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MUS 380

21CM Topics

Investigations of specialized topics in entrepreneurship and music business. These courses expand upon other courses offered in the 21CM curriculum.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits

Fall Semester information

Eliza Brown

380A: 21CM Tps:Composition

Eric Schmidt

380B: 21CM Tps:Choral Arranging

This class will provide a framework for developing choral arranging ability. In contrast to composing music, arranging approaches writing from the perspective of creating a musical setting for an already existing melody. In a first step, we will briefly focus on gathering/reviewing different tools from music theory, musicianship, proper music notation (including the use of software), and aspects that are significant to writing for the voice. The majority of the class, students will apply these tools to evaluate existing arrangements and to create their own arrangements for different groups and in different styles. It is crucial that students commit to a safe and supportive learning atmosphere in which we can discuss individual assignments to learn from each other's experience.

By the end of the class, students will be able to

  • Identify and arrange music that is effective for the voice
  • Harmonize vocals for different formats
  • Plan and execute a choral arrangement with or without instrumental accompaniment
  • Use music notation software to properly score their arrangements

Spring Semester information

Eliza Brown

380A: 21CM Tps:Composition

Eric Schmidt

380B: 21CM Tps:Concert Programming: Making a Statement

Music always triggers some kind of a reaction in us; it can touch our emotions as well as our intellect. In presenting music to an audience, artists use this effect to make a statement. Sometimes this is done in a direct way and sometimes more subtly, but it is not only the music itself that makes the statement. This class focuses on various aspects of concert programming as musicians constantly face the questions of what they want to perform and how they are going to present it in a concert.

In a first step, we are going to analyze the challenges of choosing repertoire and discover how we can compile pieces to create an impactful concert program. Also, in times of declining attendance at performances of 'classical' music, musicians have to find new ways to make their product appealing to a wide and diverse audience. We will present and discuss alternative and innovative concert formats that could help to enhance the experience of attending a concert. Additionally, every musician needs to master how to write program notes as a further method of informing the audience about the music to be performed and as an integral part of the overall experience of the concert. This class will provide tools and strategies to help students with this facet of being a performing artist.

Randy Salman

380C: 21CM Tps:Miles and Trane

Universally claimed as a musical genius, Miles Davis is one of the most influential musicians in the world. For more than 45 years, from 1945 when he first made his mark on the jazz scene until his death in 1991, Miles Davis has been in the front rank of American music. His music has defined jazz for three different generations of listeners.

John Coltrane was a key figure in jazz history, a pioneer in world music, and an intensely emotional force. The immense force of Coltrane's music has inspired poetry, sculpture, and modern dance.

We will view clips from several different videos that include concert footage and interviews with Miles Davis and the musicians with whom he worked. We will also listen to selections from many CDs recorded over his lifetime. These include: Bop recordings from his early period with Charlie Parker in the 1940s; his Birth of the Cool sessions of 1949 and 1950; his recordings with the Classic Miles Davis Quintet including John Coltrane of the 1950s; his collaborations with Gil Evans; his 1959 best-loved and historically pivotal Kind of Blue recording, also with John Coltrane; his Great 1960s Quintet with Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Ron Carter, and Wayne Shorter; and the post-1968 experiments, which displayed a blend of the jazz tradition, funk music, and the music of India and South America. The music of John Coltrane will focus on the Classic Quartet of the 1960s with McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, and Jimmy Garrison, as well as his influential Giant Steps recording.

Steven Snyder

380D: 21CM Tps:Jazz Theory