Music 347: Music History IV: Twentieth- and Twenty-first-Century Music

Syllabus - Spring 2012

Dates: Classes will meet on Mondays and Wednesday 1:40 to 2:55 PM in room 351, on the following dates:

January 30March 21
February 1March 26
February 6March 28
February 8April 2
February 15April 4
February 21 (Tuesday)April 16
February 22April 18
February 27April 23
February 29April 25
March 5April 30
March 7May 2
March 12May 7
March 14May 9
March 19May 14

There are no classes on February 13 and February 20, and Spring recess is April 6-15.

Composers covered in classes: the following composers will be covered in classes:

Other composers may be added to (or subtracted from) this list, but it is advised that you take advantage of any opportunities to listen to and study any music by these composers or to read biographical and analytical writings about their music.

Other major composers: In addition to the composers listed above, you should also be expected to know something about the lives and music of the following major twentieth-century composers:

Major ideas and issues: In addition to the music of these composers, the course will focus on three central issues concerning the music of this period:

Concert review: In order to familiarize yourself more with contemporary music, it is a good idea to attend concerts that feature it. All students must write a review of a concert that they attend. The concert must be devoted exclusively to new music. One or more of the composers should be in attendance, and it is even more beneficial if there is a pre- or post-concert discussion. (In particular, the organization Meet the Composer often sponsors such concerts.) Your review should include a detailed description of the music played, comparing it to other music studied and listing works and composers that it most resembles. In conclusion, you may include your own evaluative comments about the music, but this is not required. Your review may be turned in at any time, but it must be turned in by the last class, December 14. You should consider writing your review as something that could be submitted to a newspaper or new music periodical for publication.

Term paper: All students must write a paper of at least 4000 words on the music of a composer of their own choice from the following list. The report must be handed in by the end of the term. The report must discuss the composer's biography, including his teachers or major influences, a list of his works, and the discussion of at least one (perhaps more than one) work that you have studied with the score. This report should not be just a research paper, where you learn about the topic by reading what others have written. While you will have to rely on some published materials (including CD inserts, record jackets and the internet) for biographical materials, you should listen to the music yourself and come to your own conclusions about it. The report does not ask you to give your opinion about the music, but to describe it objectively and determine where it fits into the overall scheme of twentieth-century music. The composers are as follows:

Other composers may be added to this list as well.

Instead of doing a report on one of these lesser-known composers, you may instead do a report on the music of one of the other major composers listed above in item 3. In this case, you will need to give a more substantial report and paper. Your biography will have to be longer, and the paper may need to cover works and material that you are not be able to cover in your oral report.

Grading: Your final grade will be calculated as follows: mid-term 15%, concert review 15%, term paper 25%, final exam 35%, class participation 10%. Attendance is not required, but class participation cannot take place if you are absent. More than three absences will produce a zero for this category.

Web Site: There is a web site for this course: http://qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/hhowe/music347/. Materials, including all of the repertory of works played in class, will be posted to it regularly. Please check it for further information.