Ethnomusicology: History & Theory
Instructor: Maureen Mahon
Monday 3pm to 5pm
Description: A broad intellectual history of the discipline, surveying landmark studies and important figures. Examines major paradigms, issues, and frameworks in ethnomusicology. The relation of ethnomusicology to other disciplines and the relationA broad intellectual history of the discipline, surveying landmark studies and important figures. Examines major paradigms, issues, and frameworks in ethnomusicology. The relation of ethnomusicology to other disciplines and the relations of knowledge and power that have produced them. Serves as an introduction to the field of ethnomusicology.
Seminar: Techniques of Music Composition
Instructor: Elizabeth Hoffman
Tuesdays 6pm to 8pm
Description: Examination of techniques of music composition as they are applied to the creation of musical works. Compositional practice is studied and evaluated both from the standpoint of craft and aesthetics. Students create compositions, and works are performed in public concerts.
Musical Ethnography: Field Methodologies
Instructor: Christine Dang
Tuesdays 10:30am to 12:30pm
Description: Pragmatic instruction in field and laboratory research and analytical methods in ethnomusicology. Emphasizes the urban field site. Topics include research design, fieldwork, participant observation, field notes, interviews and oral histories, survey instruments, textual analysis, audiovisual methods, archiving, urban ethnomusicology, applied ethnomusicology, performance as methodology and epistemology, and the ethics and politics of cultural representation. Students conceive, design, and carry out a limited research project over the course of the semester.
Special Studies: Music, Instruments, & Machines
MUSIC-GA 2198, Section 003
Instructor: Michael Beckerman
Thursdays 10:30am to 12:30pm
Description: Music has always been shaped by the instruments, tools, and machines with which it is made. Whether musical instruments are manual or automated, analog or digital, they are more than simply vehicles toward achieving some transcendent end. Musical instruments and musical machines define and press at the boundaries of sonic and artistic experience.
In this seminar, co-taught by Dr. Michael Beckerman (New York University) and Dr. Rebecca Cypess (Rutgers University), we attempt to understand musical instruments and musical machines as technologies that reflect the values and imaginations of their creators and users. Such an approach opens the way to new understandings of repertoire, performance practices, and the connections between music and broader cultures of art and science. Through readings and listening assignments, we will explore a series of case studies from the early modern era to the present day that highlight the interdependence of music, musical instruments, and musical machines on one hand, and instruments of science and the other arts on the other. Our explorations starts at home, with our own instrumental practices and environments, but we will also engage with instrument builders understanding how their technical knowledge and imaginative conceptions shape their work. We will use an array of online tools to gain access to instruments from around the world, and we will take field trips to collections of musical instruments and automatons that offer both hands-on experience and fresh perspectives. Our objective is to understand musical instruments and machines as mediators between people and the world around them, and perhaps also as agents in their musical environments.
Note: field trips will be scheduled to accommodate the schedules of as many seminar participants as possible.
Special Studies: Music and Sound Archives of New York City
MUSIC-GA 2198, Section 005
Instructor: Brigid Cohen
Thursdays 2pm to 4pm
Description: This seminar introduces the study of music and sound archives with the aim of preparing students for independent research projects. Over the course of the seminar, we will interrogate the many ways we continually retrieve, lose, and transform the past through informal daily habits and more systematic methods of preserving memory. We will pay special attention to the silences that dwell in archives and define their limits as repositories of knowledge. We will also address technical and ethical dilemmas that surround archival sound collection and preservation in the digital age. Working in the special collections at NYU and at the New York Public Library, students will gain a practical footing in a variety of music and sound archives and the larger questions of memory they raise. Special attention will be paid to sound and music archives in their relation to the nation-state, empire, genocide memorialization, labor, protest, and social justice.
Special Studies: Music, Language, Discourse
MUSIC-GA 2199, Section 003
Instructor: David Samuels
Tuesdays 4pm to 6pm
Description: “Music begins where the possibilities of language end,” the composer Jean Sibelius famously—and problematically—said. Is music a language? Is language a music? Is music a “universal language”? THE universal language? If so, how can that be? And if not, why have so many thought it so? In this graduate seminar we will explore the possible relationships between musical and linguistic expression implied in such an attunement to the world. The first part of the semester will bring us into encounters with some foundational work from Roman Jakobson, David Lidov, Susanne Langer, and Peter Ladefoged, and Peirceian semiotics. Following this we will dive into the various materialities of sounded expression and explore the ways in which musical and linguistic practices stake out overlapping social, cultural, political, and historical terrains in the field of discourse.
Special Studies: Music Analysis
MUSIC-GA 2199, Section 004
Instructor: Louis Karchin
Tuesdays 10:30am to 12:30pm
Description: This course is designed to introduce students to approaches in music analysis applicable to both works of the standard canon as well as the most recent music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Analytic models, beginning with formal-descriptive analysis and continuing with studies of Schenker, Reti, Schoenberg, Lerdahl, Boulez and others will discussed in the context of the study of musical scores. Composers included will represent those of the common practice period, as well as modern masters such as Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Messiaen, Boulez, Lindberg, Saariaho, Lachenmann and others.
Theorizing Labor in Music
Subject Code TBA
Instructor: Lucie Vágnerová
Thursdays 4pm to 6pm
Description: Musical culture gets overwhelmingly associated with leisure, not work. This musicology seminar explores the many forms of economic, affective, political, and interpretive labor that make music possible. Introducing students to theoretical frameworks particularly sensitive to the role of social difference, regulated capitalism, and technology, the seminar asks: what do we learn about music when we approach music as labor? Readings in musicology, labor history, music education, ethnomusicology, anthropology, media studies, critical race theory, and gender studies will anchor discussions of topics such as bans on recording, artificially intelligent composition software, lullabies, music lessons, song collecting, copyright, electronics manufacturing, and the soundtrack of labor movements.