Fall 2013 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Rodriguez, Robert
Discipline and Number
HUAS 6331 Section 501
T Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
Music & Human Experience

Description of Course:

This class will meet concurrently with HCS 7372, taught by Professor Jay Dowling. Together, a composer-conductor and a psychologist will explore ways in which music reflects and influences human behavior and experience. There will be particular emphasis on dramatic music and music for the theater. Topics will include Definitions; Points of Attack for Critical Writing; Elements and Methodology in Music and Psychology; Memory, the Brain, the Nervous System and Human Behavior; Musical Forms and Styles; Emotion and Information in Music; Musical Representations of Sexual Experience, Humor, Death and the Supernatural; the Psychology of Religion; the Creative Process; Reality vs. Imagination; Artists and Abnormal Behavior; Mozart as Psychologist; the Social Psychology of Music.

Required Texts:


Powell, How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond
Storr, Music and the Mind
Stravinsky, Poetics of Music
plus handouts and assigned library reading


Bernstein, The Unanswered Question
Butler/McManus, Psychology: A Very Short Introduction
Copland, What to Listen for in Music
Copland, Music and Imagination
Dowling/Harwood, Music Cognition
Gazzaniga, Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique
Meyer, Emotion and Meaning in Music
Wingell, Writing About Music: An Introductory Guide

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:


There will be no tests or term papers. Each week, students will be asked a) to select a specific piece of music which illustrates the topic listed in the syllabus, b) to prepare a short class presentation (one or two minutes) on it and c) to write one topic sentence that presents a point of view concerning the example. Students will also be asked to write six short, formal analytical essays (two or three pages each) based on the class topics and examples. Throughout the semester, students will receive written feedback on the first five essays, and they will have the option of revising each of those essays before turning in all six essays -- the originals and any revisions -- in a final notebook at the end of the semester. Students will be graded equally on their written work (50%) and on their class participation (50%).


1. Demonstrate understanding of the terminology and techniques necessary to verbalize the non-verbal phenomenon of music.
2. Apply the above terminology and techniques to an analysis of the given topics, relating music to human experience and the study of psychology.
3. Analyze and explain the process through which music is created, performed and perceived.

4. Develop skills and techniques for formal academic writing.


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