Singing School: Sacred Choral Traditions in the Berkshires and Beyond
Last Offered Winter 2009

Cross-listed ENGL 11 / MUS 11 / AMST 11
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

This performance-oriented class will explore the history of popular sacred music in the United States, with a special emphasis on music that might have been sung in New England from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. We will begin with Protestant hymns by early New England ┬┐singing masters┬┐ (Billings, Ingals, West); in this first part of the course we will also explore Shaker and gospel/revivalist Protestant music of the early nineteenth century. As we move forward in time our attention will broaden to other religious singing traditions that evolved from these and/or that came into New England with new populations of people: what we pursue will partly depend on the particular interest and expertise of members of the class. Our premise will be that this music is a valuable route to understanding the complex religious and social cultures of New England. Outside of class, we will do some reading about U.S. religious movements and music history; we will also “readi” old hymnals and listen to old recordings, in part with an eye to selecting particular pieces for interpretation and performance. Class time will be mainly devoted to singing. The class will culminate with a concert, to be held at a local site where some of these hymns were once sung.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 2004
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: students will meet 8-9 hours a week (3 discussions/rehearsals); during the last week, preparing for the concert, there may be longer rehearsals; 1 or 2 group projects; either an oral report or interpretation of 1 hymn; or work-up of a choral piece
Extra Info: meetings will be afternoons
Prerequisites: singers, conductors and instrumentalists are welcome, as well as those without much singing experience
Enrollment Preferences: none
Materials/Lab Fee: approximately $30
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENGL 11 MUS 11 AMST 11

Class Grid

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