MUS 254
Bebop: The (R)evolution of Modern Jazz Spring 2023
Division I
Cross-listed AFR 254
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

In the 1940s, Jazz turned a corner, transitioning from the functional and popular music of the swing era to the increasingly complex art music known as bebop. The practitioners of this new sub-genre were seen not as showmen or entertainers, but (in the words of poet Ralph Ellison) as “frozen faced introverts, dedicated to chaos.” This music was simultaneously old and new, a musical evolution interpreted through the lens of cultural revolution. This class will survey the lives, music and continuing impact of bebop’s most pivotal figures: Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell and Kenny Clarke among many others. Through score study, guided listening and performance, the class will examine the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic innovations associated with this pivotal era in jazz history. We will evaluate, compare and contrast examples of contemporary theoretical scholarship concerning this musical vocabulary and it’s evolution. Intersections between the music and parallel artistic, social and political movements will also be addressed.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 10
Class#: 3856
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly reading, listening, musical memorization and performance. Short written responses to discussion prompts and participation in class discussion; quizzes on assigned readings and listening, and final exam
Prerequisites: MUS 104b or permission of instructor, instrumental or vocal proficiency.
Enrollment Preferences: Music majors, Jazz Ensemble members, Africana Studies concentrators
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
MUS 254 Division I AFR 254 Division II
Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives

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