Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Music

Academics

Music 298. Experimental Courses

Summer 2014

History of Popular Music. The “NEW: Rock”

From the blues to country, jazz to rock, our nation’s political, social, and economic history has been mirrored and influenced by the styles of popular music that have developed in our unique cultural melting pot. This course will provide an overall history of popular music in America since the end of the 19thh century, with emphasis upon mainstream popular music since 1954. Its focus will be the simultaneous independence and interdependence of black and white musical cultures in America, and how this can help us understand our nation’s history in new and different ways. In addition to learning about the stylistic development of popular music, students will acquire various interpretive strategies (including listening skills) that will allow them to approach popular songs as historical “texts” as well as autonomous works of art. Topics will include blackface minstrelsy, the blues, jazz, country music, classic Broadway song, rhythm and blues, rock’n’roll, folk music, blues-rock, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, metal, soul, funk, hip-hop, punk, indie-rock, disco, and electronic dance music.

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Introduction to World Music

The study of Music from different corners of the globe gives us the opportunity to enhance our understanding of people, their aesthetic choices and expressive traditions. This summer we will begin to examine the world’s amazing variety of dynamic music cultures, learn about the historical and political contexts that inform and empower regional streams of music, and consider how traditional forms have been impacted by the dissemination of international music trends. We will dig into inherited music systems, deliberately performed and preserved, and explore how these musics have been adapted to reflect contemporary sensibilities and current social ideals. Ethnomusicology, the field that endeavors to study music within its cultural context, will provide the conceptual framework for our study. Music and dance traditions from Ireland, Flamenco from Southern Spain, regional styles from across the African continent, the music of India and Japan will be at the center of our class discussions. We will work to develop critical skills and appreciation for the vast musical diversity emanating from these regions and for music traditions found here at home.

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Fall 2014

Ethnomusicology of the Music Business

This course will introduce the student to the music business in the United States today, contextualizing the contemporary scene within a study of the history and evolution of the music business internationally over time. Primary texts will address key issues such as copyright, music publishing, marketing and promotion, artist development and management, and the huge influence of evolving technology on the business. We will also gain invaluable perspectives by reading biographies and memoirs of key figures in twentieth century music such as the impresario Sol Hurok, who first brought artists like Ravi Shankar and Andrés Segovia on tour to the United States in the 1930s; producer and recording engineer Phil Ramone, whose clients ranged from Sinatra to McCartney and Madonna; important and pioneering women artist-composers in the field including Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell; and promoters such as George Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals.

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History of Popular Music. The “NEW: Rock”

From the blues to country, jazz to rock, our nation’s political, social, and economic history has been mirrored and influenced by the styles of popular music that have developed in our unique cultural melting pot. This course will provide an overall history of popular music in America since the end of the 19thh century, with emphasis upon mainstream popular music since 1954. Its focus will be the simultaneous independence and interdependence of black and white musical cultures in America, and how this can help us understand our nation’s history in new and different ways. In addition to learning about the stylistic development of popular music, students will acquire various interpretive strategies (including listening skills) that will allow them to approach popular songs as historical “texts” as well as autonomous works of art. Topics will include blackface minstrelsy, the blues, jazz, country music, classic Broadway song, rhythm and blues, rock’n’roll, folk music, blues-rock, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, metal, soul, funk, hip-hop, punk, indie-rock, disco, and electronic dance music.

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Spring 2014

Bach, Handel and the Baroque Style

Why is the music of Bach and Handel regarded as the culmination of the musical Baroque? A look at the lives and works of these two composers against the backdrop of the musical, cultural, social, and political history of 17th- and 18th-century Europe. Lecture, discussion, listening, and live performance. No prerequisites.

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J.S. Bach

In a recent article about constructing a list of “the top 10 classical music composers,” Anthony Tommasini, chief music critic of the New York Times, announced, “the winner, the all-time great is . . . Bach!” Why is Bach’s legacy so enduring, his influence so profound, his music so enriching to mind and spirit? Through listening, discussion, lecture and live performance, this course explores these questions. Prerequisites: MUSC 113 or MUSC 114, or permission of the instructor.