Courses offered in the past four years. Courses offered currently are as noted.

Course Description

Introduction to Music
In this course we will develop critical listening skills through guided study of selected works of Western classical, popular, and folk music, as well as a sampling of music from non-Western cultures. Students will examine how music uses basic sound materials—such as rhythm, melody, timbre, texture, and harmony—to create meaning and expression, how those uses have changed over time from the Middle Ages to the present, and how music relates to its social and historical context and to the other arts. Previous musical training is not required. 3 hrs.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

ART, CMP, HIS

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Course Description

American Popular Music: From the Blues to Hip-Hop (and Beyond)
In this course we will use a broad historical approach to investigate the musical and cultural history of American Popular Music, from Minstrels and the Blues to the present moment, focusing on both the historical context and the social and political impacts of various musical styles, and centering on the contributions of culture and gender diversity of the artist. We will also explore how the business of the music industry and the technological developments and trends of the 20th and 21st Centuries have impacted - and been impacted by - the music itself. Class meetings will combine lectures with pointed discussion and critical listening to cover key points, and assignments will involve further listening.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

ART, HIS

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Course Description

Topic is determined by the instructor - refer to section for the course description.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

What in the World is Music?
In this course we will explore global musical cultures in order to better understand both those musical cultures and our own in relation to one another. The course has two goals: to introduce students to unfamiliar ways of listening to and thinking about different elements of music (including – but not limited to – rhythm, melody, timbre, texture, harmony, and form); and to develop skills for appreciating cultural significances of these elements. We will achieve these goals through readings, lectures, discussions, film screenings, listening sessions, workshops, concerts, and hands-on activities. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

Requirements

ART, CMP

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Course Description

Introduction to Jazz Methods for Beginning and Intermediate Jazz Musicians
In this course we will explore several key methods used by jazz musicians to increase their mastery of the jazz language. Classwork will focus on using the voice to unlock jazz creativity, then using such methods as transcribing, backing tracks and developing critical listening ability as well as exploring a number of theoretical approaches to improvisation, and playing in small groups. Coursework will include transcription exercises, written analyses and recordings as well as an independent practice and rehearsal schedule. Instrumental or vocal proficiency is required; previous jazz experience is not. The ability to read music and basic theory knowledge are also required. Beginning and intermediate jazz players are encouraged to enroll. (Approval only)

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Music Theory I: Fundamentals
This course is an introduction to the basic elements and theoretical concepts of Western music. We will focus on such topics as basic keyboard skills, sight singing, musical notation, rhythm, and harmony and form. Theoretical work and drills will be combined with compositional and performance projects. The goal of the course is to expand students’ musical intuition and skill and to provide the technical basis for further music study. No prior musical experience is required. (Students who wish to take upper-level composition or music theory courses must either complete this course or pass a theory and musicianship test administered by the department to demonstrate equivalent experience.) (Formerly MUSC 0109). 2.5 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Performance Lab
Credit can be conferred for performance in faculty-supervised ensembles: (see listing of "Ensembles" in the requirements section). One unit of credit to accrue over two semesters (spring then fall only). The appropriate supervising faculty will give grades, based on attendance and quality of performance. A student should inform the ensemble director of intent to sign up for this course before starting, and should actually register for MUSC 0205 only the SECOND of the two terms by adding it as a fifth course. MUSC 0205 does not fulfill any major course requirements and may not be taken more than once. (Approval required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Music I
Music I focuses on the materials and grammar of music through compositional exercises. As part of these explorations, we will examine the elements of harmony (scales, triads and seventh chords), notation, rhythm, polyrhythm, binary and ternary forms, two-voice counterpoint, variation, transposition, as well as skills in conducting, analysis, ear-training, and sight-singing. Students will write short pieces for a variety of instruments and ensembles, notate their pieces, and rehearse and perform them, thereby learning about music through discovery and observation. The assignments are designed for students with or without compositional experience. (Ability to play an instrument or sing; MUSC 0160, or passing score on the MUSC 0160 placement exam) 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. lab.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Music II
This course is a continuation of MUSC 0209. While using the same format, including composing and labs, as in MUSC 0209, the course covers elements of modality (western and non-western), functional harmony, heterophony, fugal processes, strophic forms, melodic analysis, serial processes, and extensions of tonality and atonality. (MUSC 0209 or by permission) 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. lab.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

History, Theory, and Practice of Electronic Music
This course will provide a historical look at the development of electronic music from the earliest analog techniques to present-day computer technology. Students will learn about the theory of digital and analog sound, acoustics, and MIDI. Creative projects will guide the class through a range of techniques. Much of the focus will be on how the electronic medium enables composers to work with sound and musical forms in non-traditional ways. 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. lab

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

The Digital Musician
In this course we will explore the potential of smartphones, tablets, interactive computer apps, and virtual reality environments for musical experimentation, creation, and performance. Projects will include the creation of original works and live performances using these tools. Students should have a laptop that they can bring to class. There is no prerequisite other than a willingness and interest in working directly with computer code (especially Max, HTML5, JavaScript, and Unity). 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Songwriting and Production Workshop
In this course we will offer student singer/songwriters a workshop setting for the creation and production of original songs. The course will revolve around student projects produced in the college’s electronic music studio and campus recording studio. Student projects will explore concepts of musical form and harmony, recording and production techniques, use of Digital Audio Workstations, and the incorporation of electronic sounds in a production. Lectures and demonstrations will provide theoretical and practical background to support those projects, and a collaborative environment will also allow students to learn from each other. (MUSC 0209 or permission).

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Music in the United States
In this course we will examine folk, classical, and popular music in the United States from the 17th century to the present. We will use historical and analytical approaches to gain insight into the music, the musicians, and the social and cultural forces that have shaped them. Students will explore music’s relation to historical events, other artistic movements, technological changes, and questions of national identity and ethnicity. Topics will include music in the British colonies, minstrelsy, American opera and orchestras, jazz, popular music, and the experimentalist composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Music reading skills are useful but not required. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

AMR, ART, NOR

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Course Description

African Soundscapes
This course will introduce students to musical cultures and practices from the African continent with a focus on particular regional styles. Through readings, lectures, discussions, film screenings, listening sessions, concerts, and hands-on activities, we will develop skills for analyzing and appreciating the diversity of African musical practices and their social, economic, and political value in traditional and contemporary contexts. Some background in music may be necessary. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2020

Requirements

AAL, ART, SAF

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Course Description

History of African American Music
In this course we will explore the evolution of American music from the perspective of its African roots to various styles of black music in the United States. In considering African American music as an artform, cultural expression, and political force, important issues and ideas will be examined, including the intersection of race, politics, gender, and emerging technologies to the production and consumption of American music. We will turn a musical ear to the sounds and significance of American musical genres such as sacred and secular folk styles, the Harlem Renaissance, blues, jazz, soul, funk, and hip hop.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

AMR, ART, NOR

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Course Description

The Cultural Work of Country Music
“I like all kinds of music...except country.” Arguably, aversion to American country music often tracks with class- and race-based assumptions about both makers and consumers of this genre. In this course we will challenge those views while studying the history of the form. Balancing our consideration of the big picture with case studies of performers like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and The Chicks, we will explore what types of music the “country” tag comprises; some of the major themes and motifs associated with the form; the Black and White roots of country music; and the politicization of the music and its performers throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Source materials for the course will include Bill Malone’s Country Music, USA; Ken Burn’s Country Music documentary; Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity, and A Good-Natured Riot: The Birth of the Grand Ole Opry.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

Performing Chamber Music
In this performance-based course we will deal with practical ensemble performance challenges related to ensemble playing. Some class time will be devoted to analysis of the works being performed and their historical perspective. Students will be asked to do research on the biographical details of the composers and the place of the assigned works within the composer’s oeuvre. Performance techniques appropriate for each piece will be investigated. The course will culminate with a final concert (or concerts). Enrollment by audition. 3 hrs. lect/disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Conducting
In this course students will develop basic skills of conducting including movement, aural skills, creative gesture, and score study. Daily work will include preparation to conduct an ensemble of classmates. Score reading ability and proficiency on an instrument or in singing is required. (MUSC 0160 or by approval of instructor. Score-reading ability is required.)

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

African Music and Dance Performance
This course will introduce students to various techniques of performing East African (primarily Ugandan) musical and dance traditions through regular rehearsals, culminating in an end-of-semester concert. As an ensemble, we will learn and master how to play and sing/dance to bow-harps, thumb-pianos, xylophones, tube-fiddles, bowl-lyres, gourd shakers, struck gourds, reed-box rattles, ankle bells, leg rattles, and various types of drums. Some background in performing music is recommended, but prior knowledge of performing African music and dance is not required. 3 hrs. lect./lab

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

ART, SAF

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Course Description

Collaborative Improvisation: All-Arts Ensemble
In this course/ensemble we will open dialogues of performance, improvisation, and social interaction across disciplines in the arts. How do the various disciplines relate to each other in a performance environment? It may be easy to see points of commonality between music and dance or writing and theater, but what about the act of painting and the process of musical improvisation? Through the work of Ornette Coleman, Del Close, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, and others, students will explore improvisation in music, theater, dance, and visual art. The class will culminate in a performance. All students are welcome. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2023

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

A Cappella Ensemble Performance
Unaccompanied vocal music is rich in cultural expression and artistic beauty. Singing in an unaccompanied vocal ensemble enhances creativity, musicianship, and communication skills. This course affords an opportunity to develop analytical and ensemble skills that contribute to creative and informed performance. Through study of scores and source readings, students will explore vocal technique, performance, and cultural context in European art music, North American folk songs, and styles of improvisation. This course will conclude with a public performance and may include additional performances off campus. Music reading is required, prior singing experience is not. A preview of the reading requirement is available at go/Ensemble246.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

Requirements

ART, CMP

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Course Description

Performing Jazz
In this course we will explore language, idiom, and improvisation in the mainstream and bop traditions of jazz. In-class work will focus on repertoire, jazz theory, approaches to improvisation and playing in a combo. Additional work will include written analyses, transcription exercises and self-recording, anchored by independent listening and practice. Instrumental or vocal proficiency is required; previous jazz experience is not. Basic theory knowledge and the ability to sight-read are advised. (Instructor approval) 3 hrs. lect/disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Performance Art
When different arts merge in unusual and provocative ways, performance art is created. This seminar will engage in discussions, research, and creative projects regarding performance art—how it comes about, its place in our culture, and its aesthetic. Our focus and explorations will center on musical components. We will delve into the roots of performance art in the early nineteenth-century in writing and music, including work from Berlioz, Cage, Kagel, the Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson, Reich, and Glass concluding with the music/performance art of today. In addition, we will discuss the processes behind performance art, and create some of our own, culminating in a ‘concert’ of work. (A knowledge of an instrument or voice is desirable, though not required) 3 hrs. lect

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Music Theory II: Diatonic Theory
This course is an in-depth technical study of the materials of music, a study which expands one’s ability to analyze and create music and to understand different musical styles. We will cover harmonic materials, introduce musical form, and work with traditional compositional skills. These techniques are applied to the analysis of classical music, jazz and popular music. (MUSC 0160 or passing score on the MUSC 0160 placement exam.) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Music Theory III: Chromatic Theory
This course is a continuation of MUSC 0260. Students will study more advanced harmonic devices including modulation and chromaticism, jazz harmony, and post-tonal techniques. In-depth analysis of classical music, jazz, and popular music supports a more advanced study of musical form. (MUSC 0260) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

The Guitar in American Culture
Although it has European and African antecedents, modern acoustic and electric guitars are American inventions. From the genteel parlor guitars of the 19th century elite to the electric weaponry of today’s rock stars, the guitar is an essential artifact of American material culture. Drawing on histories, cultural critiques, interviews, and sound and video recordings, we will study both the evolution of the instrument and the builders and players who have helped define its role. Examining artifacts and talking with working guitar builders will illuminate the craft of guitar making. The culmination of the course will be a student-curated exhibition.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR

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Course Description

Advanced Composition
In this course we will focus on writing for string quartet, brass quintet, a cappella singing, piano, or performance art and involve issues of technique, style, and practical considerations, as well as study of selected elements of the literature. The course will culminate with a reading of student works by a professional ensemble or solo performer. This semester we focus on composing for the string quartet. We will discuss a variety of string techniques as well as issues of form and orchestration. We will listen to important works for that medium and discuss the styles from the Classical period to this century. (MUSC 0209 and 0210 or approval of instructor). 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

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Course Description

Music in Western Cultures
In this course we will develop skills for assessing music’s social, economic, and political importance in Western societies. Through a series of units focusing on various aspects of music (such as composition, performance, dissemination, and reception) and on various eras from ancient Greece to the present, students will engage with the principal questions and methods of historical musicology. (MUSC 0101) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

ART, CMP, CW, HIS

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Course Description

Music in World Cultures
In this course students will develop skills for analyzing a wide range of music styles and appreciating their social, economic, and political importance. We will explore selected case studies through readings, lectures, discussions, film screenings, listening sessions, workshops, concerts, and hands-on activities. (MUSC 0209 or MUSC 0261) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

ART, CMP

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Course Description

Topic is determined by the instructor - refer to section for the course description.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Independent Study
Admission by approval. Please consult published departmental guidelines and paragraph below.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Work
Senior work is not required of all music majors and joint majors. However, students interested in and eligible for departmental honors (see guideline above, in "Departmental Honors" section) may propose one or two-semester Senior Work projects. Projects may be in history, composition, theory, ethnomusicology, performance, or electronic music, and should culminate in a written presentation, a public performance, or a combination of the two. MUSC0704 does not count as a course toward fulfillment of the music major.

Project and budget proposals for Independent Study and Senior Work should be submitted by the previous April 1 for fall and winter term projects, and the previous October 15 for spring term projects. Budget proposals will not be considered after those dates. Project proposals will be considered after the deadline but are more likely not to be approved due to previous commitments of faculty advisors or other scheduling reasons.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Bob Dylan's America
Few figures in American music have had the far-ranging influence of Bob Dylan, who, willingly or not, personified the social turmoil of the 1960s. In this course we will examine the musical and literary traditions on which Dylan draws (rock 'n' roll, country music, the urban folk revival, and the Beat poets), assess his art of crafting songs, and survey the principal phases of his career. Drawing on a range of biographical and historical materials, we will also consider the relationship between the social movements of the post-1960s and the carefully crafted public persona that Robert Zimmerman named Bob Dylan.

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2021

Requirements

AMR, ART, NOR, WTR

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Course Description

The American Musical in Performance
A survey of the American Musical will lay the groundwork for a fully-mounted production of a significant work. The production, staged at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater, will be a collaboration of college faculty, student actors, musicians and designers, and area residents. The production also involves collaboration with the Department of Theater. A theater major gets advanced credit for designing and building costumes for the show. (Approval required; please contact Doug Anderson at danders@<a href="http://middlebury.edu">middlebury.edu or Carol Christensen at christen@middlebury.edu)
Douglas Anderson (director) Carol Christensen (musical director) are now entering their 13th year of creating musical theater productions with Middlebury students, from Falsettos (2006) to Les Misérables (2014), Ragtime (2015), Chicago (2016) and City of Angels (2017)./

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2022, Winter 2023

Requirements

ART, WTR

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Course Description

Music, Image, and Imagination
Music’s fusions with dance, visual art, theater, and film have produced some of the most iconic partnerships in our culture. From compelling artistic statements to political propaganda, music has always played a major role. This course will explore how we tell these stories through those alliances. How does it start? What comes first, music or the other medium? What makes them so powerful? Embracing European, American, and Asian traditions---from ballet, opera, and gamelan to theater, film, video, and intermedia art of the present day---students will study the many changing synergies these collaborations have accrued. Individual and collaborative exercises focused on developing relationships between music and image will extend to students creating their own fusions of music with other media.

Terms Taught

Winter 2023

Requirements

ART, WTR

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Course Description

Electronic Music: Digital Audio Synthesis & Production
In this intensive course, taught exclusively in Ableton Live, we will explore the fundamentals of digital audio synthesis and electronic music production. In the context of an original project, each student will learn to design sounds, warp and process audio samples, arrange MIDI, deploy effects, automate parameters, and creatively utilize these skills in tandem. We will also delve into the basic principles of digital audio, signal flow, mix engineering, and emulation theory within software synthesizers. Final projects will be presented in a public exhibition at end of term. Students should expect a substantial amount of work outside of class time. (not open to students who have taken MUSC 0212) (Approval required; please contact Jack Tipper at atipper@middlebury.edu)
Jack Tipper ’15.5 is an independent multidisciplinary artist and audio technologist. He currently develops creative tools and releases music under his professional moniker “Aotu”./

Terms Taught

Winter 2020, Winter 2023

Requirements

ART, WTR

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Course Description

New Century - New Voices: Composition Today
We will consider how new technologies and the proliferation of notation systems has enabled more people to engage in the practice of music composition. We will discuss the dynamics of group improvisation, improvisation as brainstorming, and the change in temporal perception due to improvisational practice. We will read texts such as Daniel J, Levitin’s This Is Your Brain on Music, John Cage’s Silence, and Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening. Students will scheme and write their own compositions for instrumentation to be determined later. The class will culminate in a recital. Open to all students, regardless of musical background.

Terms Taught

Winter 2020

Requirements

ART, WTR

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Course Description

Artistic Creation Through Breath
In this course we will explore what artistic creation and performance become when the artist connects their practice to their breathing. We will discuss the act of breathing, meet with artists who have centered breathing in their practices, and create work in which breathing is an integral part of the composition process. We will read James Nestor’s Breath and Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening. This discussion- and performance-based course will culminate in a performance and/or exhibition. All are welcome regardless of artistic discipline or artistic proficiency.

Terms Taught

Winter 2023

Requirements

ART, WTR

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Course Description

Live Coding - Computer Programming as Musical Performance
In this course we will learn the art of live coding, an electronic music improvisation/performance practice in which the computer programmer creates music in real time. Live coding is an excellent introduction to computer programming for beginners, and also offers opportunities for more advanced programmers. Students will learn the techniques of live coding, basics of sound design and acoustics, and fundamentals of music theory. Class projects will include solo and group performances and recordings. All students will need a laptop computer (Windows or Mac) with a reasonable amount of free disc space. No previous music or coding experience required.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021, Winter 2022

Requirements

ART, WTR

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Course Description

Visualizing Sound - Creating Animated Computer Art from Music
In this course we explore the many ways that sound and music can be transformed into animated computer art using a software tool called Touch Designer. The project-driven course will offer a series of creative projects that explore various approaches to the topic. In the class, we will learn about and apply concepts of music theory, acoustics, and the psychology of music, as well as computer programming techniques used within Touch Designer. Students will need a laptop computer (Windows or Mac) with ample storage space. No previous music or coding experience required.
Peter Hamlin, Christian A. Johnson Professor Emeritus of Music at Middlebury, is a Middlebury alum who has worked as a radio host/producer, TV host, composer, performer, and music professor. At Middlebury, he taught courses in music theory, composition, electronic music, and served as Music Department Chair for many years./

Terms Taught

Winter 2023

Requirements

WTR

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Course Description

Music in the United States
In this course we will examine folk, classical, and popular music in the United States from the 17th century to the present. We will use historical and analytical approaches to gain insight into the music, the musicians, and the social and cultural forces that have shaped them. Students will explore music’s relation to historical events, other artistic movements, technological changes, and questions of national identity and ethnicity. Topics will include music in the British colonies, minstrelsy, American opera and orchestras, jazz, popular music, and the experimentalist composers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Terms Taught

Winter 2022, Winter 2023

Requirements

AMR, ART, NOR, WTR

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