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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:History of American Musical Theater

For over 150 years, musical theater has been one of America's most popular forms of entertainment. After exploring its origins in ballad opera, operetta, minstrelsy, and vaudeville, we will delve into selected musicals from Show Boat to The Book of Mormon, examining how their music, lyrics, and narratives interact with cultural issues of their times. By considering their often problematic messages about race, ethnicity, gender, class, national politics, and other societal issues, students will develop a deep understanding of musical theater's position in U.S. society as well as its musico-dramatic conventions. Prerequisite: MUS 230 and MUS 334 or consent of instructor.

Spring Semester information

Elissa Harbert

390A: Tps:19th-century Music and Culture

This course provides an in-depth exploration of selected landmarks of Western art music during the "long 19th century," starting with Beethoven's stylistic evolution and ending with Debussy and the culture of fin-de-siecle Paris. The course invites students to delve into musical works that represent some of the many genres and styles circulating in Europe and the United States during this transformative century. As we consider each piece and composer as a case study indicative of broader trends, we will explore the historical contexts, philosophical and literary underpinnings, and social dynamics of this music and how it shaped and was shaped by the world from which it came. We will also discuss the dominant role of 19th-century music in the 21st-century concert repertoire and its meanings in our own lives.
Prerequisite: MUS 230 or consent of instructor.