Music Department


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Courses of Study

MU091fjs    Music Lessons: Noncredit or JP Noncredit instruction in voice and instruments for qualified students. Regular offerings include violin, viola, violoncello, piano, voice, flute, guitar (classical, American traditional, and jazz), and selected brass and woodwind instruments. One 30- or 60-minute lesson weekly in fall and spring; two 45-minute lessons weekly in January. For an application (required) and additional information concerning fees and scheduling, see the Music Department secretary. Noncredit. Faculty
MU093fs    Applied Music: Ensemble, Noncredit Noncredit participation in musical ensembles sponsored by the Music Department. See description for Music 193. Noncredit. Faculty
MU111f    Introduction to Music An exploration and celebration of the art of listening. Develops techniques and vocabulary for critical listening, emphasizing student listening to a range of musical works in a variety of styles. Surveys the history of Western art music from the Middle Ages to the present, emphasizing the relationship between music as a historical and cultural artifact and as an object of aesthetic delight. Special attention to the structure of musical works, their place in Western culture and history, and the ways in which sounding music reflects the beliefs and values of those who made (and make) it. No previous musical experience is assumed. Four credit hours. A. Giles
MU114j    Jazz Improvisation Basic jazz theory and improvisation, including melody-, scalar-, modal-, and chord-based improvisation. Introduction to arranging for jazz groups and interactions between soloists and background musicians; jazz style and performance practices. Includes semiprivate instruction and performances in large groups and smaller combos. Listening assignments include jazz greats. Instrumentalists and vocalists welcome. Prerequisite: Ability to sing or play major scales. Three credit hours. A. Thomas
[MU116]    Introduction to the MIDI Studio Students will learn basic Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) and digital audio techniques primarily using the Ableton Live software program in the Colby electronic music studio. Topics include sequencing, synthesis, sampling, and audio processing. We will listen to classics of electronic music as well as current works. Each week students will create a piece of electronic music that will be played for the entire class. Final compositions will be played for an audience. Prerequisite: Knowledge of basic musical concepts such as pitch, rhythm, and time signature is assumed. Three credit hours. A.
MU118j    African Music An introduction to the music of Africa, an integral and defining aspect of the culture of Africa. Hands-on experience with various instruments (e.g., drums, rattles, bells), as well as singing and dancing, to provide important insights into the cultures of Africa. Various African music themes will be explored through films and recordings. Culminates in a final performance by the class. Nongraded. Three credit hours. A. Benissan
MU120f    Exploring Music and Gender Explores the rich intersection between music and gender, providing students with an introduction to seminal topics in the field. Students will hone their listening skills and develop the necessary vocabulary with which to analyze, discuss, and write intelligently about music. They will explore a range of scholarly approaches to analyzing music and gender and learn to write essays of varying lengths and styles. Students will also be walked through the steps of writing a research paper, from navigating online resources to crafting solid arguments, writing persuasively, and organizing a coherent essay. Four credit hours. A, W1. Zelensky
MU121j    Entartete (Degenerate) Musik "Degenerate Music" was the term Nazis applied to any music influenced by jazz, the avant-garde, or written by composers of Jewish descent. This music was banned, its composers driven into exile and/or murdered in concentration camps, creating a lost generation that altered the direction of 20th-century musical development. Now there is a worldwide effort to find a historical place for these artists, and this course contributes to that effort. Topics include German anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic thought in works of Wagner, Nazi racial laws targeting Jewish musicians, official agencies and cultural policies, performers and composers as victims and survivors. Three credit hours. A, I. Silver
[MU152]    Israeli Pop Music Listed as Religious Studies 152. Three credit hours. A.
MU153f    Introduction to Music Theory through Composition An introduction to the fundamental elements of music theory through analysis and composition. Students will learn to compose pieces in a variety of styles by effectively manipulating rhythm, intervals, scales and keys, melody, harmony, and form. Primarily for students without extensive musical training. May be taken as preparation for Music 181. Students cannot receive credit for both this course and Music 154. Four credit hours. A. Hallstrom
[MU154]    Introduction to Music Theory through Improvisation An introduction to the fundamental elements of music theory through improvisation. Students will learn about rhythm, intervals, scales, keys, melody, and harmony and how to use them in jazz improvisation. While designed for students without extensive musical training, does require basic music reading skills. May be taken as preparation for Music 181. Credit cannot be earned for both this course and Music 153. Prerequisite: Ability to read music. Four credit hours. A.
[MU172]    Music and Gender Can musical sounds be gendered? What is the relationship between sound, sex, and the body? What elements of a musical performance—pitch, timbre, lyrics, instruments, staging, audience reaction—can inform, reflect, or construct modes of gender, and how, in turn, can this space be used as a subversive realm? How do these constructions vary across time and cultures? Exploring such questions through the lens of Western classical, pop, and world musics provides students with a starting point for considering the rich and often contested intersection between music and gender. Four credit hours. A.
MU181f    Music Theory I The first course in a sequence exploring the language of music. Just as learning a foreign language involves mastering a variety of skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), becoming conversant in music requires the ability to hear, notate, analyze, compose, and perform. Assures that students are fluent in the elements and structure of music, including intervals, scales, triads, seventh chords, species counterpoint, all diatonic harmonies, four-part and keyboard-style writing. Introduction to composing in a variety of styles and to ear training and sight singing. Primarily for students with some prior musical training (see also Music 153 and 154). Four credit hours. A. Hallstrom, Nuss
MU182s    Music Theory II A continuation of Music Theory I that further refines students' command of diatonic harmony and counterpoint and introduces modulation and other important aspects of chromatic harmony. Includes regular work in ear training, studies of musical form, and several composition projects. Primarily for music majors and others with prior training in music. Prerequisite: Music 181. Four credit hours. Nuss
MU191fjs    Music Lessons: Credit Instruction in voice and instruments for qualified students. Regular offerings include violin, viola, violoncello, piano, voice, flute, guitar (classical, American traditional, and jazz), selected brass and woodwind instruments, and African drums. The student's performance in the course will be evaluated by faculty jury at the end of the semester. For additional information concerning fees, scheduling, and related matters, see the Music Department secretary. May be repeated for additional credit. Prerequisite: Music 153, 154, or 181 (may be taken concurrently). One or two credit hours. Faculty
MU193fs    Applied Music: Ensemble for Credit Credit for participation in musical ensembles sponsored by the Music Department. In addition to the large ensembles listed below, the department frequently offers a flute choir, a guitar ensemble, a trumpet choir, a string ensemble (master class), and small chamber music groups. Interested students should consult the department for additional information before registering. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Music 153, 154, or 181 for graded credit (may be taken concurrently). One credit hour.

African Drumming. Performance of music from various African cultures, with hands-on experience with various instruments, including drums, rattles, and bells, and exposure to several traditions of African singing and dancing. The group presents concerts on campus and throughout the state of Maine. BENISSAN

Chamber Choir. A contemporary vocal ensemble of 10-16 singers whose repertoire includes both unaccompanied works by 20th- and 21st-century composers and chamber works for voices and instruments. Performs several times per year. Tours and concert exchanges are arranged on an annual basis. Enrollment is confirmed through an audition process at the beginning of each semester.

Chorale. Colby's largest choral ensemble, its repertoire includes unaccompanied works of the 18th through 20th centuries by European and American composers as well as major works for chorus and orchestra. Enrollment is confirmed through an audition process at the beginning of each semester.

Collegium Musicum. An early music consort comprised of Consort Singers, a vocal ensemble of 12-16 male and female voices, and Consort Players, an instrumental ensemble of strings, winds, and keyboard instruments. Specializes in music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque style periods. Enrollment is confirmed through an audition process at the beginning of each semester.

Jazz Band. Presents a standard big band setup, performing swing, Latin jazz, funk, soul, R & B, and bebop styles for concert, tour, and college functions. Brass, wind, and percussion players by audition. THOMAS

Orchestra. A symphony orchestra composed of students, local amateurs, and professionals. Performs four concerts per year of works spanning the entire range of major symphonic literature. Noncompetitive auditions are held at the beginning of each semester.

Wind Ensemble. Each semester the ensemble presents a concert of works drawn from standard literature, symphonic works, movie music, marches, etc. Open to all interested brass, wind, and percussion players without audition. THOMAS One credit hour. Faculty

MU213s    Introduction to Computer Music Can music be expressed in quantifiable terms and still retain the non-quantifiable magic that affects us in such powerful ways? We attempt to answer this question by examining the ways composers of computer music have used synthesis techniques, top-down design, algorithmic music generation, and real-time interactivity to create musically meaningful output. Students learn how to describe musical processes as algorithms and to use those algorithms to assist in creating their own compositions. Composition and sound design are explored using the graphical music programming language Max and other audio manipulation and sequencing applications. Four credit hours. A. Hallstrom
[MU222]    Maine's Musical Soundscapes: Ethnography of Maine What are the musical cultures outside of Colby and what are the communities making this music? We will engage this question through direct interaction and observation of Maine's ethnic and racial communities. Students will learn ethnographic field methods and take field trips to conduct interviews at sites that make up the rich tapestry of Maine's soundscape, including Waterville establishments and Penobscot, Lebanese, Somali, Russian, and French-Canadian communities (the group under study will rotate on a yearly basis). Students will present their findings in the form of a documentary film. Four credit hours. A.
MU234s    From Rockabilly Kings to Lady Gaga: A History of Rock 'n' Roll A survey of rock music, from its roots in country and blues to the postmodern eclecticism of Lady Gaga. Rock music will be considered in relation to race, sex, gender, drugs, technology, marketing, and politics to better understand its powerful position in constructing, challenging, and reinforcing various positions of identity. Students will learn to discuss the musical characteristics of a work, identify its genre and era of composition, and contextualize it within a broader framework of American culture and politics. Four credit hours. A. Zelensky
MU241f    Music History I: Middle Ages to the Early Baroque Period An exploration of Western art music from c. 800 to c. 1700, including principal genres from the Middle Ages (chant, organum, motet, chanson), Renaissance (mass, motet, madrigal), and the 17th century (opera, instrumental music). Focuses on compositional concepts and processes, historical music theories, institutional patronage, and the connections between music and such areas as theology, philosophy, and the visual arts. Students develop analytical and writing skills through listening, writing, and analysis. Prerequisite: Music 111 and 181. Four credit hours. Giles
MU242s    Music History II: High Baroque to the Dawn of Romanticism Focuses on music of the High Baroque, Classical, and early Romantic periods, including works of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, and Schumann. Students develop critical, analytical, and listening tools for dealing with these repertoires and hone their bibliographic, oral, and written skills. Theoretical issues include the relationship between musical structure and cultural context, music's relationship to literature and the visual arts, tonality, music and drama, and aesthetics. Prerequisite: Music 111 and 181. Four credit hours. Giles
MU252f    Introduction to World Music Examines a range of classical, traditional, and contemporary musics from areas as diverse as India, West Africa, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Each unit engages a broader sociocultural issue to enable students to think more deeply and critically about music, with students exploring such topics as music and Apartheid, the Arab Spring, and the appropriation of "world" music by Western musicians. Students perform music in class, including the basics of West African drumming patterns, salsa dance steps, and singing Bulgarian folk songs. A number of guests will perform. No prior musical experience necessary. Open to first-year students. Four credit hours. A, I. Zelensky
[MU254]    Music of Meditation Study of music, ritual, and meditation in Rinzai Zen Buddhism, monastic Roman Catholicism, and Hinduism. Attention to ways communication and apprehension of sacred texts are affected by unique musical and meditative practices and ritual forms. Units include (1) discussion of writings by Japanese, Indian, and Western philosophers, musicians, and theorists of language; (2) instruction in the three forms of ritual choreography and meditation techniques; (3) chant instruction and performance. Each unit concludes with a required public group performance scheduled outside regular class time. Willingness to engage in original research and participate in group chanting and meditation/contemplation exercises is essential. Four credit hours. A.
MU262s    Music in Life, Music as Culture: Introduction to Ethnomusicology Provides students with a theoretical and methodological introduction to ethnomusicology, a discipline that is rooted in exploring music not merely as an aesthetic object, but as a cultural force that reflects and shapes our everyday lives. Topics include music and medicine, migration, war, ethnicity, sexuality, and spirituality. Topics will be explored through a close reading of seminal texts and an examination of relevant theory. Students will also learn the fundamentals of conducting ethnographic fieldwork through attending a religious ceremony, attending a concert, and scrutinizing the soundscapes of Colby's campus. Four credit hours. A, I. Zelensky
MU275s    Cultured Tough Guys: Samurai Devotion, Music, Poetry, and Art Generally known as the warrior class of medieval and early modern Japan, the samurai have a long history in the Western imagination. Famous Japanese warrior movies of the 1950s and 60s, more modern images of crafty ninjas, and characterizations in Western media most often present the samurai as one-dimensional automatons ready to fight and die at a moment's notice for their superior's cause. Experiential learning activities (including Zen chanting and meditation), historical readings, music performances, recordings, and films present a more refined view of the samurai that highlights their elegant contributions to every aspect of the visual, literary, and musical arts of Japan. Four credit hours. A, I. Nuss
MU281f    Music Theory III A continuation of Music Theory II, covering advanced chromatic harmony and modulatory techniques, counterpoint, and tonal analysis. Analytical work on passages from chamber, orchestral, piano, and operatic works by Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and others will serve as a guide for composition projects in which students demonstrate their ability to write music containing idiomatic and extended examples of advanced chromaticism. Prerequisite: Music 182. Four credit hours. Nuss
MU282s    Music Theory IV Post-tonal harmony and contemporary analytical techniques. Primarily for music majors. Prerequisite: Music 281. Four credit hours. Hallstrom
MU297Jj    Seeing, Then Hearing: Graphic Design for the Music Industry While it may seem counterintuitive, visual attraction is a central concern in the business of music. Getting music to the attention of the widest possible audience demands an increasingly refined, international visual fluency. We will look at and listen to well-known releases with an eye to the differences in the visual publicity and packaging in the European, Asian, and American markets for albums by Katy Perry, the Rolling Stones, Kanye West, and Kiss. Students will use readings in world and art history, ethnomusicology, and cultural theory, and hands-on work with Adobe Photoshop to formulate and debate answers to a number of complex multicultural design problems. Three credit hours. A. Jee
[MU298]    A Cappella Music from the Middle Ages to Colby College 2017 A cappella vocal music has a long and influential cultural history from the time of the earliest musical notations to the creative activities of ensembles at Colby College today. The study of one of the most versatile and adaptable forms of music making can help us to understand the musical manifestations of gender roles, racial and ethnic diversity, and cultural determinism embedded in its compositional styles and vocal techniques. In addition to a wide variety of assigned reading and writing projects, the class will involve active listening and singing experiences for students at all levels of musical talent and interest. Four credit hours. A.
MU341f    Music History III: Music of the 19th and 20th Centuries An overview of 19th- and 20th-century music with a focus on the evolution of musical styles and the manner in which they have been impacted by concurrent artistic, cultural, and political events. Students will acquire a fundamental knowledge of those composers considered to have had a significant impact on music from the late 19th century to the present and their position within the larger sociocultural milieu. Prerequisite: Music 111 and 182. Four credit hours. Hallstrom
[MU483]    Honors Research I Substantial original research or completion of a major creative project under faculty supervision, culminating in a written paper and/or a public presentation. Prerequisite: 3.25 overall grade point average, 3.5 major average at the end of the junior year, and permission of the department. Three credit hours.
MU491f, 492s    Independent Study Individual topics in areas where the student has demonstrated the interest and competence necessary for independent work. Primarily for senior music majors. Prerequisite: Permission of the department. One to four credit hours. Faculty
MU493s    Seminar: Sounds of Maine Explores Maine's musical cultures through the methodologies and theories of ethnomusicology. Topics include Maine's migration history, ethnographic writing, the problems and praxis of musical transcription, interviewing, and the ethics of fieldwork. Students will conduct an in-depth ethnographic study of a local music scene. One of the primary questions considered is how our work in the academy can extend to the communities we study. Indeed, the notion of ethnography as activism will be a central point of scrutiny in theory and in practice. Discussion-based seminars with fieldtrips to concerts and specific sites of research. Prerequisite: Music 252 or 262, and senior standing. Four credit hours. Zelensky