Introduction to Music is a broad survey course designed to help learners grow measurably as active music listeners. The class covers the evolution of music using a chronological cross disciplinary approach. The curriculum is designed to usher the students through the major developments in music history by connecting great works with compelling narratives and historical context. More importantly, the students will have ample opportunity to engage with and respond honestly to the works themselves through frequent interactive listening experiences and response activities. The curriculum takes a cumulative approach to outfitting the student with the growing vocabulary and technical understanding they need to speak and write accurately and intelligently about their experiences with the music being studied.
Each of the major practice periods and their innovators are discussed, with particular emphasis on the broader cultural, political and artistic contexts that shape and inform the broad trends of each period. A few major figures will be selected for more in depth coverage.
Completion of the curriculum will enable students to distinguish formal and stylistic elements, to hear melody, harmony, rhythm, color and texture with greater detail, and to cultivate the increased attention that will allow them to hear relationships over larger scale works.
Students will cultivate opinions and develop the vocabulary they need to explicate and defend those opinions persuasively.
Students will demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the variety that is currently condensed under the label ‘classical’. They will begin to recognize the characteristics of the practice periods and the topical/genre divisions that exist within those periods.
Students will gain a greater appreciation for the challenges of composition by manipulating musical materials in creative challenges
1a. Course Introduction- Discussion of fundamental assumptions. Preparation for the course approach.
1b. Music Fundamentals- Covers Sound, Rhythm, Melody, Harmony, Instrumentation, Form and the basics of notation
2. Ancient to Medieval
3. Music of the Renaissance
4. Early Baroque- Begins in Italy and follows the innovations of the Baroque period as they filter through Europe, ending back in Italy with Vivaldi.
5. Late (High) Baroque- Affords a more in depth look at the contrasts and similarities of the 2 greatest baroque composers, Bach and Handel
6. Classical- Covers Rococo/Galant transitions, development of sonata/symphonic form with particular emphasis on Haydn and Mozart. Discussion of classical aesthetics as they relate to the Enlightenment.
7. Ludwig van Beethoven- In depth look at Beethoven’s career, innovations, environment and personal life/challenges that challenges the students to listen with a greater sense of context.
8. Early Romantic- Covers the transitions to romanticism with particular emphasis on the more conservative ‘classical’ romantics- Schubert, Mendelssohn, the Schumanns, Brahms
9. Romantic- Covers the radical romantics as well as the increasingly eclectic trends of romanticism (virtuosity, program music, nationalism, extending tonality, expansion of the orchestra).
10. Opera- Covers the development and national trends in Opera from Bel Canto through Verismo and Wagner.
11. Impressionism, Expressionism and Le Sacre- Covers the increasingly experimental development of music into the turn of the century
12. Jazz and Soviet Realism: Patriotism and protest- 2 part module
13. Modern eclecticism- Covers the increasing fragmentation of art music into various ‘-isms’. Considers Copland, Bernstein, Cage, Crumb, Glass, and Adams.
14. Rock and Roll and its progeny- Covers the inception and proliferation of modern pop genres
15. Other sounds- World music