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Topics in Music (Spring Semester).

Special topics in music history, theory, creativity, or technology. Topics vary from year to year, but typically emphasize a particular musical area, theoretical issue, genre, repertory, creative/compositional technique, or instrument. Courses may be offered as half-block or regular-block offering.

.5 or 1 unit — Ben-Amots, Carrizo, Doktor, Ekberg, Grace, Ragan, Sponchiado, Sweum

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Students will work on a series of creative projects. Their work will be informed by an introduction to the fundamental theoretical context (acoustics, digital and analog sound, MIDI), as well as analytical listening and discussion. Topics include digital audio sampling/editing, signal processing, and basic synthesis techniques.

This course has been specifically designed to be taught online. It will be instructed through a combination of written and video materials, live online discussions, creative and analytical exercises and projects, and online small group sessions for feedback and questions. While instruction will be online, the course is open to any student, whether on or off-campus.
Building on the idea of music, performance, and culinary practice as forms of “living history,” this course is dedicated to understanding and uncovering our personal and familial “songbooks of migration.” We will attempt to answer: what does the story of your life look like, if told from the perspective of music and song?

Photo licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 from Flickr user Alison Hurt

We will study transnational music and migration, the politics of borderlands and sonic boundaries, and how music moves between and across communities that have experienced mass migration and cultural displacement. We will also elucidate the relationship of music to memory, food, community, home-making, and notions of self.
Hip Hop is one of the most galvanizing forms of popular music from the 20th century, and its impact on culture, politics, and race is tremendous. We will explore the history and sound of Hip Hop—from its inception to its global contemporary musical dominance—using the analytical paradigms of gender, race, sexuality, and class.
Graffiti in Colorado Springs
Graffiti in Colorado Springs
Topics in Music: Indie Music and Cultures explores the current phenomenon of Indie Rock music and the culture surrounding it. By listening to the music genre, analyzing related texts, reviewing literature on the "hipster" or "boho" and drawing from other forms of popular media, students will be able to evaluate niche movements and cultural impulses found in Portland, Winnipeg, Colorado Springs and other cities.
Photo of vinyl record album bins
As farm-to-table foodies, bamboo bicycle builders, single-origin coffee people, and certainly Indie musicians know, it is such local cultures as those found in Portland, Winnipeg, and Colorado Springs where many of the niche movements and cultural impulses are first being cultivated and are taking hold. This class focuses on Indie Rock music and the culture surrounding it. We will explore this current phenomenon by examining a wide variety of music and texts. Listening to the music will be foremost and will help us to form ways to define the music aesthetically. Accompanying this, putting the repertory into context will prompt the non-aesthetic aspects which will also shape this definition. Looking at sources on Alternative music and College Rock subcultures will in part form the broader context, as well as recent writings on Indie Rock itself. In addition, literature on related topics drawing from other disciplinary perspectives, for example, considering the “hipster” and “boho,” will help us to evaluate ideas regarding the notion of omnivorous cultural consumption and changing cultural values and economics. In addition to interdisciplinary approaches and scholarship, we will look at related manifestations of this culture, like indie film, the craft cocktail movement, et cetera. Thus our texts for this course will go beyond the scholarly literature and will incorporate our observations from such sources as sartorial blogs and Brooklyn Vegan comments, and other examples from popular media, like clips from the T.V. shows Portlandia and Girls.​
In block 7, students in MU228 will explore the deceptively complicated question: How does our experience of music change when it moves from a live to a mediated event?


Term Block Title Instructor Location Student Limit/Available Updated
Spring 2022 Block H Topics in Music: Black American Protest Music: From Abolitionism to Black Lives Matter Topic Details Stephanie Doktor TBA 25 / 4 11/30/2021
Spring 2022 Block H Topics in Music: The Renaissance Banchetto (Banquet) Topic Details Dario Sponchiado, Nancy Ekberg TBA 25 / 14 11/30/2021
Spring 2022 Block H Topics in Music: Jazz Theory Topic Details Ricky Sweum TBA 25 / 23 11/30/2021
Spring 2022 Block 6 Topics in Music: Music in the Age of Enlightenment Topic Details Michael Grace TBA 25 / 25 11/30/2021
Spring 2022 Block 7 Topics in Music: The Age of Romance: Music and History in the 19th Century Topic Details Tip Ragan, Michael Grace TBA 25 / 25 11/30/2021
Spring 2022 Block 7 Topics in Music: Musical Tapestries of the American Southwest Topic Details Liliana Carrizo TBA 15 / 15 11/30/2021
Spring 2022 Block 7 Topics in Music: “The State of Jazz: NOLA” Topic Details Stephanie Doktor TBA 15 / 15 11/30/2021
Spring 2022 Block 7 Topics in Music: Musicianship and Aural Skills Topic Details Ofer Ben-Amots TBA 25 / 25 11/30/2021
Report an issue - Last updated: 11/30/2021