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Music Course Descriptions


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MU091fjs    Lessons: Noncredit (or January Program)      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
MU111s    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.    SAUNDERS
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
MU116j    Introduction to Electronic Music      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.    DE KLERK
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.     Three credit hours.  A.    BENISSAN
MU120s    Popular Music Criticism      This first-year writing course explores the styles and genres of current popular music. Students will develop listening skills and, through readings in current (pop) music criticism, learn to write effectively and persuasively about music.     Four credit hours.  A,W1.    BORGERDING
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
MU153f    Introduction to Music Theory      An introductory survey of the main aspects of music theory and practice, including rhythm, intervals, scales and keys, melody, harmony, and form. Some music reading, creative writing, and analytical studies in various styles and periods are included. Primarily for students without extensive musical training; may be taken as preparation for Music 181.     Four credit hours.  A.    LEARY
MU157s    Music in the Digital Age      Examines trends and techniques in digital music composition from 1983 to the present with an emphasis on avant-garde works involving interactive multimedia. Students will learn to critically assess a wide range of music that integrates digital technology and to analyze it based on its structure as distinct from its representational meaning. Hands-on compositional exercises will introduce students to software tools for manipulating sounds and images, creating interactive multimedia performances. Culminates in a group project that will synthesize work in all three components of the cluster.     Four credit hours.  A.    LEARY
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, and seventh chords. Central attention to species counterpoint, all diatonic harmonies, and four-part 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).     Four credit hours.  A.    BORGERDING, SAUNDERS
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, composition, and keyboard harmony. Primarily for music majors and others with prior training in music. Prerequisite:  Music 181.     Four credit hours.    NUSS
MU191fs    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 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 contemporary music ensemble, 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 or 181 for graded credit (may be taken concurrently) and permission of the department. 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

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. Tours and exchange concerts are arranged. Enrollment, open to all students, is through auditions early in the fall semester. DOSMAN

Collegium Musicum. Early music ensembles, performing music from before 1750. Groups include the Collegium Chamber Singers (a small choir of about 16 performers) and the Collegium Chamber Players (an instrumental ensemble). Instrumentalists (strings and winds) should contact instructor; enrollment for singers is through auditions early in the fall semester. BORGERDING

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. FACULTY

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
MU234fs    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.    BORGERDING
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.    SAUNDERS
MU252f    Introduction to World Music      While nearly every society in the world has music as an important part of life, its meaning varies widely. We will examine some of the ways music is integrated in different societies in the world, focusing on a variety of musical traditions in Asia, Africa, the Near East, and the Americas. Units cover religious ritual, art music, theater and poetry, and festival. Traditions covered include santeria, north Indian classical music, Russian folk music, gagaku, Brazilian capoeira, samba, Native American pow-wow, 'oud art music, and many more.     Four credit hours.  A, I.    ZELENSKY
MU254f    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.    NUSS
[MU255]    Zen Theater: Acting, Dancing, Singing Japanese Noh      Noh, the quintessential Japanese performing art, is a combination of acting, music, and dance whose roots lie in the ritual and philosophy of Zen Buddhism. An examination of historical connections between Zen and Noh using group and individual instruction and careful study and analysis of recorded Noh plays to reach a basic level of performance ability in at least one aspect of Noh. Students will also compose a score for a class performance of an original version of Aoi no Uei, the Japanese classic tale of love, ghosts, and betrayal.     Four credit hours.  A.  
[MU258]    The Politics and Poetics of Music and Dance of Eastern Europe      A historical, cultural, and practical exploration of traditional music and dance of various regions of Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Albania, Russia, Greece, and Georgia. Students will learn basic techniques of folk singing, dancing, and instrument playing of these regions and will examine the use of Eastern European folk music in Western art music and its role in broader political sociocultural realms, including gender relations, ethnic and religious identity, and Socialist/post-Socialist politics.     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 war (focusing on musical responses to 9/11 and the use of music as weapon), medicine, migration, trance, sexuality, and marketing. Topics will be explored through a close reading of seminal texts and an examination of relevant theory. Students will also learn how to conduct ethnographic fieldwork, with several field trips, including one to Indian Island for a first-hand account of music-making practices among the Penobscot peoples today.     Four credit hours.  A.    ZELENSKY
[MU267]    Contact Zone      In her influential critical work Imperial Eyes, Mary Louise Pratt introduces the concept of "contact zone"—a site of interchange and tension among language, history, tradition, and authority that characterizes colonial and postcolonial cultures. This class examines the ways in which the Gandhi Ashram in Kalimpong, India paradoxically uses Western classical music and other elements from India's colonial legacy as the means to overturn long-held social and cultural prejudices that are an everyday part of the lives of their economically disadvantaged and low caste students. Colby students serve as general subject teachers at the ashram and use their experiences to reflect on the ethical, cultural, and political implications of the school's unique, music-centered educational approach as one unique Indian way of dealing with basic issues of human rights. Estimated cost: $2,800.     Three credit hours.  A, I.  
MU281f    Music Theory III      Analytical studies of advanced chromatic harmony and modulatory techniques in major works of the 19th century using composition assignments "in the style of" representative composers of the middle and late Romantic periods, analytical essays, and keyboard harmony and ear training assignments. An introduction to neo-Riemannian theory (triadic post-tonality) with applications to selected works of Brahms, Liszt, and Wagner. Students will learn to illustrate the logic of complex chromatic passages, explain their analyses in clear, discipline-specific prose, translate analytical thinking to actual composition, demonstrate advanced chromatic techniques at the keyboard, and develop a solid aural grasp of chromatic idioms. 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.    NUSS
MU297j    From Hair to Nu Metal: A History of Heavy Metal in All Its Glory     A history of heavy metal music from its origins in 1960s blues and psychedelic rock to its most recent iteration as Nu metal. Heavy metal is a dynamic and diverse genre, including sub-genres such as thrash, speed, death, grunge, glam, math, and hair. Students will think, listen, and write critically about popular music, explore the musicological discourse on popular music/heavy metal, and investigate the sociological dynamics of subculture and its significance to the heavy metal scene.     Two credit hours.    LEARY
MU298s    Art of Songwriting: Experiencing and Writing Popular Music      Explores the art and history of Western popular music with an emphasis on writing and expanding our knowledge through critical analysis. Designed to give listeners and songwriters new directions for thinking and writing popular music. We will look at many styles of popular music from Stephen Foster to the Beatles, Metallica, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Linkin Park, Eminem, Skrillex, and more, as it relates to understanding popular forms and mediums and informs our own songwriting. While this course emphasizes music from 1990 to the present, we will look at examples of music spanning back into the 1960s. Prerequisite:  Music 153 or 181.     Four credit hours.  A.    LEARY
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. Achievement of learning goals will be assessed based on performance on a midterm examination, an oral presentation (for which current presentation technology and methodology must be used), and a final research paper. Prerequisite:  Music 111 and 182.     Four credit hours.    LEARY
[MU374]    Conducting and Score Reading      Basic conducting techniques and their application to stylistic interpretation, designed to develop the student's ability to read, rehearse, and perform a full instrumental or choral score with fluency and insight. Analysis and preparation of scores from different eras in music history, involving basic principles of score reduction for keyboard rendition. Prerequisite:  Music 281.     Four credit hours.  
MU483f, 484s    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.    FACULTY
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
MU493f    Seminar: Philosophy and Aesthetics of Music      An extended reflection on two deceptively simple questions: what is music and why is it significant? Philosophical, musicological, psychological, sociological, and critical approaches to questions on topics such as: expression (In what sense can music have meaning?); representation (Can music represent objects, emotions, or ideas in the material world?); ontology (What is a piece of music or a musical "work"? Can it exist apart from notation or performance?); and aesthetic value (What makes a work great or banal?). Examines traditional positions in aesthetics along with recent challenges to traditional views posed from feminist, post-structuralist, and other critical perspectives. Prerequisite:  Music 282.     Four credit hours.    SAUNDERS
[MU494]    Seminar: Theories of Heinrich Schenker      An exploration of one of the most elegant and influential theories of tonal music, the ideas of the Austrian theorist Heinrich Schenker. Topics include Schenker's writings on harmony and counterpoint, his development of the controversial idea of the Ursatz or fundamental structure, analytical and graphing techniques, and recent extensions and critiques of Schenkerian theory. Prerequisite:  Senior standing as a music major or minor.     Four credit hours.