Spring 2014 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
An active composer-conductor will analyze musical masterpieces of Western 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 (including video games) 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
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
Bierlein, J. F. Parallel Myths, New York: Ballantine Wellspring (1994)
Jung, Carl G. Man and His Symbols, Dell (Random House) Publishing (1968)
Leeming, David Adams. The World of Myth: An Anthology, Oxford: Oxford University Press (1990)
Storr, Anthony. Music and the Mind, New York: The Free Press (1992)
Plus additional assigned reading and listening.
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:
There will be no tests or term papers. Each week, students will be asked a) to select a specific work of art 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%).
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, the visual arts and video games.
5. Awareness of the historical, social and political context in which works of art are created.