a program aimed at a distinct audience / specific venue within your community (either in a concert hall or a more experimental location);
  • prepare a « contemporary project-grant application» enabling you to realize your creative project.

Coursework will include weekly listening and reading assignments.​


MUPP 693 Perf Practice Seminar 4 | 3 credits | Professor Guillaume Bourgogne | Winter

Topic: Introduction to Conducting

For graduate performance and composition wishing to develop or further their conducting skills, this seminar has three goals: 1) discovering the great conductors in history; 2) acquiring the technical basis of conducting; 3) and putting this technique into practice. In half of each class, students will apply what they have learned to the development of their own technique: first, through the acquisition of technical fundamentals in harmony with their own bodies and personalities; second, through the study of techniques for analyzing and preparing scores before starting rehearsals. The final part of each class will be devoted to practicing with a chamber ensemble made up of students in the seminar. Students will exchange the roles of conductor and performer. Students, consequently, will be introduced to transcription skills in order to adapt repertoire to the instrumentation and needs of the class. Student composers may be able to use their own works, if adapted to the instrumentation.

For the research papers, students will have two options: 1) Analyze the style and body language of an important conductor in the history of music and present the results through a written paper and 25 minute in-class preparation elaborated by excerpts of the videos collected for analysis. By sharing these analyses in class with one another, this project will allow students to develop their knowledge of orchestral conducting history and expression through the body. 2) Transcription of a piano piece chosen in consultation with the instructor to be used with the class chamber ensemble as part of its repertoire.

Evaluation will be based on attendance and participation (50%), paper and in-class presentation about historical conductors or transcription (25%), and the evolution of basic skills (25%).


MUPP 694 Performance Practice Seminar 5 | 3 credits | Professor Fabrice Marandola | Winter

Topic: Ethnomusicology and Contemporary Performance Practice

In this seminar we will explore how different cultures around the world conceive and perform their music. Through the survey of broad cultural areas where music is primarily orally transmitted, we will study the functioning of different musical systems and the wide variety of playing and singing techniques involved. We will investigate the cultural context in which the music takes place in order to gain a significant insight on how these cultures conceive their musical heritage. We will discuss the various ways traditional playing and singing techniques are incorporated in works by 20th and 21st century composers, from Bartok to Reich including Kagel, Ligeti, Scelsi and many more. We will also experiment with the ‘portability’ of these techniques in the context of modern Western instruments and voices.

Evaluation will be based on:

  • Two short performance projects (1/ excerpt of Exotica by Kagel, 2/ performance, arrangement and/or composition of a piece inspired by musical principles studied during the term).
  • Program notes for the second performance.
  • One research paper.
  • Participation and preparation.

MUPG 677 Seminar in Perf Topics 1 | 3 credits | Professor Jean-Michel Pilc | Winter

Topic: Improvisation in all languages

The goal of this seminar is the acquisition of fluency in improvisation, in all musical idioms (classical, jazz, pop, world etc.) and on all instruments. More generally, it will address the subject of how to make music in a natural and idiomatic way, regardless of the style.

The process at work will be based on the way spoken language is learnt and mastered, and also rooted in my own experience discovering music, improvising, and learning jazz and other kinds of music through oral tradition. We will show that improvisation, often and wrongly seen as the difference between classical and jazz, is, on the contrary, the main bridge between all styles of music, and the essential ability to perceive and express music organically, naturally and spontaneously, and to communicate musical ideas instantaneously when playing the instrument - the latter being, in the spoken language analogy, the musician’s “speech organ.”

We will explore the specificities of each musical idiom – its own “words”, rhythms, accents etc. – and will learn how to develop practicing methods and a personal approach by deep listening, imitation, playing along, manipulation, trial and error, self-editing, assimilation and evolution through time. "Fluency tests" will be used and experimented with, as well as exercises devised to become better at these tests. Hence we will develop the ability to fully experience the musical act and speak the language of music freely and meaningfully at the instrument, while still being creative away from it.

Many other topics will be covered, such as ear training and tuning, the 3 “bookends” of music (rhythm, melody, and bass), feeling, tempo, swing and groove, phrasing and articulation, internalization, and using the multitasking ability of the human brain in order to become a successful improviser / instant composer / storyteller. We will draw inspiration from many different styles of music, and the students will be exposed to a wide selection of musical pieces (from recordings and also from live performances by teacher and students).

Taking example on masters such as Mozart or Charlie Parker, we will realize that improviser, composer, interpreter and performer are actually different sides of the same entity; and also, transcending the cliché of “classical player who can’t play jazz” (or vice versa), we will discover that the many languages of music can be understood and spoken by all those who are willing to embrace their authenticity and their richness.

This class, like any language learning experience, will require the active participation of each student, as a listener, performer, and practitioner. Evaluation will be based on the participation, progress, motivation and creative energy of each student, presentations and special projects, which will be an essential component of the seminar.


MUPG 691 Vocal Ornamentation | 3 credits | Professor TBD | Winter

Topic: Vocal Ornamentation

This seminar provides an introduction to the major treatises with emphasis on their practical application to modern performance. Through the study and discussion of both primary and secondary sources, students will observe and compare national styles. Special topics include the conventions of recitative, text-driven embellishment, and ornamentation in Handel's dramatic works. Evaluation will be based on two presentations, which may include the performance of embellished airs.


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