THEORY 460 - Special Courses
Section: 002 Chromaticism
Term: WN 2019
Subject: Music Theory (THEORY)
Department: Music School
Waitlist Capacity:
Enforced Prerequisites:
THEORY 240 and 250.
May be repeated for credit.
Undergrad and Grad
Meet Together Classes:
Primary Instructor:

This course considers ways of analyzing music from a performer’s and a listener’s perspective. It studies the performer’s role in the creation and understanding of music, viewing the performer as someone who, along with the composer, co-creates a unique musical experience for the listener. The course explores factors that influence a performer’s conception of a piece, such as learned knowledge and unconscious intuition. We will examine how teachers and other performers can shape one’s comprehension of music. Additionally, the physical features of a performer’s hands, arms, and even entire body have a significant impact on a performance. How does a performer translate a score into physical gestures? What is the relationship between the written score and sounding music? What does it mean for a performer to be “faithful” to the score? We will read articles on these topics by current theorists and compare different performances of the same piece. Students will have the opportunity to lead a discussion and write a “performer’s analysis” on a work of their own choosing.

THEORY 460 - Special Courses
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
002 (LEC)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
003 (LEC)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
Note: "Music," Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, "is the universal language of humankind." Indeed, the belief that there is something language-like about music has long fascinated not only poets like Longfellow, but also scientists, philosophers, and thinkers from a variety of other backgrounds not to mention linguists and music theorists. This course builds on this age-old interest from an interdisciplinary perspective, to see how music and language are related, and how they are also different. So we will explore, for example, how music and language function in different cultural contexts, as described by anthropologists, and how they evolved, and allow us to think, express and be creative, as philosophers, psychologists and biologists have discussed and in the process, we will explore things as diverse as birdsongs and Beethoven symphonies, fractals and Neanderthal flutes, and grunge rhythms and the music of New Guinea. To help us ground our comparison of music and language, we will learn some linguistics too?within a framework known as generative linguistics, developed by linguists like Noam Chomsky and we will see how this perspective suggests that music and language might actually be identical. Graduate students elect Theory 560.
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