Course Descriptions

Music

MUSI 72 - African Music Ensemble

MUSI 73 - African Music Ensemble

MUSI 74 - Macalester Concert Choir

MUSI 75 - Macalester Concert Choir

MUSI 76 - Highland Camerata

MUSI 77 - Highland Camerata

MUSI 78 - Asian Music Ensemble

The Macalester Asian Music Ensemble performs traditional and modern music from East and Central Asia. Core instruments include a variety of plucked lutes and zithers, bowed fiddles, bamboo/reed flutes, hammered dulcimer, and percussion from Chinese music and traditions across the Silk Road.

MUSI 79 - Asian Music Ensemble

The Macalester Asian Music Ensemble performs traditional and modern music from East and Central Asia. Core instruments include a variety of plucked lutes and zithers, bowed fiddles, bamboo/reed flutes, hammered dulcimer, and percussion from Chinese music and traditions across the Silk Road.

MUSI 80 - Mac Jazz Band

MUSI 81 - Mac Jazz Band

MUSI 82 - Jazz/Popular Music Combos

Jazz and Popular Music Combos are open to all who wish to concentrate on improvisation and original music. The combos present two concerts each year and record at a professional studio spring semester.

MUSI 83 - Jazz/Popular Music Combos

Jazz and Popular Music Combos are open to all who wish to concentrate on improvisation and original music. The combos present two concerts each year and record at a professional studio spring semester.

MUSI 84 - Pipe Band

MUSI 85 - Pipe Band

MUSI 86 - Chamber Ensemble

MUSI 87 - Chamber Ensemble

MUSI 88 - Orchestra

MUSI 89 - Orchestra

MUSI 90 - Mac Early Music Ensemble

MUSI 91 - Mac Early Music Ensemble

MUSI 92 - Other Ensembles

MUSI 93 - Other Ensembles

MUSI 94 - Private Studio Instruction

MUSI 95 - Private Studio Instruction

MUSI 96 - Piano for Proficiency

MUSI 97 - Piano for Proficiency

MUSI 99 - Piano Proficiency Exam

MUSI 110 - Music Appreciation

Focuses on listening to music and making sense of what we hear. Explores diverse musical styles and cultures with an emphasis on concert music of the western world, placing the music within cultural-historical frameworks.

Frequency: Spring semester.

MUSI 111 - World Music

This course surveys traditional, folk, and pop genres from major musical traditions in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. We approach music as both aesthetic and social processes, and explore the relationship between music making and other domains of human experience. Students will develop basic skills in critical listening, analysis, and writing about music. Course readings and audiovisual examples are designed primarily for non-music majors or minors. Previous knowledge of musical instrument or notation is not required.

MUSI 112 - Basic Musicianship

Basic elements of music including scales, intervals, basic music reading and writing skills, ear training and some keyboard. The course is especially designed for the general student and will operate at a slower pace than Theory I.

Frequency: Spring semester.

MUSI 113 - Theory I

In this course we explore theoretical concepts of diatonic music, including counterpoint, harmonic progression, and voice leading, always seeking answers to questions about how diatonic music works. Students will develop the ability to discuss and write about music in a sophisticated way. We will accomplish these tasks through written exercises, analysis, composition, and ear training. Specific topics covered include pitch, meter, intervals, scales, keys, triads, seventh chords, diatonic modes, figured bass, lead-sheet (chord) symbols, Roman numeral identification, part writing, cadences, basic harmonic function, sequence, phrases and periods, melody harmonization, non-chord tones, and basic principles of orchestration. Aural activities include sight singing, identification of pitch patterns, identification of scales, rhythmic dictation, rhythm reading, melodic dictation, harmonic dictation, identification of sonorities, identification of cadences, and contextual listening. Three lectures and one lab per week.

Frequency: Fall semester.

MUSI 114 - Theory II

In this course we explore theoretical concepts of chromatic music, including harmony, voice leading, and form, always seeking answers to questions about how chromatic music works. Students will develop the ability to discuss and write about music in a sophisticated way. We will accomplish these tasks through written exercises, analysis, composition, and ear training. Specific topics covered include review of diatonic harmony and voice leading, secondary dominants, modulation to closely related keys, small forms (binary, ternary), mode mixture, chromatic mediants, modulation by common tone, Neapolitan sixth chords, augmented sixth chords, descending tetrachord bass line, enharmonic modulation, extended tertian chords, altered chords, and an introduction to sonata form. Aural activities include sight singing, identification of pitch patterns, melodic dictation, harmonic dictation, identification of sonorities, identification of intervals, harmonic substitution, modulating harmonic dictation, three-chord progressions, and contextual listening. Three lectures and one lab per week.

Frequency: Spring semester.

Prerequisite(s)

 MUSI 113 or permission of the instructor

MUSI 131 - African Music

Study of music in various African traditions within a social and historical context. Interrelationships between music and society (function, context, structure, gender roles, political considerations). Instruments, life-cycle rites, genres, musical organizations, traditional musicians, contemporary popular music.

Frequency: Fall semester.

MUSI 153 - Electronic Music

Electronic music composition explores the art of creating experimental sound compositions using analog and digital technology. Although we will survey the historical development of electronic music, the emphasis of the classis on composition, including multi-media and experimental work. The class format includes listening, discussion, lab sessions and a final concert showcasing works created throughout the semester. Enrollment limited to 13 to allow each student sufficient lab time.

MUSI 155 - Music and Freedom

The concept of freedom both lies at the heart of human rights discourse and provides the spark that ignites any number of musical movements. Intended for students with strong interests in the intersection between the performing arts and humanities, this course serves as an introduction both to the concept of freedom as it developed in Western societies since the late eighteenth century and to the history of music in the cultures that have fostered such ideals. It intends to introduce students to the study of music (and, by association, arts in general) from social, cultural, and critical perspectives, using the framework of freedom as a common theme. It also aims to contextualize the discourse of human rights within the history of arts and ideas, providing students with a a sense of the term's changing meanings and emphases over time and across space. We will explore traditions in both Western art music (also known as "classical music") and the American popular (recorded) music in a search for ways in which music has served social-political ideologies - overtly through the aims of its composers and performers, and unintentionally through the conditions of its reception. Historical readings on the concept of freedom from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (history, philosophy, political science, critical theory) will introduce students to several of the most influential thinkers on the subject and the central concerns and questions that animate the discourse on freedom. No prior background in music is required for the course, although it is assumed that students will have a true interest not only in popular music of the twentieth century but also other traditions and genres, such as opera and symphonic music. "Freedom" signifies a number of ideals, which operate in real-political and abstract-aesthetic realms. Music can represent, convey, and "mean" freedom in infinite ways, and it is the intention of this course to introduce students to this diversity.

MUSI 180 - Music, Race, and Ethnicity

This course examines issues of race and ethnicity in the history and performance of music across world cultures. Students develop an awareness of how racial and ethnic processes are ingrained in the production and consumption of musical sound. Assignments include critical listening, reading, class discussion, and writing projects. Previous knowledge of musical instrument or notation is not assumed.

Frequency: Alternate years.

MUSI 194 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

MUSI 213 - Theory III, Form and Analysis

Analysis of musical forms and musical development techniques with emphasis on music of the common practice period; advanced harmonic ear training.

Frequency: Fall semester.

Prerequisite(s)

 MUSI 114 or permission of the instructor

MUSI 264 - History of Jazz

This course surveys the rich history and development of jazz music and its associated culture. A thorough exploration of jazz's principal artists and style periods will be undertaken, along with related studies of race and conflict, gender, geography, and African-American cultural values. A particular emphasis is placed on listening; students will become familiar by ear with a wide variety of jazz repertoire, artists, and styles.

Frequency: Offered yearly.

MUSI 294 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

MUSI 314 - Theory IV, Contemporary Theory and Literature

Survey of contemporary music and modern compositional techniques with emphasis on analytical skills.

Frequency: Spring semester.

Prerequisite(s)

 MUSI 213 or permission of the instructor

MUSI 342 - Medieval to Mozart

This course traces the development of Western art music from its beginnings in the monophonic chant of early Christianity, through the development of polyphonic genres in the Renaissance (mass, motet, madrigal), to the emergence of opera in Italy around 1600 and the stylistic revolution that we now call the Baroque (including musical life in the extravagant court of Louis XIV in France and Johann Sebastian Bach's masterful synthesis of Baroque styles), to the sophisticated, multi-movement sonata structures of late 18th century Viennese classicism. Its central concerns are: (1) to understand the place of music in social and cultural life, (2) to gain an appreciation of the musical style and rhetoric that characterizes each of the periods we study, and (3) to develop students' abilities in communicating, in writing and the spoken word, what they have learned about this music and the culture in which it was produced. Course activities will take several forms, including lectures, musical analyses, and performances. Lectures will introduce key terms and concepts and will address broader concerns of cultural life (including composer biographies). In-class analysis and performance will lead to a more detailed understanding of key works. Examinations will test students' retention of course listening and lecture/discussion/reading material. Essays will give students the opportunity to delve deeper into critical and musical analysis, and to sharpen their prose, specifically with respect to writing about music. The course assumes no historical knowledge of the periods in question. However, basic skills in the analysis of music are necessary.  

Frequency: Offered every fall semester.

MUSI 343 - Western Music of the 19th Century

This course provides a survey of Western art music from the early works of Ludwig van Beethoven, composed in the mid-1790s, to the symphonic works of the generation of modernist composers born around 1860 (Gustav Mahler, Jean Sibelius, Giacomo Puccini, Richard Strauss). One principal aim of the course is to expose students to a large quantity of multi-national Western music in a variety of genres and styles, thus leading students to a deeper understanding of the development of musical style in the nineteenth century. In addition to the musical works themselves, and no less importantly, the course stresses the contexts surrounding the musical texts. Lectures address the political, cultural, and intellectual history that directed the path of musical style in this period. Students are therefore expected to become familiar not only with specific works and the stylistic footprints of many composers, but also with the significant cultural-historical events and trends that informed composition during this period--the pan-European revolutions of 1848, the aesthetic ideology of autonomous music, the public music culture of the European bourgeoisie, the relationship between musical reception and various strains of European nationalism, and so on. Classroom activities include lectures, directed listening of pieces on the listening list (and sometimes, for comparison, other works), some formal and stylistic analysis, and discussion.

Frequency: Offered every spring semester.

Prerequisite(s)

permission of instructor.

MUSI 350 - American Pop, Rockabilly, and Soul, 1954-64

This course provides an in-depth look at one crucial period in American popular-music history, addressing in particular the roles that racial categories played in the production, dissemination, and reception of music in three dominant streams within the culture of American popular music. Topics for close study will include: Sam Philips's practices of recording of black and white musicians for Sun Studios in Memphis during the 1950s; the early "crossover" hits of such recording arts as Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley; the doo wop repertory and theories of whiteness; issues of race, gender, and sexuality in the music of the "girl groups"; and a comparison of white-owned Stax Records and black-owned Motown in the early-mid 1960s. The course will move from a broad overview of the era at the beginning of the semester, through a discussion of conceptual, critical, and methodological issues, and into more detailed case studies of various recording artists, institutions, and repertories. The course aims to examine ways in which social and historical constructions of race operated on many levels, from the national industry (e.g., the Billboard charts), to regional and local scenes (e.g., the studio and "space/place" theory), to performative, technological, and aesthetic realms that intersect directly with issues of subjectivity and identity. This course is intended for upper-level majors and minors in Music and American Studies. It is designated as a seminar and not a lecture course; students will be responsible for leading class on a regular basis, coming prepared with handouts and sets of questions/topics for discussion.

Frequency: Generally offered alternate years.

Cross-Listed as

  AMST 350

MUSI 361 - Composition

Instruction in composition starting with exercises in motific and harmonic manipulation of materials, and leading to directed composition for available performers. Meetings will be as a group and as individuals. Composers will have at least two works performed on scheduled evening concerts.

Frequency: Fall semester.

Prerequisite(s)

 MUSI 213 or permission of the instructor

MUSI 370 - Conducting

Emphasizes basic techniques, including beat patterns, baton techniques, score preparation and rehearsal techniques.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s)

permission of instructor.

MUSI 394 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

MUSI 405 - Ethnomusicology

This course introduces students to the field of ethnomusicology through its philosophical foundation, theoretical models, and disciplinary practices. Topics include comparative approach, structuralist/functionalist models, cultural relativism, organology, bi-musicality, reflexivity, post/modernism, among other recent research directions. Assignments are designed to develop skills in musical fieldwork, transcription and analysis, as well as preparing and presenting scholarly findings in ethnographic disciplines. This course is aimed primarily for students of music and/or anthropology.

Prerequisite(s)

Basic knowledge or experience in world music and performance recommended

Cross-Listed as

ANTH 405

MUSI 425 - Seminar in Composers/Genres

Intended for upper-level majors and minors in Music, this course provides the opportunity for in-depth study of the works of a single composer, or of several works within a given genre or historical era. Topics will change regularly; recent offerings have included Beethoven, Verdi, and Shostakovich. In addition to close analysis of significant works, course readings from the from the musicological and culture-critical literature will also introduce students to both classic and current scholarship in these topics. Skills in musical analysis are essential for this course. This course may be taken twice and counted both times toward the Music major or minor if the topic is different.

Frequency: Offered alternate years.

Prerequisite(s)

  MUSI 114 (Theory II). MUSI 213 (Theory III: Form and Analysis) also highly recommended. Permission of instructor.

MUSI 488 - Senior Project

Intensive guided preparation for the presentation of a project involving recital performance, composition and/or music research.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor

MUSI 494 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

MUSI 601 - Tutorial

Tutorials are available for advanced study. Typical areas include counterpoint, composition, advanced choral or instrumental conducting, orchestration, and research. See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

MUSI 602 - Tutorial

Tutorials are available for advanced study. Typical areas include counterpoint, composition, advanced choral or instrumental conducting, orchestration, and research. See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

MUSI 603 - Tutorial

Tutorials are available for advanced study. Typical areas include counterpoint, composition, advanced choral or instrumental conducting, orchestration, and research. See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

MUSI 604 - Tutorial

Tutorials are available for advanced study. Typical areas include counterpoint, composition, advanced choral or instrumental conducting, orchestration, and research. See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

MUSI 611 - Independent Project

See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

MUSI 612 - Independent Project

See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

MUSI 613 - Independent Project

See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

MUSI 614 - Independent Project

See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

MUSI 621 - Internship

See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.

MUSI 622 - Internship

See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.

MUSI 623 - Internship

See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.

MUSI 624 - Internship

See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.

MUSI 631 - Preceptorship

See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.

MUSI 632 - Preceptorship

See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.

MUSI 633 - Preceptorship

See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.

MUSI 634 - Preceptorship

See the Independent Study section of this catalog.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.