Fall 2011 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Rodriguez, Robert
Discipline and Number
HUAS 6312 Section 501
T Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
Music & Mythology

Description of Course:

An active composer-conductor will analyze musical masterpieces of Western classical music which are inspired by themes, stories and archetypes from myths of both the Eastern and Western hemispheres. We will explore the elements, theory and structure of both myth and music; we will identify musical techniques which composers throughout history have employed to convey extra-musical ideas and information; we will observe the use of those techniques applied to selected myth-related subjects by composers from widely different historical periods and cultural contexts; and, most importantly, we will develop vocabulary and methods for verbalizing the elusive, non-verbal experience of music. Wherever possible, we will consider corollaries in psychology, literature, theater, film and the visual arts, as we discuss the following topics:

Aesthetic and Archetypal Polarities: Apollo vs. Dionysus, Good vs. Evil, etc.
Nature & The Elements: The Creation of the World, The End of the World
Heroes, Journeys, Epics, Quests, Rescues
The Artist Hero: Orpheus
Love Potions, Passion and Seduction, Doomed Lovers, Don Juan
Magicians, Tricksters, Clowns, Fools
Femmes Fatales
The Greek Tradition: Electra, Oedipus, etc.
The Biblical Tradition, The Life of Jesus
Dreams, Death and the Afterlife, Heaven and the Underworld, Eternity
The Commedia dell’ Arte

Required Texts:

Required Texts:

Leeming, David Adams. The World of Myth: An Anthology, Oxford: Oxford University Press (1990)
Bierlein, J. F. Parallel Myths, New York: Ballantine Wellspring (1994)
Jung, Carl G. Man and His Symbols, Dell (Random House) Publishing (1968)
Plus additional assigned reading and listening.

Recommended reading:

Bonds, Mark Evan. A History of Music in Western Culture, Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall (2003)
Cooke, Deryck. The Language of Music, Oxford: Oxford University Press (1959)
Copland, Aaron. What to Listen for in Music, New York: McGraw-Hill (1967)
Langer, Susanne K. Philosophy in a New Key, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (1976)
Wingell, Richard J. Writing About Music: An Introductory Guide, Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall (2002)

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

1) class discussion (25% of grade), 2) short written assignments / class presentations (25% of grade) and 3) a creative project with accompanying analytical essay OR an analytical term paper OR a portfolio of weekly analytical essays (50% of grade). MUSICAL EXPERIENCE IS HELPFUL, BUT NOT REQUIRED.

Specific Learning Objectives for Students:

Develop and demonstrate:

1. Expertise in verbalizing the non-verbal experience of music.

2. Expertise in explaining the ways in which music can convey extra-musical information.

3. Understanding of the major mythological themes and archetypes of Western culture as applied to representative musical examples.

4. Awareness of corollaries to these literary themes and musical examples in theater, cinema, dance and the visual arts.

5. Awareness of the historical, social and political context in which works of art are created.

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