The Schulich School of Music offers a range of inter-disciplinary seminars with diverse topics ranging from the performing body, questions of authenticity and performance practice, music historiography, different analytical approaches, to pedagogical strategies in varied settings. The music explored ranges from the 16th-century motet and Bach, through Beethoven, Mahler and Wagner to jazz, and contemporary musical practices, with improvisation, theories of rhythm, and explorations of death and memory among key thematic perspectives.
Whether exploring repertoire through a famous conductor, historically informed performance practice, contemporary music notation, or the words and “touch” of Adorno as he worked at the piano, the seminars nurture out-of-box thinking through the ways in which composers, theorists, musicologists, performers, and educators collaborate together in discussions and class activities.
New initiatives include:
- "The Art, Study and Practices of Listening" (IPLAI seminar, Prof. Martha de Francisco)
- "The Socio-Cultural Study of Music" (Prof. Georgina Born, Schulich Distinguished Visiting Chair)
Students are encouraged to explore seminars under all areas.
205-2016 Course offerings may be adjusted over the summer.
Seminars in the Department of Music Research
(Complementary Seminars for Performance Students)
Topic: The Art, Study and Practices of Listening
The seminar will explore how learned auditory skills and fine discrimination constitute an essential requirement for the practice of many professions. While critical listening of music will be the guiding motif, invited speakers will lead the class in their exploration of listening as a main component in a variety of areas of human life. Topics will include critical listening in music performance and composition, music instrument making, record production, as well as listening in psychology, in the neurosciences, listening in psychiatry, in education, in theatre, communications, and in the preservation of oral tradition with the means of storytelling. Students will be encouraged to develop their own projects based on one or more topics addressed in the seminar. Evaluation will be based on class participation and discussion, a mid-term paper (3-5 pages introducing your project) and a final presentation consisting of either a research paper (15-20 pages) or a creative project and accompanying description/analysis (10-12 pages).
MUGT 611 Seminar-Music Education 2 | 3 credits | Professor Lisa Lorenzino | Fall
Topic: Global Trends in Formal, Informal, and Non-Formal Music Teaching
This seminar is unique in its international focus as it investigates varied pedagogical practices of music education. Students critically discuss formal, informal, and non-formal music teaching in a range of settings including curricular, extra-curricular, community based, online, and autodidactic learning. Specific topics studied include rote learning, improvisation and the master/apprentice model, among other teaching methodologies.
A major focus of the seminar will be the global dissemination of El Sistema, the Venezuelan orchestral training program for disenfranchised youth. Now operating in over 60 nations, El Sistema is providing a new model for music education with a social justice focus. Other models studied, in less detail, will include initiatives such as New Horizons International and Musical Futures.
Class sessions will be augmented by guest lecturers, both live and via SKYPE. Students will have the opportunity to be involved in the collection of qualitative data via semi-structured interviews in a project of their choice.
Evaluation will include 1-2 research papers and an in-class presentation as well as other small assignments.
Topic: The Socio-Cultural Study of Music
This course will meet on Sept. 14, 21, 28, Oct. 5, 19, 26, Nov. 2, 9, 30 and Dec. 7.
This course introduces students to the socio-cultural study of music. The focus is mainly on contemporary music, although the themes covered are also relevant to historical musicology. Topics include: the politics and social dimensions of music; the materiality of music, and music and technology; music's relation to subjectivity and affect, to ethics and aesthetics; music and space; music and time; and musical genre. The course ranges mainly across the anthropology and sociology of music and popular music studies. Throughout, the need for interdisciplinary perspectives on music is addressed through the idea of a ‘relational musicology’ in which, along with musical sounds, the material, social and affective qualities of music are given weight, and in which, rather than isolating particular musical cultures, they are analysed in their relations with one another. Course requirements include weekly readings, participation in class discussions, occasional presentations and a final paper. Evaluation will be based on how well the course requirements have been undertaken.
MUHL 682 Seminar in Musicology 3 | 3 credits | Professor David Brackett | Fall
Topic: Topics in Historiography
“Historiography” generally refers to the writing of history, the philosophy of history, and "the history of history." This course aims to expose students to issues in all three domains of historiography, especially as they pertain to the writing of music history. Recurring course themes will include forms and conceptualizations of time and historical continuity and change; modes of historical description; and the state of music historiography today. Course requirements include weekly reading and listening assignments, written responses to the assignments, several class presentations, participation in discussions, and a final paper. Evaluation will be based on how well and thoroughly the course requirements are completed.
MUHL 683 Seminar in Musicology 4 | 3 credits | Professor Roe-Min Kok | Fall
Topic: Death and Memory
In this seminar, we shall study notions of death and its corollary, memory, in music from different historical periods. Understood as a fundamental force in the life cycle, mortality has long fascinated creative artists working in various media. Readings about cultural and social practices and religious beliefs about human suffering, disease, demise and mourning will inform our analyses of musical works. The seminar focuses on music of the eighteenth through early twentieth centuries; however, participants will be encouraged to explore other repertories in their final projects. Evaluation will be based on in-class presentations, a final paper proposal, a final paper and attendance/ participation/ professionalism.
MUMT 616 Timbre Form-Bearing Dim in Mus | 3 credits | Professor Stephen McAdams | Fall
Topic: Timbre Form-Bearing Dimension in Music
This seminar explores music theoretic, performance-related, psychophysical, and cognitive perspectives on musical timbre and its role as a bearer of musical form, with particular emphasis on the perceptual results of orchestration practice. Evaluation will be based on active participation in class discussions and student-led debates [20%], a 20-minute in-class presentation of an individual project followed by 15 minutes of discussion [20%], and two 45-minutes in-class presentations of group projects (one on analyses of selected pieces of music [25%], one on the results of a thought experiment involving those pieces [35%]), followed by 30 minutes of discussion.
MUMT 618 Comp. Model of Music Acoustics | 3 credits | Professor Gary Scavone| Fall
Topic: Computational Modeling of Musical Acoustics
Methods for discrete-time modeling of musical acoustic systems, with an emphasis on digital waveguide techniques. Delay-based audio effects, artificial reverberation, musical instrument models and “physically-informed” approaches to sound synthesis. Prior experience with differential equations, digital filters, Matlab, and C/C++ is required. Evaluation will be based on weekly homework, in-class presentations, and a final course project.
MUTH 653 Seminar in Music Theory 2 | 3 credits | Professor Christoph Niedhöfer | Fall
Topic: The Music-Analytical Writings of Adorno
This seminar focuses on the seminal music-analytical writings of philosopher-composer Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969). We will study his monographs on Berg, Mahler, and Wagner, Philosophy of New Music, his texts on Beethoven and other specific repertoire, as well as the recently released archival recordings of him analyzing at the piano in Darmstadt. We will analyze key works discussed by Adorno (including Beethoven’s Six Bagatelles op. 126, Berg’s Lyric Suite, the Finale from Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, Trude Rittmann’s Kammersuite, Webern’s Six Bagatelles op. 9, and Adorno’s own Four Songs op. 7), critically examining his writings against analytical evidence from the scores themselves and in conjunction with a study of the secondary literature. Furthermore, we will explore ramifications of Adorno’s music criticism in the context of musical repertoire not addressed in his texts. Course requirements include weekly assigned readings, listening, and analysis, two in-class presentations, a midterm essay, and a final paper. Performance-analysis of solo or small chamber pieces in class will be especially encouraged.
MUTH 654 Seminar in Music Theory 3 | 3 credits | Professor Nicole Biamonte | Fall
Topic: Theories of Rhythm and Meter
In this seminar we will investigate the organization of musical time, exploring different conceptions of the relationship between meter and rhythm, and their interactions with other musical parameters such as form, texture and harmony. We will examine and assess theories of rhythm and meter developed in the last 20th and 21st centuries, including those of Berry, Lehrdahl and Jackendoff, Krebs, Hasty, Cohn, London and others. Theories will be applied analytically to Western art and popular musics, with discussion of implications for performance. Coursework will consist of weekly readings and analysis assignments, class discussions, and a final project consisting of a research paper and a class presentation. Evaluation will be based on brief written assignments (summaries, reading responses and analyses), participation in class discussion and the final paper and presentation.
Performance and Performance Practice Seminars
(Open to Performance Students)
MUPP 690 Performance Practice Seminar 1 | 3 credits | Professor Jean-Sébastien Vallée | Fall
Topic: History and Literature of Large Vocal Forms
This seminar will provide an overview of literature of large choral/vocal forms from Renaissance through the twentieth century, including in-depth study of specific examples. Historical, stylistic, and analytical elements of these works will be discussed. Upon successful completion of this seminar, students will be able to trace the history and development of selected large-form genres—cantata, oratorio, mass, requiem—and name composers and works most associated with these genres; students will be able to give a detailed accounting of selected repertoire within these genres, and the performance practices necessary to give historically accurate interpretations. Students will be familiar with repertoire in related genres for large choral/orchestral forces, and the composers associated with this repertoire. Students will have a methodology for approaching the task of performing large-form choral works.
Evaluation will be based on class discussion, short analysis assignments, individual in-class presentations and a final paper.
MUPP 691 Perf Practice Seminar 2 | 3 credits | Professor Lena Weman | Fall
Topic: The development of the Early Music Movement and the Historical Informed Performance Practice
Historical informed performance practice, now an established way of performing music, exists as a parallel track alongside what is often called mainstream performance practice. However, only 20-30 years ago the debate was still very much alive and the wish for an informed performance practice on period instruments was questioned, sometimes fiercely. And defended just as intensely.
In this seminar we will try to understand this development and to contextualize it primarily from a performer’s perspective, including looking at, and discussing modern treatises.
Evaluation will be based on class participation, assignments, and a final paper partly presented in class.
MUPP 692 Perf Practice Seminar 3 | 3 credits | Professor Mark Fewer | Fall
Topic: Improvisation for Strings
This course offers classical violinists, violists, cellists and double bassists the opportunity to study styles of improvisation from the early baroque through to present day jazz. Techniques for developing improvisational skills specific to string players will be the main focus. Repertoire studied will include works of J.S. Bach, Corelli, Locatelli, Pandolfi and others. Performing styles of Ray Nance, Stuff Smith, Stephane Grapelli, Joe Venuti, Jean-Luc Ponty and others will be the focus of a 10-page written paper, discussing the development of improvisational styles of string players in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Evaluation will be based on weekly participation/performing – 70% and Final paper/performance – 30%.
MUPP 693 Perf Practice Seminar 4 | 3 credits | Professor Guillaume Bourgogne | Fall
Topic: Introduction to Conducting
For graduate performance and composition students wishing to develop or further their conducting skills, this seminar has three goals: 1) discovering the great conductors in history; 2) acquiring the technical basis of conducting; 3) and putting this technique into practice.
In one half of each class, students will apply what they have learned to the development of their own technique: first, through the acquisition of technical fundamentals in harmony with their own bodies and personalities; second, through the study of techniques for analysing and preparing scores before starting rehearsals.
The second part of each class will be devoted to practising with a chamber ensemble made up of students in the seminar. Students will exchange the roles of conductor and performer. Students, consequently, will be introduced to transcriptions and transcription skills in order to adapt repertoire to the instrumentation and needs of the class. Student composers may be able to use their own works, if adapted to the instrumentation.
For the research papers, students will have two options:
1) Analyse the style and body language of an important conductor in the history of music and present the results through a written paper and a 25 minute in-class presentation elaborated by excerpts of the videos collected for analysis. By sharing these analyses in class with one another, this project will allow students to develop their knowledge of orchestral conducting history and expression through the body.
2) Transcription of a piece chosen in consultation with the instructor to be used with the class chamber ensemble as part of its repertoire.
Evaluation will be based on attendance and participation (50%), paper and in-class presentation about historical conductors or transcription (25%), and the evolution of basic skills (25%)
MUPP 694 Performance Practice Seminar 5 | 3 credits | Professor Aiyun Huang | Fall
Topic: Decoding Contemporary Music Scores: Approaches, Methods and Interpretations from the Performer’s Perspective
This course is designed for performers who want to play contemporary music. Topics include: how to approach unconventional scores, music memory, learning and practicing, theatricality and gesture, open works, and improvisation. Through the course, students will gain comprehensive perspectives on aspects of contemporary music practice. Repertoire includes Ferneyhough, Xenakis, Stockhausen, Globokar, Aperghis, Kagel, Andriessen, Rzewski and Zorn. Evaluation will be based on class participation (25%), weekly assignment (25%), presentation (25%), and final paper (25%).
MUPG 575D1 Liturgical Organ Playing | 3 credits | TBA | Fall
Topic: Liturgical Organ Playing
This seminar focuses on the development of skills in the leadership and accompaniment of hymns, the accompaniment of sung psalmody (particularly Anglican and Gregorian), and the conducting of choral music while accompanying at the organ. Additionally, regular instruction in techniques of improvisation will focus in particular upon hymn introductions and free accompaniments.
MUPG 590 Vocal Styles and Conventions | 3 credits | Professor Patrick Hansen | Fall
Topic: Vocal Styles and Conventions
This seminar emphasizes vocal performance practices through practical application: text, language, inflection, pronunciation and interpretation considered with the individuality of each student’s voice and technical development. After examining historical treatises, students will discuss and present musical selections using modern performance standards while remaining true to the stylistic demands of each period.
MUPG 678 Seminar in Perf Topics 2 | 3 credits | Professor Rémi Bolduc | Fall
Topic: Advanced Improvisation Seminar
The goal of the seminar is to help students develop their own musical voice by researching the improvisational ideas and approaches of various jazz artists. With approval of the instructor, students will choose the artists to be studied and will be responsible for transcribing compositions and improvised solos by these musicians. Students will also have the opportunity to play the music in class and receive feedback from the instructor and their peers, with approximately one third of class time spent performing. The instructor will begin the seminar by presenting his own ideas and insights about specific mentors. There will be at least three transcriptions and written analyses required from each student, as well as weekly practice assignments derived from the material. Evaluation will be based on the quality of the analyses, transcriptions and ideas the students bring to the seminar, and on their ability to incorporate those ideas into their playing.
Seminars in the Department of Music Research
(Complementary Seminars for Performance Students)
MUCO 635 Seminar in Composition 5 | 3 credits | Professor Philippe Leroux | Winter
Topic: Functions and Hierarchies Within Musical Discourse
Without being a language in the strict sense of the word, music can be considered as a meaningful sound system, which establishes communication between those who make music and those who listen to it. Although it is a manifestation of the imagination, music is built in ways similar to speech, and so exhibits a logical sequence of sound events based on functions and hierarchies. The seminar proposes to explore these latter features through the concepts of rhetoric, narration, temporality, morphology, taxonomy, and phrasing.
A number of theories related to these features will be examined that cover both the analysis of musical discourse and the composition. Many musical works from the repertory will be used to illustrate the various concepts and to help students explore the possible ways of employing such theoretical materials in the creation and analysis of musical works.
Evaluation will be based upon the oral and a written presentation of an analysis of a composition from the perspective of one of the theories presented, (50%), together with an oral presentation of some research based upon the main concepts related to the functions and hierarchies contained in musical discourse (50%).
MUGT 613 Seminar-Music Education 4 | 3 credits | Professor Isabelle Cossette | Winter
Topic: Understanding the Performing Body
This course is designed for performance, pedagogy and music education students interested in understanding how to use their body in an optimal, healthy and efficient way.
Class sessions provide the opportunity to explore knowledge that will seed the inquiry on issues related to the use of body during music playing. Students will develop their critical thinking on topics like health of musicians, musculoskeletal injuries, breathing strategies, neuroplasticity, nutrition, and other topics related to students’ interests. Discussions based on readings, presentations and lab visits will allow the students to apply theoretical knowledge to their practicing routine, performance or teaching skills.
Evaluation will be based on class preparation, in-class and online participation, presentations, annotated bibliography and a final project that will require the integration of research, writing, critical thinking and/or pedagogical skills.
MUHL 681 Seminar in Musicology 2 | 3 credits | Professor Julie Cumming | Winter
Topic: Compositional Process in the Sixteenth-century Motet
The motet was the most important genre of sacred music in the sixteenth century, but there has been no single serious study of the genre as a whole for the period. We will look at the Renaissance motet after Josquin (c. 1520 to 1600), including motets by Mouton, Willaert, Gombert, Lassus, Palestrina, Byrd, and others. Members of the seminar will learn about the production and dissemination of the repertoire, as well as about compositional practice and style, with reference to the following topics and approaches.
Prints and manuscripts: the sixteenth century saw the rise of music printing, and a new kind of musical collection: the single-composer print. Manuscript anthologies remained important as well. We will identify the most popular motets of the period (based on the work of Jennifer Thomas), as well as often reprinted volumes of motets by prominent composers. Compositional process: most composers were trained to improvise counterpoint as choirboys. Building on the work of Schubert and Cumming, we will look at the ways in which improvisational techniques were used in the composition of motets, and how composers worked without aligning the different voice parts in score (as described by Jessie Ann Owens). Style: how do you describe the style of an individual composer in the Renaissance? We will look at the following issues: textures and imitative technique; characteristic melodic patterns; form; choice and treatment of texts. Students will characterize the style of an individual composer of their choice.
Evaluation will be based on weekly reading and score study, individual presentations (on musical sources, individual works, and composers) and a final paper (with multiple drafts).
MUHL 682 Seminar in Musicology 3 | 3 credits | Professor Lisa Barg | Winter
Topic: Modernism & Transnational Histories
This seminar will trace a series of modernist musical border crossings through a set of diverse but interrelated historical routes encompassing both popular and concert music, and will examine the concept and practices of transnationalism in relation to colonial modernity, cosmopolitanism, globalization and issues of racial and gender subjectivity. Related theoretical topics that will be explored include those of diasporic identity, travel, translation and the cultural politics of memory. Readings will be drawn from musicology, jazz and popular music studies, modernist literary studies, transatlantic performance studies, feminist and critical race theory, and case studies traversing a broad musical field (minstrelsy, vaudeville, Broadway, concert hall, café, radio and film). Class sessions will be devoted to discussion of the readings and, when appropriate, listening and/or video viewing.
Evaluation will be based on presentations, weekly commentaries on selected readings, and a fifteen- to twenty-page research paper on a topic of the students' choice.
MUHL 684 Seminar in Musicology 5 | 3 credits | Professor Steven Huebner and François de Medicis (Univ. De Montréal) | Winter
Topic: Orientalism in French Music from David to Diaghilev, 1830-1930
This course will be taught in alternating weeks at each institution.
An exploration of the cultural impact of Eastern cultures on French music in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The course will begin by setting a theoretical, art historical, and political framework for orientalist culture in this period. It will continue with close study of mélodies with exotic subjects by composers such as Bizet, Debussy, and Ravel. It will then take an approach that addresses representations of various historical/geographical spaces such as the biblical Middle East, ancient Greece, Spain, Russia, and the Indian subcontinent. Prominent scholars in the field will be invited for guest lectures. Oral comprehension and reading knowledge of French are required, speaking knowledge is not. Classes will be conducted in English and French, but students may participate in the language of their choice. Evaluation will be based on class participation, class presentations, study day report, and a final paper.
MUMT 619 Input Devices for Music. Expr. | 3 credits | Professor Marcelo Wanderley | Winter
Topic: Input Devices for Musical Expression
Basic technologies used in the design of input devices for musical expression, including the most common types of electronic sensors, actuators and associated conditioning circuits and examples of their application to gestural controllers. Prior knowledge of analog electronics required.
Evaluation will be based on assignments and a final project.
MUMT 620 Gestural Control of Sound Syn. | 3 credits | Professor Marcelo Wanderley | Winter
Topic: Gestural Control of Sound Synthesis
This seminar examines the use of computers as part of novel digital musical instruments, including physical gestures and actions, design and evaluation of new interfaces for musical expression, and mapping strategies between gestures and sounds. Basic knowledge of sound synthesis methods is required.
Evaluation will be based on summaries of papers, student presentation, project proposal, and a project presentation.
MUMT 622 Time-Freq.&Param. Rep. of Snds | 3 credits | Professor Philippe Depalle | Winter
Topic: Time-Frequency & Parameter Rep. of Sounds
Research trends in time-frequency representations and parametric modeling applied to music and audio. Specific focus on atomic decomposition, matching pursuit, wavelet, and parametric analysis. Evaluation is based on in-class research literature presentations, and on a final project.
MUSR 692 Media Theory&Pract Seminar 3 | 3 credits | Professor Martha DeFrancisco | Winter
Topic: Media Theory and Practice Seminar
This seminar is open to second year graduate sound recording students and graduate performance students only. Short recordings of professional standard will be realized with the participation of music students as performers, a recording producer and the recording students as the recording team. All steps will be followed from the preparation to the realization of the recording, the postproduction including editing and mixing and the preparation of the master. Performance and Sound Recording students will work as partners in the recording process. Some sessions will be directed at musicians, some at recording engineers, and some at both.
Evaluation will be based on active in-class participation and presentations, the results of individual work on the postproduction of the recordings, and a final paper.
MUTH 656 Seminar in Music Theory 5 | 3 credits | Professor William Caplin | Winter
Topic: Theories of Musical Form
The seminar will consider recent theories of form for music of various tonal styles. Hands-on analytical work will be based on the instructor’s theory of formal functions (Analyzing Classical Form, Oxford 2014). Readings will be drawn from a variety of new approaches, including Hepokoski and Darcy’s “Sonata Theory,” Vande Moortele’s “Two-dimensional Sonata Forms,” Martin’s analysis of opera arias, Burstein’s adaptations of Koch’s “punctuation” form, Monahan’s analyses of Mahler, etc.
Evaluation will be based on small analytical assignments, presentation of readings, presentation of a term paper and a final written term paper.
MUTH 657 Seminar in Music Theory 6 | 3 credits | Professor Robert Hasegawa | Winter
Topic: Pedagogy of Post-Tonal Theory and Analysis
This seminar seeks to reassess current approaches to teaching the theory and analysis of post-tonal music. We will explore ways to complement and extend the familiar “sets and series” approach of most textbooks, critically re-evaluating the value of these theories in an increasingly diverse musical landscape. Questions for investigation will include: How can concepts and tools from the scholarly literature inform our teaching practice? How can musicianship training and model composition be integrated with analysis? What makes a good analytical assignment? What pieces should we incorporate into the canon of post-tonal music? Regular analysis assignments and presentations will complement readings on pedagogy, theory and analysis.
Evaluation will be based on class participation, teaching demonstrations, written assignments, and a final research paper.
MUTH 658 History of Music Theory 1 | 3 credits | Professor Peter Schubert | Winter
Topic: History of Music Theory 1
Highlights in the history of music theory from Aristoxenus to Zarlino, Plato to Playford. Topics include dividing the musical space, tuning, affinitites, mode, counterpoint, and rhetoric, through substantial weekly readings for class discussion. Evaluation will be based on class participation (10%), two presentations (15% each), two quizzes (15% each), and a final paper ca. 20 pp. (30%).
Performance and Performance Practice Seminars
(Open to Performance Students)
MUPP 690 Performance Practice Seminar 1 | 3 credits | Professor Jean-Sébastien Vallée | Winter
Topic: Music and Authenticity
Authenticity in music has a variety of meanings related to different ways in which a composition or a performance may be considered authentic. For example, should one consider the first performance of a work as the authoritative source for authenticity? Is there a difference between what a composer wrote, what he wanted and what he may have wished for? How do these considerations affect one’s approach to authenticity in music? This seminar will first discuss the concept of authenticity in the Historically Informed Performance movement to then focus on philosophical reflections and discussions of musical performance and aesthetics. Students will look into several musical styles and genres to observe and discuss how the meaning and definition of an ‘authentic performance’ varies. The principal reading for this seminar will be Peter Kivy’s Authenticities.
Evaluation will be based on class discussion, short literature review, concert review, individual in-class presentations and a final paper.
MUPP 691 Perf Practice Seminar 2 | 3 credits | Professor Lena Weman-Ericsson | Winter
Topic: Bach’s sacred cantatas
The cantatas by J. S. Bach are an endless source of inspiration. In this seminar, we will explore the immediate fascination of this fantastic music. The different layers of meaning such as text, rhetoric writing, harmonization, the use of chorales, “writing for the eye”, instrumentation, etc., as well as the historical and religious context will be examined. A number of cantatas from different perspectives in class will be explored through presentations and lectures.
Evaluation will be based on class participation, assignments, including presentations in class, and a final paper partly presented in class.
MUPG 691 Vocal Ornamentation | 3 credits | Professor Valerie Kinslow | Winter
Topic: Vocal Ornementation
This seminar provides an introduction to the major treatises with emphasis on their practical application to modern performance. Through the study and discussion of both primary and secondary sources, students will observe and compare national styles. Special topics include the conventions of recitative, text-driven embellishment, and ornamentation in Handel's dramatic works. Evaluation will be based on two presentations, which may include the performance of embellished airs.