Spring 2017 Graduate Courses


Collegium Musicum - MUSIC-GA 1002 (2 credits)

Friday  3:00-5:00 (Silver 220) * Time is used as placeholder
Instructor: Margaret Panofsky

Students receive weekly private viol lessons, the time arranged with the professor. When proficient, they play in a viol ensemble. The FAS Department lends students a viol and bow from its collection. Qualified students may play with The Teares of the Muses, an ensemble affiliated with the NYU Music Department. The group performs on- and off-campus. Requirements to enroll in the course are previous vocal or instrumental training on any instrument - not limited to strings - and good musicianship skills.

*Please note that the class will not actually take place within a structured course time, as listed here. You will set up appointments for lessons with the professor.

Techniques of Music Composition - MUSIC-GA 2162
Tuesday  Time:TBA (Waverly 268)
Instructor: Elizabeth Hoffman (section 001)
Instructor: Eric Lyon (section 002)

* Contact the instructor directly for lesson schedules 

Students meet individually with a selected faculty member frequently throughout the semester, to review and discuss their ongoing creative work. All students enrolled in this course must also participate a bi-weekly seminar, led by rotating faculty, that will encompass discussions of technical, aesthetic, and theoretical issues related to 20th/21st century composition. These seminars may also include talks or masterclasses by guests actively involved in the creation or performance of music.

Special Studies: Marked Music - MUSIC-GA 2198 (section 001)
Wednesday  2:00-4:00 (Waverly 268)
Michael Beckerman
In many fields and areas of investigation critics distinguish between a normal practice and things that connote difference in various ways. In language it might be between a common mode and an unusual one. In these cases the standard, generic or universal is known as "unmarked" and the exceptional as "marked." In certain fields this distinction is simply a matter of classification, in others it is highly politicized with the "unmarked" as unequivocal designation of marginality. This seminar looks broadly at marked music ranging from Turkish, Asian and Jewish characters in Baroque opera to the musical depiction of homosexuality in film, and from Gypsiness as a metaphor for sexuality, to the solar system of 19th century music that featured German music in the center as unmarked and everything else (Russian, Hungarian, Czech, English, etc.) as marked. These concepts will also be explored in the context of jazz, popular music and examples from world music. Readings will be drawn from linguistics, cultural and critical theory, and semiotics, and of course lots of fun with sounds and scores. Projects may involve research projects, essays in various forms, and musical compositions.

Special Studies: Contemporary Orchestration - MUSIC-GA 2198 (section 002)
Thursday  10:30-12:30 (Waverly 268)
Instructor: Louis Karchin
How do composers today create variety and color using large instrumental and vocal forces in different idioms and mediums? This course will examine selected scores of the late 20th and 21st centuries focusing on instrumental balance, textural variety, acoustics and idiomatic compositional techniques. Composers to be studied will include acknowledgement past masters, such as Henri Dutilleux and Gyorgy Ligeti, and works of prominent present-day figures: Kaija Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg, and others. Compositions by younger composers, such as Marc Andre Dalbavie's Color, and Die Fujikura's Recorder Concertro will address challenges of balance and nuance. The course will be open with a survey of some classic orchestrational techniques in large-scale works of Mahler, Strauss, and Ravel that were subsequently transformed by contemporary figures.

Special Studies - Sounds of Citizenship and Empire - MUSIC-GA 2198 (section 003)
Thursday  2:00-4:00 (Waverly 268)
Instructor: Brigid Cohen
This course uses citizenship and empire as concepts through which to interpret histories of music and sound from the 19th century to the present. We will explore multiple framings of these terms, both contemporary and historical. Much of our discussion will focus on European high imperialism and United States neo-imperialism, though it will not be limited to those settings. The course will begin with a close discussion of Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arendt's thought and branch outward to more recent theoretical interventions, bringing them into dialogue them into dialogue them into dialogue with music and sound studies. We will also concern ourselves with specific musical works, practices, and pedagogies associated with imperial histories.

Special Studies: Sound, Spirituality, and Secular Critique - MUSIC-GA 2199 (section 001)
Tuesday  2:00-4:00 (Waverly 268)
Instructor: Christine Dang
This course explores the way in which the idea, materiality, and viscerality of sound is implicated in spiritual experience; it also probes the disciplinary methods and assumptions through which secularly-oriented scholarship attempts to understand the relationship between the sonorous and the spiritual. We will consider the centrality of sound in expressing spirituality across diverse cultural and historical geographies. In our musical travels, we will meander from medieval soundscapes saturated by bells to nineteenth century romantic opera, from contemporary Christian and Islamic hymns to traditional listening practices of indigenous cosmologies, from commercial rap and EDM to the acoustics of the New Age. Drawing from Western and non-Western thought, we will also read works that probe the role of sound in imagining the sacred and the profrane, in defining human consciousness and ethics within a wider cosmos, and in linking the social, political, and religious forms of life that characterize modernity. Our topics will cover voice and song in world religions; the spiritual dimensions of popular music; the aesthetics of secularism and transcendentalism; and the cultural politics of religious belonging. Our texts will refer to anthropology, philosophy, theology, music and sound studies, and may include works by Mircea Eliade, Charles Taylor, Talal Asad, Charles Hirschkind, Ana Maria Ochoa Gautier, Gary Tomlinson, Emma Dillon, Al Ghazzali, and Baruch Spinoza.

Special Studies: Space and Place in Sound and Music Studies - MUSIC-GA 2199 (section 002)
Wednesday 10:30-12:30 (Waverly 268)
Instructor: Andrew Eisenberg
Sound and space are intimately and inextricably linked--perhaps especially when that sound is of the special sort we call "music." In this seminar we will chart a path through the eclectic, multidisciplinary literature on sound and space, by isolating key spatialities that have been explored by scholars in relation to sound and music, such as the virtual, ecology, place, and circulation. We will give special emphasis to place, delving deeply into issues of music and emplacement and what Steven Feld has termed the "acoustemology of place." Course assignments will challenge you to engage with theoretical concepts at various levels of abstraction. You will be asked to grapple with philosophical questions of sound, music, space, and place on their own terms, and then to connect these questions to more worldly concerns like climate change, gun violence, or the plight of refugees.