This course examines Western musical works, composers, and aesthetics from antiquity to the present.
Central to our curriculum are the questions: “what are music’s meanings?” and “how can music
communicate meaning?” Through the process of discovering the varied answers to these questions, we
will learn about music history, music philosophy, composer biographies, and how aesthetic concerns
change across time and place. We will also explore the elements of tonal music grammar to give you a
basic understanding of how Western music operates.
As a result of our work, you will develop active, thorough, and critical listening skills, and will begin
perceiving the events and internal relationships that govern musical compositions. Parallel to this, you
will build a vocabulary of musical terms, and you will learn to apply them in class discussions and
Our curriculum will be guided by readings from Music, A Subversive History (by Ted Gioia), discussion
posts based on those readings, and weekly 20-25 minute presentations on music topics chosen by
students. I will present during the first two class meetings on January 22 and 29; after that, two to three
students, chosen according to their last names in reverse alphabetical order, will present. Each student will
present twice during the term. Following each presentation, students will complete a short assessment of
each presenter’s project.
Please note that some of the music we listen to in class may feature women singing. Those who find this
problematic in terms of Halakha should let me know in advance. I make every effort to treat this issue
with sensitivity, but it is critical that students understand that adherence to Halakha does not excuse them
from fulfilling all coursework and assignment obligations.||en_US