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MUS 390

Music History Topics

Investigations of specialized topics in music history with a consideration of musicological methodology. These courses expand upon the historical issues discussed in MUS 230 and/or MUS 334. Recent offerings have included Beethoven, Mozart, Representations of Gender and Sexuality in Opera, Mahler and His Time, Das Lied, Music for the Mass, Improvisation in Western Art Music, and Chamber Music of the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
MUS 230 and MUS 334 or consent of instructor 1/2-1 course

Fall Semester information

Elissa Harbert

390A: Tps: Music in the United States

Music has always been a pillar of identity construction for the diverse cultures of the United States. Music acts as a force that binds social groups together, but it also highlights and reinforces perceived differences. This class will examine a wide variety of musics in their social contexts from the 1700s to the present. We will explore the ways musical innovation in the United States has responded to cultural needs, social shifts, and European musical standards. Topics include how Americans self-consciously created their musical culture in the years surrounding the Revolution; the rise and fall of blackface minstrelsy; how African American music gradually became accepted as central to American music; the use and abuse of Native American music as a marker of nationalism; how twentieth-century art music composers (such as Charles Ives, William Grant Still, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, and John Adams) strove to define and practice an American compositional style; the racial, gendered, and generational factors at play in the birth and rise of rock and roll; the many musics of the Civil Rights struggle; how Americans have fashioned themselves musically in Internet Age; and much more.

Spring Semester information

Matthew Balensuela

390A: Tps:Mozart: Life, Times, and Selected Works

The class will be a survey of the life and accomplishments of Wolfgang Mozart. The class will survey Mozart's life and study selected musical works in depth. Upon completing the class, a student should be able to (1) discuss Mozart's musical style and development, (2) place Mozart's musical achievements in the context of his time, and (3) articulate the various controversial aspects of his life and works explaining both the formation of the myth and current scholarly views on these controversies.

Elissa Harbert

390B: Tps:Music and the Vietnam War

During the Vietnam War era (1955-1975) and its aftermath, musical artists of every style and genre responded to the conflict and the cultural rupture it created. This course explores musical activity related to the Vietnam War from many angles: protest music and pro-war propaganda in the United States, music by and for American armed forces in combat, musical responses from around the world, and the traditional and popular music of Vietnam. These musics, in styles from postmodern classical, aleatoric, and minimalism to folk, jazz, rock, chicano, Broadway musicals, television, and film, intersect with racial, class, gender, and generational identities. We will also delve into some of the ways we have remembered and made sense of the Vietnam War in the years since. Through this musical lens, we will come to terms with the political and cultural history of the Vietnam War, which is still so influential in shaping present-day politics and culture in the United States.