Sunday, January 17, 2016

Course Schedule

(We may adjust this schedule through the semester.)

Week 1
  • W 18 Jan: Schubert, "Standchen" from Schwanengesang
  • F 20 Jan: Schubert, "Am Meer"
Week 2
  • M 23 Jan: Schubert, "Der Doppelgänger"
  • W 25 Jan: Schumann, Dichterliebe, song 1
    • Jessica Pearce, ein Lied
  • F 27 Jan: Schumann, Dichterliebe, songs 2-4
    • Alex Malaimare, Chopin prelude
Week 3
  • M 30 Jan: Dichterliebe, songs 5-7 
    • Andreas, Dichterliebe
  • [ST out of town Feb. 1 & 3]
Week 4
  • M 6 Feb: Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique I
    • Gayoung Hong, Chopin prelude
  • W 8 Feb: Berlioz, I cont.
    • Cassie Wieland, Chopin prelude
  • F 10 Feb: Berlioz, II, III
    • Zhi Ru Lim Dichterliebe
Week 5
  • M 13 Feb: Berlioz IV
    • Cole Brandt, Chopin prelude
  • W 15 Feb: Berlioz V
    • Alex, Chopin prelude
  • F 17 Feb: Score reading & transposition quiz
Week 6
  • M 20 Feb: Chopin Preludes 1-3
    • Lina Saleh, Chopin E minor prelude
  • W 22 Feb: Chopin Preludes 4-6
    • Sam Litt, Chopin prelude
  • F 24 Feb: Presentations I
    • Alex, TBA
    • Daniel Edwards, Mendelssohn Songs without Words
    • Cole Brandt, Impressionism
Week 7
  • M 27 Feb: Chopin Preludes 7-8
    • Adam Moy, Chopin prelude
  • W 1 Mar: Chopin Preludes 9 & 13
    • Daniel, TBA
  • F 3 Mar: Chopin Preludes 14 & 15
    • Lishan Xue, Dichterliebe No. 3
Week 8
  • M 6 Mar: Brahms Lieder TBA
    • Won Kim, Chopin
  • W 8 Mar: Brahms Intermezzos
  • F 10 Mar: Brahms Intermezzos cont.
Week 9 (this week is TBA)
  • M 13 Mar: Scott Joplin, "Solace" and TBA
  • W 15 Mar: Hugo Wolf, Lieder
  • F 17 Mar: Presentations II
    • Lina Saleh, TBA
    • Won Kim, TBA
    • YooBin Lee, TBA
    • Zhi Ru Lim, TBA
Spring Break
Week 10
  • M 27 Mar: Wagner, Prelude to Tristan und Isolde
  • W 29 Mar: Prelude cont.
  • F 31 Mar: Tristan, Transfiguration
Week 11
  • M 3 Apr: Liszt, Sonata in B minor
  • W 5 Apr: Liszt cont.
  • F 7 Apr: Liszt cont.
Week 12
  • M 10 Apr: Presentations III
    • Matt Granger, TBA
    • John Strauss, something Italian
    • Cassie Wieland, TBA
    • Adam Moy, TBA
  • W 12 Apr: Mahler, Symphony no. 2, I
  • F 14 Apr: Mahler 2, I cont.
Week 13
  • M 17 Apr: Mahler 2, II
  • W 19 Apr: Mahler 2, III
  • F 21 Apr: Presentations IV
Week 14
  • M 24 Apr: Mahler 2, IV
  • W 26 Apr: Mahler 2, V
  • F 28 April: Mahler 2, V
Week 15
  • M 1 May: Presentations V
  • W 3 May:  Course wrap-up & evaluation
  • F 5 May (final exam period, 1:30-4:30 pm) we may have a final Presentation session here

Course syllabus

MWF, 12:00 - 12:50 pm
Music Building room 0061 (Recording Studio, next to the Auditorium)
Stephen Taylor, office MB 4030
office hours MW 1:00 - 2:00 pm, and by appointment

Course Description

Extensive study of the formal structure of representative musical compositions from the nineteenth century. 3 hours.

Goals
  1. To think for yourself when encountering an unfamiliar piece of music. Rather than shoehorning pieces into various formal molds, we will look at each individual piece on its own terms; more of a bottom-up approach to hearing, instead of top-down.
  2. To become familiar with the main large- and small-scale 19th-century forms. Despite our "bottom-up" approach to form, there are many accepted practices which composers followed, defied, or twisted to their own ends during the 19th century. Sonata form evolved into massive symphonies by century's end; at the same time, intimate, small-scale works became more important than ever. The concepts of sentence (AAB) and period are still important; rounded binary form, on the other hand, is rarely found.
  3. To read orchestral scores with instrumental transpositions. Ideally you will be able to hear pieces in your head by studying the score: even though this is not an ear training class, we will work on this. If you can hear a piece inside your head, you will know it at a much deeper level than by looking at the score, or listening to a performance. 
  4. To learn to write analytically about music. Writing about music is difficult, but necessary; it's our best way to think out loud about music, and to present cogent arguments. In addition to a final paper, we will be doing smaller writing assignments as well as academic-style panels and presentations throughout the semester.
Required texts
  1. Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique (Dover, 1997) $9
  2. Wagner, Prelude and Transfiguration from Tristan and Isolde (Norton Critical Score, 1985) $23
  3. Liszt, Sonata in B minor (Dover, 1990) $20
  4. Mahler, Symphony no. 2 (Dover, 1997) $10
We will download Schubert's Schwanengesang and Schumann's Dichterliebe from imslp.org, as well as short pieces by Brahms, Hugo Wolf, and Scott Joplin. We will also read online articles, as well as chapters from the late Charles Rosen's excellent book The Romantic Generation.

Grading
  • Score reading quiz, 20%
  • Take-home midterm, 20%
  • Assignments, presentations and participation, 20%
  • Final project, 40%
Midterm

The midterm will be a general theory test, focused on orchestral score analysis, including standard sophomore theory--Neapolitan and augmented sixth chords, mediant relationships, etc. If you need to review this material, any theory text will do; we'll also be going over it in class. Remember, for a transposing instrument, "if it sees a C, it plays its key." (In other words, if a Clarinet in A has a written C in its part, the resulting pitch will be A.)

Instead of a final exam you will complete a final project.

Assignments

The Norton Critical Score for Wagner's Prelude and Transfiguration from Tristan und Isolde comes with several analytical essays; we'll be reading these in detail. We will analyze the other works closely, as well as reading articles or book chapters about them. For these pieces and essays, I will give assignments to help you prepare for class discussions. Sometimes I'll collect and grade these assignments, but other times I will just check to make sure you're doing them, counting towards class participation. Class discussions are important - you need to speak out!

Some of the assignments may be compositions: harmonizing a given melody, or setting a text, for example. These are meant to be fun - I'll welcome (but not require!) beauty and/or originality.

Performance

Each non-pianist in the class must perform in class a short piano piece or song by a 19th century composer; I recommend some of the easier Chopin preludes, which we will be studying. For those of you who already play piano, I will ask you to sing and play a 19-century song.

Presentations

While I've chosen material that's representative of the main composers, forms, and genres for the 19th century, I've had to leave out many great composers and pieces, and I'm expecting you to fill in the gaps. I've devoted about two weeks of class, spread throughout the semester, for 10-minute presentations; we will figure out the exact schedule together early in the semester. Make sure to get my approval for your topic. Aim for a poised, professional presentation, ideally including a live performance of some or all of your piece (if it's short). Say something important, not just a glorified program note. Eschew any kind of biographical (or in the case of opera, plot) information - focus on the music.

Final paper

The final project for the course has two options: 1) an analytical paper on a topic of your choice, at least 2000 words; 2) a Youtube video analysis of a piece. I will schedule appointments with each of you to help refine your topic and review rough drafts - this goes for both written and video projects. One of the goals for this course is to learn how to write about music - which is difficult! But if you're planning to attend a graduate program (or you're already in one), you will have to do some writing, and I hope this class helps you by showing examples of good (and sometimes bad) professional writing. There are excellent guidelines on writing about music at the website of the Society for Music Theory.

Other policies
I would prefer you not to use laptops or phones in class; please bring scores or printouts with you. I also ask that you not bring food, even though it's lunchtime - sorry! If you need a special accommodations, please let me know.