MWF 2:30-3:20 pm
Cross-listed with MUS 390X.
Fulfills humanities fine arts requirement.
In this seminar students explore the modes in which they listen to music and the manner in which they understand and derive meaning from it. As guided by the readings, students will evaluate music from a number of perspectives (literary, social, political, neuroscientific, and philosophical). Students are encouraged to critically respond to their own musical tastes and listening habits, to examine modern assumptions about the value and place of music, and to consider the ways in which music (especially music devoid of text) might have meaningful significance.
Smaller papers throughout the course will develop students' skills in the writing of music criticism. A final paper connecting a particular musical work to the themes of the course is required. Both musicians and those without special music training are encouraged to enroll in the course.
Texts may include:
Hanslick, Eduard. On the Musically Beautiful. (Hackett Publishing, 978-0872200142)
Kivy, Peter. Introduction to a Philosophy of Music. (Oxford, 978-0198250487)
Langer, Suzanne. Form and Feeling (selections)
Levitin, Daniel J. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. (Plume/Penguin, 978-0452288522)
Meyer, Leonard B. Music, the Arts, and Ideas: Patterns and Predictions in Twentieth Century Culture. (selections)
Ross, Alex, and Daphne Carr, eds. Best Music Writing, 2011. (Da Capo, 978-0306819636)
Josef Škvorecký, The Bass Saxophone. (Ecco, 978-0880013703)
Thomson, Virgil. The Art of Judging Music. (selections)
Musical examples will span many styles, including the classical symphony, modern hip-hop, big band, indie rock, and folk.