Seminar 4106-901 (Tuesdays, 10:00-12:00, Room 3226)
Theory and Current Music – Instructors-Peter Hannan and Ken Morrison
Can we use music theoretical and analytical techniques to analyze contemporary popular music? In this seminar, we will use a variety of analytical tools including Harmonic, Motivic, (Schenkerian), Rhythmic/Metric, Textual, Contextual (social/economic), and others to study a variety of contemporary songs. We will try to balance engaging each song on its own terms and listening to each song through the filters of analysis. Can we assemble a set of analytical tools to engage contemporary music on its own terms?
Students will be required to study a song and present their analysis to the seminar. Finally, everyone must submit an analysis paper on another song not on the syllabus.
Weekly Participation: 35% (3% per week)
Analytical Presentation: 30%
Final Analytical Paper: 35%
Prerequisites: Minimum of two years of music theory
Syllabus (subject to change)
GENERAL TOPICS (WEEKS 1-4):
Week 1 (Sept. 2): Introduction to Song Forms; What is form in music?
Week 2 (Sept. 9): How does traditional music theory help in describing current music? What is harmonic analysis? Details of Text Setting
Week 3 (Sept. 16): Genres: What are they, and why do they matter for musicians now?
Week 4 (Sept. 23): Where does transcription and conventional notation fit in? The Song versus a particular performance of the song (What is the fundamental text?)
Week 5 (Sept. 30): Sound analysis as music theory; The producer as artist: Is the arrangement and performance where the “art” happens? new ways of writing songs – who is the composer? – the Rihanna method
Week 6 (Oct. 7): How do you, the educated musician talk about music from last week – Katy Perry, Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, Messuggah? When art transcends its original intention
SPECIFIC TOPICS: (WEEKS 7-11):
Week 7 (Oct. 14): Analyzing rock music – 500 greatest songs; new directions in jazz
Week 8 (Oct. 21): Electronic music – Aphex Twin to John Hopkins; the singer songwriter phenomenon – Dylan to Regina Spektor
Week 9 (Oct. 28): Minimalists – Steve Reich, Philip Glass; darlings of cultural theory – Madonna etc
Week 10 (Nov. 4): Maximalists – Osvaldo Golijov , Thomas Ades; the future of music theatre – Kanye West, R Kelly
Week 11 (Nov. 11) Remembrance Day (statutory holiday)
Week 12 (Nov. 18): Presentations
Week 13 (Nov. 25): Presentations
FINAL E-Document DUE ON DEC. 5 AT 09:30