Music Department

Requirements for Concentration: 13 units of graded work, including Music 105/106, 205, 206/207/208, 246/247/248; one of the following: Music 210, 211; one of the following: Music 320, 321, 322, 323; 2 additional units from history and theory courses which may include not more than one of the following: Music 201, 202, 212, 213, 214, 231, 238; and 1.5 units of performance in the same instrument.

Senior-Year Requirements: 2 units at the 300-level, at least one of them in history or theory. After declaration of major, no work taken NRO may be used to fulfill requirements for concentration.

Recommendations: A reading knowledge of at least one of the following foreign languages: German, French, Italian. German is strongly recommended. Students planning to concentrate in music will normally elect Music 105/106 and 206 in the freshman year, and 246/247/248 in the sophomore year, continuing into the first semester of the junior year. Majors are encouraged to audition for membership in one of the choral or instrumental ensembles sponsored by the department.

Correlate Sequence in Music Requirements:  The music department offers four correlate sequences, each requiring 6 units of credit of which no fewer than 5 should be taken at Vassar.  No more than one course counted toward the Music & Culture correlate may be taken NRO.  Specific courses to be taken within each sequence are outlined below.  Students interested in pursuing a correlate sequence in music should discuss it with the music department chair as well as their major advisors during their sophomore or junior year, and they will be assigned a correlate advisor from the music faculty.  Correlate sequences in music must be declared by the end of the junior year.

Correlate Sequence in Music History: Music 105/106 (Harmony), 246/247/248 (Music History), and one 300-level music history seminar or 399, an Independent Study for which a proposal should be submitted by the end of the junior year.

Correlate Sequence in Music Theory: Music 105/106 (Harmony), 205 (Advanced Harmony), 210 and 211 (Modal and Tonal Counterpoint), and 322 (Advanced Studies in Theory) or 399, an Independent Study for which a proposal should be submitted by the end of the junior year.

Correlate Sequence in Music Composition: Music 105/106 (Harmony), 215/216 (Composition I), 219 (Electronic Music), and 315 (Composition II).

Correlate Sequence in Music and Culture: Music 101 (Fundamentals of Music) or 105 (Harmony), and 136 (Introduction to World Music) or 140/41 (Introduction to Western Art Music); 3 units chosen from the following: 201 (Opera), 202 (Black Music), 212 (Advanced Topics in World Music), 213 (American Music), 214 (History of Jazz), 217 (Studies in Popular Music), 231 (Women Making Music), 238 (Music in Film), 259 (Soundscapes: Anthropology of Music); and in the senior year 399, an Independent Study for which a proposal should be submitted by the end of the junior year.

Advisers: The department.

I. Introductory

101a and b. Fundamentals of Music (1)

A beginning study of the elements of music including notation, rhythm and meter, scales and modes, intervals, melody, chord progression, musical terms, and instruments. To facilitate reading skills, class exercises in ear training and sight singing are included. May not be counted in the requirements for concentration. Mr. Pisani, Mr. Mann.

Open to all classes. Previous musical training unnecessary.

105a. Harmony (1)

A study of tonal harmony as found in the music of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Primary emphasis is on writing, including harmonization of bass lines and melodies; analysis of representative examples and ear training. Mr. Wilson, Ms. Libin.

Yearlong course 105/106.

Open to all classes.

Prerequisite: each student must demonstrate to the instructor a familiarity with treble and bass clef notation, scales, and basic rhythmic notation.

106b. Harmony (1)

A study of tonal harmony as found in the music of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Primary emphasis is on writing, including harmonization of bass lines and melodies; analysis of representative examples and ear training. Ms. Libin, Mr. Wilson.

Yearlong course 105/106.

Open to all classes.

Prerequisite: Music 105, or successful completion of departmental advanced placement exam at beginning of fall semester.

136a. Introduction to World Music (1)

This course examines the development and practices of musical styles in diverse locales around the world from an ethnomusicological perspective. We study the intersection of musical communities and social identity/values, political movements (especially nationalism), spirituality, economy, and globalization. We explore these general issues through case studies from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Mr. Patch.

This course is open to students with or without musical training.

Two 75-minute periods.

140. Introduction to Western Art Music (1)

A study of selected topics in the history of Western music.

Open to all classes. Previous musical training not required. May not be counted in the requirements for concentration. Music 140 is not required for Music 141, therefore these two courses may be taken in any order.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

141. Introduction to Western Art Music (1)

Open to all classes. Previous musical training (or ability to read music) not required. May not be counted in the requirements for concentration. Music 140 is not required for Music 141, therefore these two courses may be taken in any order.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

180a. The Art of Writing About Music (1)

How is it possible to write about music in ways that are both well-informed—and accessible by a majority of readers? In this course, we listen to a wide variety of music, with the purpose of learning how to write clearly and persuasively about music. To this end we develop a vocabulary for music that is broadly non-technical, yet characterized by a clear understanding of the basic elements that give life to all kinds of music. Our reading list ranges widely, and includes both journalism and musicological writing. Over the course of the semester we examine more and more complex kinds of music, beginning with songs of all kinds, and ending with works of greater scope (operas, symphonies, concertos, and more). The goal is both to challenge ourselves as writers, and to find ways to write about the almost maddening varieties of music that confront us in modern life. Mr. Mann.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

May not be counted in the requirements for concentration.

Two 75-minute periods.

II. Intermediate

201. Opera (1)

A study of the history, style, drama, and music in selected operatic masterworks from 1600 to the present. Mr. Pisani.

Prerequisite: one unit in one of the following: art; drama; Italian, French, German, or English literatures; music; or permission of the instructor.

Alternate years.

Not offered in 2013/14.

202a. Black Music (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 202) An analytical exploration of the music of certain African and European cultures and their adaptive influences in North America. The course examines traditional African and European views of music performance practices while exploring their influences in shaping the music of African Americans from the spiritual to modern.

205b. Advanced Harmony (1)

A continuation of Music 105/106, using more complex harmonic resources and analyzing more extended works. Mr. Wilson.

Prerequisite: Music 105/106 or permission of the instructor.

206b. Musicianship Skills I (1/2)

An aural-skills class based on diatonic melody and harmony. Class exercises include sight singing, ear training, clef reading, keyboard skills and basic conducting patterns. Ms. Howlett.

Prerequisite: Music 105 or permission of the instructor.

207a. Musicianship Skills II (1/2)

A continuation of Music 206 adding chromatic melody and harmony with intermediate keyboard skills such as figured bass realization, improvised accompaniment, and score reading. Ms. Howlett.

Prerequisite: Music 206.

208b. Musicianship Skills III (1/2)

A continuation of Music 207, developing aural, keyboard, and clef-reading skills to a higher degree of proficiency. Mr. Navega.

Prerequisite: Music 207.

210a. Modal Counterpoint (1)

A study, through analysis and written exercises, of contrapuntal techniques of the sixteenth century. Mr. Wilson.

Prerequisite: Music 105/106 or permission of the instructor.

Alternate years.

211. Tonal Counterpoint (1)

A study, through analysis and written exercises, of contrapuntal techniques of the eighteenth century. Mr. Wilson.

Prerequisite: Music 105/106 or permission of the instructor.

Alternate years.

Not offered in 2013/14.

212b. Advanced Topics in World Music (1)

Topic for 2013/14b: Music of Latin America. (Same as Anthropology and Latin American and Latino/a Studies 212) This course takes a broad view of music from across Latin America. Through case studies of various popular, folk, art, and roots music, the course examines the role that music plays in past and current social life, political movements, economic development, international representation and identity formation. It also considers the transnational nature of music through demographic shifts, technological adaptation and migration. Mr. Patch.

Prerequisite: Music 136 is highly recommended, or permission of the instructor. 

Two 75-minute periods.

213. American Music (1)

(Same as American Studies 213) The study of folk, popular, and art musics in American life from 1600 to the present and their relationship to other facets of America's historical development and cultural growth. Mr. Pisani.

Prerequisite: one unit in one of the following: music; studies in American history, art, or literature; or permission of the instructor.

Alternate years.

Not offered in 2013/14.

214. History of American Jazz (1)

(Same as American Studies 214) An investigation of the whole range of jazz history, from its beginning around the turn of the century to the present day. Among the figures to be examined are: Scott Joplin, "Jelly Roll" Morton, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie, Thomas "Fats" Waller, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, and Miles Davis. Mr. Mann.

Prerequisite: one unit in one of the following: music, studies in American history, art, or literature; or permission of the instructor.

Alternate years.

Not offered in 2013/14.

215a. Composition I (1)

Creative work in various contemporary idioms. Analysis of selected works; study of instrumental resources.

Yearlong course 215/216.

Prerequisite: Music 105/106 or permission of the instructor.

If a senior project in composition is planned, the student should elect Music 215/216 in the sophomore year and Music 315 in the junior year.

216b. Composition I (1)

Creative work in various contemporary idioms. Analysis of selected works; study of instrumental resources.

Yearlong course 215/216.

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

If a senior project in composition is planned, the student should elect Music 215/216 in the sophomore year and Music 315 in the junior year.

217. Studies in Popular Music (1)

Prerequisite: recommended one unit in either music or sociology.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

219a. Electronic Music (1)

A practical exploration of electronic music, composition, and production techniques. Compositional and creative aspects are emphasized with extensive lab time provided for student projects. No prior knowledge of computer music or programming is required. Mr. McCulloch.

Yearlong course 219/220.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

220b. Electronic Music (1)

A practical exploration of electronic music, composition, and production techniques. Compositional and creative aspects are emphasized with extensive lab time provided for student projects. No prior knowledge of computer music or programming is required. Mr. McCulloch.

Yearlong course 219/220.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

231b. Women Making Music (1)

(Same as Women's Studies 231) A study of women's involvement in Western and non-Western musical cultures. Drawing on recent work in feminist musicology and ethnomusicology, the course studies a wide range of music created by women, both past and present. It explores such topics as musical instruments and gender, voice and embodiment, access to training and performance opportunities, and representations of women musicians in art and literature. Ms. Libin.

Prerequisite: one unit in music, or women's studies, or permission of the instructor.

238b. Music in Film (1)

(Same as Film 238) A study of music in sound cinema from the 1920s to the present. The course focuses on the expressive, formal, and semiotic function that film music serves, either as sound experienced by the protagonists, or as another layer of commentary to be heard only by the viewer, or some mixture of the two. Composers studied include Max Steiner, Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, Danny Elfman, and others, as well as film scores that rely upon a range of musical styles, including classical, popular, and non-Western. Specific topics to be considered this semester include music in film noir and the movie musical. Mr. Mann.

Prerequisite: one course in music (not performance) or film.

Two 75-minute periods plus outside screenings.

246a. Music and Ideas I — Medieval and Early Modern Europe: The Power of Church and Court(1)

(Same as Medieval and Renaissance Studies 246a.) This course introduces major historical and intellectual ideas of music from the Ancient world through 1660. The focus is on essential repertoire as well as the cultures that fostered principal genres of sacred and secular music during the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and early Baroque. Mr. Mann.

Includes an additional listening/discussion section.

Prerequisite: Music 105/106 or permission of the instructor.

247b. Music and Ideas II — Enlightenment and the Influence of Rationalism (1)

A study of musical genres and trends over the course of the "long eighteenth century" from 1660 to 1830. The course explores significant shifts in musical language from the high Baroque through the age of revolution and early Romanticism, as revealed in great works from Purcell through Beethoven. Ms. Libin.

Includes an additional listening/discussion section.

Prerequisite: Music 105/106 or permission of the instructor.

248a. Music and Ideas III — Modernism and its Challenges (1)

This course begins with progressive composers Berlioz, Liszt, and Wagner and traces the development of their schools of thought through the late nineteenth century. The rising importance of popular song and jazz in the twentieth century along with major composers who have found new expression within classical traditions, and "postmoderns" who have worked to bridge genres. Mr. Pisani.

Prerequisites: Music 105/106 or permission of the instructor.

259a. Soundscapes: Anthropology of Music (1)

(Same as Anthropology 259) This course investigates a series of questions about the relationship between music and the individuals and societies that perform and listen to it. In other words, music is examined and appreciated as a form of human expression existing within and across specific cultural contexts. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the social life of music, addressing historical themes and debates within multiple academic fields via readings, recordings, and films. Mr. Patch.

Prerequisites: previous coursework in Anthropology or Music, or permission of the instructor.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Special projects in theory, history, or performance that supplement the curriculum.

Open to qualified students with permission of department. Proposals for a project must first have the approval of a faculty advisor and then be submitted for departmental approval by the end of the previous semester.

III. Advanced

302a or b. Senior Project (1/2)

A paper, composition, or recital. Proposals for a project must first have the approval of an appropriate faculty adviser and then be submitted for departmental approval by the end of the junior year.

315a. Composition II (1)

Further work in original composition; analysis of examples illustrating current practice. Mr. Wilson.

Yearlong course 315/316. Music 315 may be taken twice for credit.

Permission of the instructor required; qualification to be determined by submission in advance of original work.

Prerequisites: Music 105/106 and 215/216 or equivalent.

316. Composition II (1)

Further work in original composition; analysis of examples illustrating current practice.

Yearlong course 315/316.

Permission of the instructor required; qualification to be determined by submission in advance of original work.

Prerequisites: Music 105/106 and 215/216 or equivalent.

Not offered in 2013/14.

320b. Advanced Studies in Musical Genres (1)

Topic for 2013/14b: 20th-Century and Recent Opera. A study of several modern operas from the standpoint of both dramatic and musical forms. Operas considered are those of Strauss, Berg, Bartók, Janáček, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Puccini, Hindemith, Poulenc, Gershwin, Britten, Menotti, Penderecki, Glass, Adams, Heggie, among others. Course involves listening, viewing, reading, short papers, class discussion, and in-class presentation. Knowledge of languages not required. Mr. Pisani.

Prerequisites: Music 105/106 and either 201 or 248; or permission of the instructor.

One 3-hour period.

321a. Composer in Focus (1)

Topic for 2013/14a: Gustav Mahler. The songs, song cycles, and symphonies of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) present one of the richest and most idiosyncratic repertoires of any late nineteenth-century composer. In particular, the symphonies, drawing on formal, expressive and narratological models bequeathed to him by Beethoven, Berlioz, Schumann, Wagner, and others, offer an almost endless field for study and analysis. After examining Mahler’s career as conductor and composer, this course focuses on his nine symphonies and Das Lied von der Erde. Mr. Mann.

Prerequisites: Music 105-106, 205, 246-247, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

322. Advanced Studies in Theory (1)

Analysis of Modern and Contemporary Classical Music. Study of analytical approaches helpful in understanding and performing music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Topics include modal and post-tonal analysis, set theory and serialism, and innovative approaches to rhythm, meter, timbre, texture, and form. The course culminates in individual projects devoted to detailed study of a work of each student's choosing. Students enhance their abilities to express their understanding of music through essays and presentations commenting on analytical insights and their implications for performance.

Prerequisites: Music 205 and 248 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2013/14.

323. Intersections in Music and Literature (1)

Prerequisites: Music 105/106; 205; 246/247, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2013/14.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Special projects in theory, history, or performance that supplement the curriculum.

Open to qualified students with permission of department. Proposals for a project must first have the approval of a faculty adviser and then be submitted for departmental approval by the end of the junior year.

Performance

Auditions are required for both credited and uncredited study and are arranged at the beginning of each semester for students who register for the desired course. Each course in performance includes a program of literature suited to the individual student, and requires a reasonable improvement in technical proficiency and interpretative understanding for continuation.

Corequisite courses in music theory or history (see Individual Instruction below) should begin as early as possible, but no later than the third semester of credited study. All students who take lessons for credit are required to take two courses in theory or history, preferably before their senior year.

Enrollment is limited in each area of instruction, especially voice. Music majors and students studying for credit are given preference. Beginners are accepted as schedules permit.

Fees: See section on fees. Scholarships to cover charges are made available through the Office of Financial Aid and are granted only for credited study. Individual instruction is given as follows:

Other Instruments (037, 137, 237, 337)

Jazz Guitar (034, 134, 234, 334): Mr. DeMicco.

Jazz Piano (042, 142, 242, 342): Mr. Tomlinson.

Saxophone (Music 043, 143, 243, 343): Mr. Xiques.

Piano (Music 060, 160, 260, 360): Mr. Crow, Ms. Polonsky, Mr. Sauer, Ms. Charney.

Organ (Music 061,161, 261, 361): Ms. Archer.

Harpsichord (Music 062, 162, 262, 362): Ms. Archer.

Voice (Music 063, 163, 263, 363): Mr. Minter, Ms. Nessinger, Mr. Osborne, Ms. Rosales, Mr. Ruff.

Violin (Music 064, 164, 264, 364): Ms. Lee, Ms. Quan.

Viola (Music 065, 165, 265, 365): Ms. Farina.

Violoncello (Music 066, 166, 266, 366): Ms. Shao.

Double Bass (Music 067, 167, 267, 367): Mr. Pappas.

Classical Guitar (Music 068, 168, 268, 368): Mr. Champlin.

Harp (Music 069, 169, 269, 369): Ms. Jackson.

Flute (Music 070, 170, 270, 370): Mr. Solum.

Oboe (Music 071, 171, 271, 371): Ms. Bishkoff.

Clarinet (Music 072, 172, 272, 372): Mr. Guy.

Bassoon (Music 073, 173, 273, 373): Ms. Romano.

French Horn (Music 074, 174, 274, 374): Mr. Reit.

Trumpet (Music 075, 175, 275, 375): Mr. Osborn.

Trombone (Music 076, 176, 276, 376): Mr. Bellino.

Tuba (Music 077, 177, 277, 377): Mr. Bellino.

Percussion (Music 078, 178, 278, 378): Mr. Cassara, Mr. Files.

Electric Bass (Music 079, 179, 279, 379): Mr. Mortenson.

Note: Performance levels are described under numbers Music 000, 100, 200, 300. The first year of credited instruction in piano, for example, should be elected as Music 160; whereas uncredited study in any year should be elected as Music 060.

The department will attempt to arrange instruction in certain instruments not listed above. Students wishing such instruction should consult with the chair of the department. Auditions are usually required.

135a. The International Phonetic Alphabet (1/2)

An introduction to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Geared toward students of voice, choir, and choral conducting. Ms. Howlett.

Alternate years: Not offered in 2012/13.

Individual Instruction

000a, b. Performance

Uncredited lessons.

Open to all classes by audition.

One 50-minute period. Unscheduled.

100a, b. Performance (1/2)

Open to all students who have passed the audition or upon recommendation of the instructor.

Corequisite: a course in music theory or history should be taken during the first year of credited lessons. Music 101, 105, 140, or 141 are strongly recommended.

One 50-minute period. Unscheduled.

200a, b. Performance (1/2)

Prerequisite: two semesters of credited study in this instrument. Corequisite: a course in music theory or history is required unless two such courses have previously been completed.

One 50-minute period. Unscheduled.

300a, b. Performance (1/2)

Prerequisite: four semesters of credited study in this instrument.

One 50-minute period. Unscheduled.

380a, b. Performance (1/2)

Prerequisite: six semesters of credited study in this instrument.

One 50-minute period. Unscheduled.

Ensembles

In the following six large ensembles (Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Orchestra, Choir, Women’s Chorus, and Madrigal Singers) the first semester is an uncredited prerequisite for the second: credited study is offered only in the second semester. Students wishing to enroll for credit in the second semester must register for the uncredited prerequisite in the first semester. No student should exceed 2 units of this credit in his or her four years at Vassar. Membership is open to all classes and assumes a full year commitment. Admission is by audition.

038a, 138a/039b, 139b. Jazz Combo (0 or 1/2)

The study and performance of jazz improvisation. Mr. Osborn.

Two sections.

Open to qualified students with permission of the instructor. Students may register for credit each semester, but no student may exceed 2 units of this credit in his or her four years at Vassar.

044a, 144a, 045b, 145b. Chamber Music (0 or 1/2)

The study and performance of selected works from the ensemble repertoire of instrumental or vocal mediums or their combinations. Mr. Navega.

Open to qualified students with the permission of the instructor. Students may register for credit each semester, but no student may exceed 2 units of this credit in his or her four years at Vassar. One 50-minute period. Unscheduled.

048a, 049b, 149b. Wind Ensemble (0 or 1/2)

The fifty-member ensemble of students and community players performs works of the wind and band repertoire. Open to all woodwind, brass, and percussion players. Mr. Osborn.

Open to all students by audition.

One meeting per week plus sectional rehearsals.

050a, 051b, 151b. Jazz Ensemble (0 or 1/2)

The jazz ensemble performs literature ranging from the Big Band Era to jazz-rock fusion. Improvisation and ensemble playing in a jazz style are featured. Mr. Osborn.

Open to all students by audition.

One meeting per week.

052a, 053b, 153b. Orchestra (0 or 1/2)

The 60-member orchestra performs masterworks of the symphonic literature. Mr. Navega.

Open to all students by audition.

Two meetings per week.

054a, 055b, 155b. Women's Chorus (0 or 1/2)

The Women's Chorus is an ensemble of 30-50 women that studies and performs repertoire from the medieval period to the present. The choir performs on campus and occasionally makes concert tours. Ms. Howlett.

Open to all students by audition.

Three meetings per week.

056a, 057b, 157b. Choir (0 or 1/2)

The choir is a mixed ensemble of between 40 and 60 voices that studies and performs choral/orchestral and a cappella literature for a larger chorus from the Renaissance through the present. The choir performs on campus and occasionally makes concert tours. Ms. Howlett.

Open to all students by audition.

Three meetings per week.

058a, 059b, 159b. Madrigal Singers (0 or 1/2)

The Madrigal Singers is a select mixed ensemble of between 10 and 20 voices that studies and performs literature for solo and chamber vocal ensemble. Mr. Minter.

Two meetings per week.

254b. Opera Workshop (1/2)

The study and performance of selected operatic repertoire. Open to qualified students by audition. Mr. Minter, Ms. Charney.

No student may exceed 2 units of this credit in his or her four years at Vassar.