The full list of music courses we offer can be found on the Registrar's website. Please note that courses and times are subject to change.
Timetable of Class Meetings posted here.
This course explores the impact of music technology on a century of sonic innovators. From room-sized synthesizers to backpack drum machines, from military vocoders to turntable science, we track how electronic tools have scrambled cultural hierarchies on their path from state-funded radio stations to present-day microchips. Both sites of radical Black resistance and tools of a Eurocentric elite, electronic instruments have shaped auditory cultures in myriad, divergent ways. Tracing these threads, we'll touch on the birth of Hip-Hop, Italian Futurists, Afrofuturism, Musique Concrète, American minimalism, Detroit Techno, and much more.
Class sessions move from theory to practice, merging group discussions of repertoire and readings with hands-on sonic experimentation in Audacity and Ableton Live. Students are lent a home studio kit (with an audio interface, midi keyboard, microphone, and headphones) to compose three sonic art projects throughout the term. Weekly X-hour meetings foster studio-based ear-training skills. Music 25 aims to empower the sonic intelligence in everyone. No previous musical training is required.
MUS 26 is an upper-level sonic arts studio course. Students will expand their technical and creative capacity with Ableton Live and be introduced to software tools for sound synthesis and generative music (Max/MSP, Spear). Though technically focused, the goals of this course are creative in nature: to broaden each student's sonic palette through increased facility with software tools; to stretch each student's aesthetic imagination through exposure to repertoire and invited artists; and to strengthen each student's creative work habits through weekly course projects and crits.
The practice of animating language with music shows up in nearly every culture in the world. Throughout time, songs have been a medium for emotion, story, survival, cultural memory, spiritual practice, celebration, mourning, commerce and more. In this course students will explore the technical, sonic, formal, poetic and metaphysical dimensions of songs through a rigorous weekly practice of songwriting, listening, sharing and critique. We will look broadly at songwriting techniques from many genres and traditions, and we will acquire powerful tools for unlocking and understanding the musicality that exists in language, and the meaning that can unfold from harmonic, melodic and sonic gestures. This course is open to students with any level of musical training or ability, but comfort with singing in front of others is recommended.