MUS 402 Spring 2015 Senior Seminar in Music: Timbre

This seminar, the culminating course in the major, will focus on musical timbre. Timbre is central to the experience of all music and often enables us to identify styles and cultures nearly instantaneously. However, timbre is not commonly discussed in detail since our technical vocabulary for describing this musical element has been comparatively limited. Our work in this seminar will involve readings in music theory and history, ethnomusicology, and cognitive studies as well as in the emerging field of sound studies as we attempt to define timbre, explore its manifestations in a wide variety of music, and develop an analytical approach and descriptive vocabulary tooled specifically to this musical element. We will consider how composers and performers of both art and popular musics have wielded timbre as an expressive device and how technology may allow us to analyze details of timbral performance and perception. We will investigate the relationship between timbre and orchestration, from the rise of Haydn's orchestra to the Klangfarbenmelodie of Schoenberg. We will consider extremes of timbral distortion in both vocal and electric guitar effects in rock music as well in such traditions as Korean p'ansori and will explore various forms of speech music and the work of composers of spectral music to expand our case studies. Finally, our own experiments with timbral effects will bring our seminar to bear on our musical performance.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on papers, presentations, and class participation
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the Gaudino option
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: MUS 202, 231, 232, 233 and permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preference: senior Music majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
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Enrollment Limit: 7
Expected Enrollment: 7
Class Number: 3840
MUS 402 - 01 (S) SEM Senior Seminar in Music:Timbre Division 1: Languages and the Arts W. Anthony Sheppard
W 1:10 PM-3:50 PM Chapin Boardroom 3840
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