Fall 2010 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Rodriguez, Robert
Discipline and Number
MUSI 3322 Section 501
T Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
Music and Society

Description of Course:

An active composer/conductor will explore musical treasures of Europe and the Americas in a survey of musical style from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century. We will consider two statements:

1) Plato: “Those in power should be wary of changes in musical style, since musical changes signal a change in political power.”

2) Aaron Copland: “I write music to show how it feels to be alive today.”

For each musical period, we will identify the “suits” in power, the audiences and the artists in both elite and popular culture whose work reflected, enriched and sometimes even changed the society in which they lived. We will place particular emphasis upon tools for listening to music and verbalizing that non-verbal experience. We will also consider the effect of technology upon the history of music: the construction of musical instruments, the creation of performance spaces and the dissemination of music, both printed and recorded. Topics will include definitions, the elements and organization of music, aesthetics, the extra-musical associations of music and a chronological survey of music and its role in society: dates, periods, forms, genres, compositional style, performance style, major figures and their musical personalities, representative masterworks, schools of thought (isms), political/economic/social context (power structure and the marketplace) plus corollaries in literature, theater, the visual arts and technology.

Required Texts:

Required Texts:
Bonds: A History of Music in Western Culture (text)
Weiss, Taruskin: Music in the Western World: A History in Documents
Wingell: Writing About Music
Plus additional assigned reading and listening

Recommended Texts:
Bonds: A History of Music in Western Culture (Set of 12 CDs)
Bonds: A History of Music in Western Culture (Two-volume Anthology of Scores)

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Musical experience is helpful, but not required.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
No tests or term papers.
Short Written Assignments - 50%
Class Participation: Attendance, Discussion and Oral Presentations – 50%

Specific Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate the ability to describe and analyze the elements, organization and performance of music.
2. Demonstrate the ability to describe and analyze music in historical context: style, period, genre, form, composer and socio-political corollaries.
3. Demonstrate the ability to present ideas in clear, well-organized, formal English, including musical terminology.

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