Graduate Seminar Offerings 2018-2019

Offerings are organized below by area, but students are encouraged to explore seminars under all headings.

Registration in seminars is usually limited to 12 students per class (14 for Performance Practice (MUPP) and Performance (MUPG) seminars. In cases where too many students have registered for a seminar, some students may be asked to drop the course.

The following priority list will be followed:

  1. Music students in a specific program for whom the seminar is required and who need the seminar to graduate in the year in which it is offered.
  2. Music students in a specific program for whom the seminar is required.
  3. Music students in a specific program for whom the seminar is an elective seminar.
  4. Other McGill students in graduate programs (music and non-music).
  5. Visiting graduate students.
  6. McGill undergraduate music students who have the necessary prerequisites.
  7. Other McGill undergraduate students who have the necessary prerequisites.
  8. Visiting undergraduate music students.
  9. Special Students.

If you cannot register on MINERVA for a course you would like to take, contact the instructor by email to indicate your interest and attend the first class.

You must Register for seminars on Minerva. DO NOT REGISTER FOR MORE THAN 2 seminars per semester.

If you are interested in more seminars, or seminars which you cannot register for, contact the instructor via email to indicate your interest and attend the first class

NOTE: Course offerings may be adjusted over the summer

Seminars in the Department of Music Research
(Complementary Seminars for Performance Students)
Fall 2018


MUCO 635 Seminar in Composition 5  – CRN 26628 | 3 credits | Professor John Rea | Fall

Topic: The Paradoxes of Opera

Once, not so long ago, composers were of two minds about opera – as in ‘first music, then the words’ or ‘words, then music second’. Today they are more likely to be of three, four, or even five minds about it, as they delve into any- and everything that can stimulate their sonorous imaginations. Embracing influences without anxiety, they borrow materials and/or modes of presentation drawn from sister art forms, and do so (one presumes) in order to steer singers, listeners and commentators alike toward an appreciation of a ‘new’ old concinnity that actually and paradoxically ought to be called das unendliche Gesamtskunstwerk.

In this seminar, we examine various 20th – 21st century operas with a view to understanding their materials both musical (instrumental fabrics/textures, structures/forms, sound world [harmony vs.inharmony], discourse/rhetoric) as well as non-musical (literature, painting, cinema, video, theatre, dance, circus, rock shows, television, current events, etc.). We will also try to situate and critically assess compositional achievements with regard to overall artistic ends and means.

In addition to writing three short summaries of articles provided by the instructor, students are also responsible for one or two in-class oral presentations of an opera. Students also complete one extensive written final essay due ten (10) days after the last meeting of the class. 

Music Education

MUGT 612 Seminar-Music Education 3 – CRN 22858 | 3 credits | Professor Lisa Lorenzino | Fall

Topic: Music Education and Social Justice

Music Education and Social Justice: Of interest to both Performance and Music Research students, this course will investigate world wide initiatives related to music education and social justice. A range of articles will be critically analyzed highlighting current work both in the private studio and in institutionalized settings. In addition, the underlying philosophy of pedagogy supporting each initiative will be investigated. Building upon the work of Paulo Freire and other Liberation Pedagogues, the seminar will provide students an opportunity to evaluate existing paradigms as well as to propose new initiatives. The course will be evaluated through student presentations, research papers and contributions to classroom discussions.


MUHL 680 Seminar in Musicology 1 – CRN 6787 | 3 credits | Professor Lloyd Whitesell | Fall

Topic: Music for Film

In the past one hundred years, film has offered significant creative opportunities for composers, as it has assumed a primary role in mainstream cultural literacy. The seminar will survey essential tools of analysis and narrative interpretation, the better to explore music’s role in this multimedia genre, in terms of entertainment value as well as artistic sophistication. Topics will include diegetic status, style topics, point of view, form, temporality, transsensory perception, and the uses of indeterminacy. Readings will cover classic work in film music studies as well as recent developments. Evaluation will be based on class participation, occasional short assignments, and a final paper/presentation.

MUHL 682 Seminar in Musicology 3  – CRN 20832 | 3 credits | Professor Lisa Barg | Fall

Topic: Modernism & Transnational Histories

This seminar traces modernist histories in a global musical context encompassing popular and art music traditions. We will examine the concept, politics and practices of transnationalism in relation to cosmopolitanism, (post)colonialism, globalization and issues of representation and appropriation, and racial and gender subjectivity. Related theoretical topics that will be explored include those of diasporic identity, travel, translation, performance and the cultural politics of memory. Readings will be drawn from a variety of disciplines (including musicology, ethnomusicology, jazz and popular music studies, media studies, feminist and critical race theory), and case studies will cover a variety of performance contexts and media culture (concert hall, cabaret, minstrelsy, vaudeville, ballroom, radio, recordings and film). Class sessions will be devoted to discussing 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 your choice.

Music Technology

MUMT 605 Digit Sound Synth&Aud Process  CRN 13993| 3 credits | Professor Philippe Depalle | Fall

Topic: Digital Sound Synthesis and Audio Processing

Most digital sound synthesis methods and audio processing techniques are based on the spectral representation of sound signals. This seminar starts with a theoretical and practical study of spectral representation, spectral analysis, and spectral modification of sound signals. Digital sound synthesis and sound processing techniques are then presented as specific spectral modeling or alterations from which their capabilities, properties, and limitations are deduced. Techniques explored in this context include the phase-vocoder, additive synthesis, source-filter synthesis, non-linear (distortion) processing, and audio effects. Available Computer Music software and ad hoc pieces of software are used as examples and illustrations. Evaluation will be based on two assignments (25% each), one in-class presentation (15%), and a final project (35%).

MUMT 618 Comp. Model of Music Acoustics | – CRN 26097 | 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

Music Theory

MUTH 652 Seminar in Music Theory 1 – CRN 22311 | 3 credits | Professor Nicole Biamonte | Fall

Topic: Rhythm and Meter in Popular Musics

In this seminar we will examine patterns of rhythm and meter in various genres of popular music, including blues, jazz, rock, funk, and rap music. We will survey theories of rhythm and meter developed for both art music and popular music, and explore and assess their analytical applications to the genres listed above. The course will focus particularly on the interactions of rhythm, meter, and hypermeter with the layers of musical texture and with formal sections. We will also investigate performance issues such as microtiming variations in swing and shuffle beats, as well as other participatory discrepancies, and the consider the problems that these performance practices pose for transcription. Coursework will consist of weekly reading and analysis assignments, class discussions, and a final project consisting of a theoretical or analytical research paper and a class presentation based on this work. Students will be evaluated on the basis of assignments, participation in class discussion, and the final project.

MUTH 659 History of Music Theory 2 | 3 credits | Professor William Caplin | Fall

Topic: History of Music Theory

A survey of the major theoretical writings on harmony, rhythm, and form from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Theorists to be studied include Rameau, Kirnberger, Koch, Sechter, Hauptmann, Marx, Riemann, and Kurth. Evaluation based on a mid-term exam (20%); final exam (40%), and research paper (40%).

Performance and Performance Practice Seminars
(Open to Performance Students – MUPP seminars are counted as Music Research Seminars for Performance Students)


MUPP 690 Performance Practice Seminar 1 – CRN 6791 | 3 credits | Professor Jean-Sébastien Vallée | Fall

Topic: History and Literature of Large Vocal Forms

This seminar provides 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.

MUPP 691 Perf Practice Seminar 2 – CRN 21389 | 3 credits | Professor TBD | Fall

Topic: "Tango Through Time: history, analysis and performance practice

The purpose of this seminar is to facilitate a stronger knowledge and appreciation of the Tango, as a rich and complex cultural phenomenon of Argentina. Exploring its many faces both in its place of origin as well as in the international arena, this seminar will trace its historical and stylistic musical trajectories discussing in depth its multiple dimensions; music, dance and poetry with particular focus on its instrumental evolution. Emphasis will be placed on the study of performance practice techniques by playing some major works of the repertoire through small chamber music ensembles. As the tango emerged off the coast of Rio de la Plata’s cultural melting pot and quickly expanded throughout the world, this course will discuss the influence and reception of the tango, as a nomadic art form, in other cultures such as Finland, Japan and Canada. In order to give a broader spectrum of this musical style, the course will also draw on specific examples of the tango’s influences in other arts, such as film and literature, as well as in other fields, such as science and gender studies. Activities will consist of group discussions, readings, and listening sessions as well as live performances and demonstrations by guest speakers to enhance students’ experience and awareness. Students will be evaluated based on participation in class discussions about the reading and listening assignments, as well as their chamber music presentation and final paper

MUPP 692 Perf Practice Seminar 3 – CRN 17966| 3 credits | Professor Lena Weman | Fall

Topic: Baroque Dance Music and JS Bach

The genre of dance music is surprisingly present in the music by JS Bach. One will find movements labelled with dance titles, or movements without obvious titles but still clearly influenced by different dances. The greatest source of influence came from France with its ballets and court entertainment.

This seminar will focus on the influences, the connections and the importance of the French dance music on JS Bach’s music, predominantly on the instrumental music even though there dance forms to be found in his vocal music, including the sacred vocal music. What forms and types are there? What are the consequences of the different dance genres for a performance?

As a background we will also familiarize ourselves with typical late 17th Century and early 18th Century French dance music by composers such as Lully and Couperin.

Evaluation will be based on assignments, active participation, and a final paper, partly presented in class

MUPP 693 Perf Practice Seminar 4 – CRN 21392 | 3 credits | Professor: TBD | Fall

Topic: An Introduction to Contemporary Repertoire and Collaborative Performance Practice

This course — open to fourteen instrumentalists and singers — will provide a survey of collaborative contemporary works for ad hoc ensembles involving instruments and voices. By the end of the course, students will be able to recognize and understand the most important stylistic currents of the last century in relation to their socio-political and technological contexts.

We will also discuss the role of contemporary musicians committed to their artistic and social networks. How they develop their professional practice while preserving an artistic relationship with contemporary creation. What innovative compelling repertoire they include in their concert programs?

The course will also aim at providing its participants with a fertile practical ground for developing entrepreneurial skills rooted in collaboration and a meaningful partnership with audiences and communities.

MUPP 694 Performance Practice Seminar 5 – CRN 19647| 3 credits | Professor: TBD | Fall

Topic: In search of the Orpheus within. Sources for music inspiration from the Middle Ages to the Classical era

‘He continued (playing) with such a ravishing skill that little by little, making the strings languish under his fingers, he transported all those who were listening into so pleasurable melancholy that they reminded deprived of all senses save that one of hearing as if the spirit, having abandoned the body had retired to the ears in order to enjoy the more at its ease so ravishing harmony...’

This is the account of an eye witness to a performance by ‘il divino’ Francesco da Milano in the 16th century, a performance so marvellous that the listeners felt their souls escaping their bodies. From the Middles Ages to the Romantic era countless sources all over Europe depict performers who were able to ‘move the soul’ or to channel moments perceived as ‘divine inspiration’. We are faced with many quandaries about these musical experiences and how we might go about recreating them. Why were these performers so memorable for historical audiences? Did changing musical aesthetics and timeframes alter how these "divinely inspired" musicians played or what sources they drew inspiration from? Is inspiration heavenly acquired, or a reflection of the inner self? How do we as modern performers draw inspiration from these same sources and do we need to adapt our performances to reflect the changing aesthetics for each era? By answering some of these questions hopefully we can allow modern audiences to appreciate the sublime nature of music making.

By the study of treatises, discussions about poetry/philosophy and art, and the analysis of musical compositions, the performance practice seminar ‘in search of the Orpheus within’ will explore the different stimuli performers and composers were exposed form the Middle ages to the Classical era, and how can (or should) affect our way to approach this early repertoire

Department of Performance Seminars (Open to Performance Students): FALL 2018


MUPG 575 course description not available – CRN 22504| 3 credits | Professor TBD | Fall

Topic: Liturgical Organ Playing

This seminar focuses on the development of skill 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 691 Vocal Ornamentation | 3 credits | Professor TBD | Fall

Topic: Vocal Ornamentation

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.

MUPG 677 Seminar in Perf Topics 1 - 26672 | 3 credits | Professor Jacqueline Leclair | Fall

Topic: Contemporary Performance Practice Seminar

This seminar explores contemporary music performance style, notation, performative skills, and interpretation that lie outside of what might be considered “normal” Western music traditions.

Works of the following composers, among others, will be explored: Georges Aperghis, Harrison Birtwistle, Earle Brown, John Cage, Elliott Carter, Brian Cherney, Chick Corea, Chaya Czernowin, Morton Feldman, Brian Ferneyhough, Philip Glass, George Friedrich Haas, Haubenstock-Ramati, Helmut Lachenmann, Bruce Mather, Enno Poppe, Steve Reich, Frederic Rzewski, Salvatore Sciarrino, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Christian Wolff, Charles Wuorinen, Iannis Xenakis, and John Zorn.

The seminar will include weekly readings, score study, listening, and in-class performances. These will all be discussed in class. Students will learn to perform examples of the kinds of music studied, and will keep a journal recording their progress in acquiring new understandings and skills. Each student will write a final paper and do a final presentation in class.

Evaluation will be based on attendance, participation in class discussions, the practice journal, and the final paper and presentation

MUPG 678 Seminar in Perf Topics 2 – CRN 12072 | 3 credits | Professor John Hollenbeck | Fall

Topic: Concentration and Ensemble Practice

The primary exercise used throughout this course seems very simple: to play short quarter notes with the ensemble, while subdividing the beat at a very slow tempo with eyes closed. The shortness of the notes and slow tempo makes it easy to hear if the musicians are together or not. Eyes closed makes it impossible to use visual cues to help the musicians play together. This way, you must rely on your own internal time and subdividing. The simplicity of the exercise is why it is an excellent path to improve concentration skills.

Added to the primary exercise is the additional of long notes, accents, dynamics, specific pitches on specific beats, individual playing and singing of the subdivisions (one at a time), improvisation on the subdivisions, ensemble inclusion of 1-5 extra notes on the subdivision. Each student is expected to practice the basic exercise as a solo exercise in between classes. Throughout the course, there will be class discussions, to talk about the internal experience and issues that come up in the practice. Students will also maintain a journal, detailing their practice and thoughts on the class and individual practice.

To break up the potential monotony of the primary exercise, other exercises involving improvisation will be practiced.

Benefits of the course:

  1. Increased awareness and practice of concentration.
  2. Increased awareness and insight into sound production.
  3. Increased rhythmic awareness and strengthening of internal time.
  4. Practice of pinpoint listening skills.
  5. Ensemble listening and playing.
  6. Understanding and experiencing the power of unison tutti playing.
  7. Body awareness and posture.
  8. Awareness and practice of the efficiency "between the notes”.
  9. Increased ability to be “still".

Evaluation will be based on attendance/participation (75%), and hand-written class journal (25%).

MUPG 695 Grad. Jazz Improv. Seminar – CRN 22509 | 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 636 Seminar in Composition 6 – CRN 18973 | 3 credits | Professor Christoph Neidhöfer | Winter

Topic: Analyzing the Writings of Composers

In their writings composers pursue a variety of interests and goals, from reflecting on their own work and that of other artists to contemplating broader cultural and historical questions. In this seminar we will critically examine selected texts by composers against the historical, political, music-aesthetic, and compositional-technical contexts in which they were working. The focus will be on writings from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, aside from a number of readings from earlier periods, with particular emphasis on texts that deal with compositional technique and music theory from a larger aesthetic perspective. Alongside the texts of each composer we will analyze in depth at least one of their own compositions and/or other music addressed in the writings. The readings include texts by Milton Babbitt, Marion Bauer, Luciano Berio, Hector Berlioz, Pierre Boulez, Ruth Crawford-Seeger, Luigi Dallapiccola, Betsy Jolas, Elisabeth Lutyens, Luigi Nono, Younghi Pagh-Paan, Arnold Schoenberg, Robert Schumann, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and John Weinzweig, additional texts chosen by the seminar participants, and recent scholarship on the genre of composers’ writings. Course requirements include weekly assigned readings, listening, and analysis, two in-class presentations, a midterm essay, and a final paper.

Music Education

MUGT 613 Seminar-Music Education 4 – CRN 6359 | 3 credits | Professor Isabelle Cossette | Winter

Topic: TBD




[course short MUHL 681 - CRN 13581] | 3 credits | Professor Julie Cumming | Winter

Topic: Revisiting the Origins of the Italian Madrigal, 1510 to 1550

The origin of the madrigal is a recurring topic in musicology. Did it evolve out of the frottola (Einstein 1949), the chanson and motet (Fenlon and Haar 1988) or Florentine song (A. Cummings 2004)? We will investigate this topic, with a special focus on music in Florence, 1510-1530. Issues will include: research tools for Renaissance music; the Questione della musica (the debate about which kind of Italian was appropriate for new Italian literature equal to that of the ancients); Florentine culture in the early sixteenth century; what print and manuscript sources can tell us about genre; style features of different genres; compositional process, including use of improvisatory techniques; and approaches to analysis. Readings will include articles and books by Albert Einstein, Anthony Cummings, Giuseppe Gerbino, James Haar, Iain Fenlon, Martha Feldman, Susan McClary, Laura Macy. Every student will be required to do a series of presentations: on a musical source, on secondary literature, and on a comparison between two pieces. There will be a final research paper on a topic of your choice; it will be presented to the class in the final class sessions.

[course short MUHL 682 – CRN 13238] | 3 credits | Professor David Brackett | Winter

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

[course short MUHL 683 – CRN 18024] | 3 credits |Professor Steven Huebner and Professor Sylvain Caron | Winter

Topic: (Neo)classicism in French music 1850-1950

An exploration of the multiple faces of classicism in French music, extending from the music of figures such as Gounod and Saint-Saëns through to Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, and Poulenc. It will consider the aesthetic categories of classicism and neoclassicism from the perspectives of cultural context, ideology, modernism, early music revival, performers and institutions, musical style, and music analysis. The repertorial scope will be wide: instrumental music, art song, opera, sacred music. This seminar is also listed as a course offering in the graduate program of the Université de Montréal. Half the sessions will be taught in English at McGill, the other half in French at UdeM. At both locations students may contribute to class discussion in the language of their choice, and work may be submitted in either language as well.

MUHL 684 Seminar in Musicology 5 CRN 10616 | 3 credits | Professor Roe-Min Kok | Winter

Topic: Music and Colonialism

The worldwide presence of western art music today is due in part to the history of colonization. Whether sparked by official gifts—for instance, of musical instruments from one government to another—or the export of imperial examination systems for the benefit of expatriate children, the transmission of western art music and its subsequent rooting in the colonial world is a rich, important topic offering many facets for investigation. In this seminar we explore critical theories and approaches to “Empire” with the goals of situating music practices in imperial histories, and examining interactional dynamics between colonizers, colonized subjects and other agents to highlight the plural and diverse voices of those who interacted with this art form. Readings in cultural theory, music, and literary studies provide background for individual projects on issues such as musical identity and cross-cultural negotiations within specific communities.

Topic-appropriate vocabulary and terminology; knowledge about western art music in colonial and post-colonial cultures, and major issues in this area of scholarship.

Seminar activities (student-led presentations, group discussions); supplementary lectures.

Evaluation will be based on, among other things: class presentations, final project (proposal and presentation), final paper and overall professionalism.

Music Technology


MUMT 619 Input Devices for Music. Expr. - CRN 14588 | 3 credits | Professor Marcelo Wanderley | Winter

Topic: Input Devices for Musical Expression

Description TBD.

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. – CRN 18627 | 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 – CRN 18627 | 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.

Sound Recording


MUSR 692 Music Production Workshop – CRN 14576 | 3 credits | Professor Martha de Francisco | Winter

Topic: A Graduate Seminar for Performance and for Sound Recording Students

The Seminar focuses on the collaborative interaction between performing and recording partners during music recordings. It explores aesthetical questions of performance and recording, and it examines music performance issues in connection with the use of changing technological tools for recording and music production. Discussions are lead regarding the historical development of music production, and an updated analysis of current developments in the recording industry is provided.

The production sessions under the supervision of an expert music producer, realized as part of the Seminar, help students acquire insight in the musical, technical and logistical processes that characterize professional music productions, giving both sides suitable tools to enhance their potential as recording artists in the 21st century.

Evaluation will be based on in-class participation and presentations, individual work on the music productions as well as a final research paper or alternatively a completed Master of an own production project with a written description/analysis.

Music Theory


MUTH 653 Seminar in Music Theory 2 – CRN 18597 | 3 credits | Professor Peter Schubert | Winter

Topic: Analyzing Madrigals

The principal activity of this seminar is the analysis of madrigals composed primarily in Italy and England between 1560 and 1640. Topics of readings will include musical analysis, modal theory, Italian versification, contrapuntal techniques, word-painting, the Monteverdi-Artusi debate, Musica Transalpina, chromaticism, improvised techniques, and monody. Composers will include Byrd, Casulana, D’India, Gesualdo, Gibbons, Ingegneri, Luzzaschi, Marenzio, Monteverdi, Morley, Rore, Rossi, Strozzi, Weelkes, Wert, Wilbye, and Willaert. Evaluation will be based on four quizzes on readings, one class presentation on an assigned piece, and a final analytical paper on a piece chosen by the writer of the paper.

MUTH 655 Seminar in Music Theory 4 – CRN 17568 | 3 credits | Professor Robert Hasegawa | Winter

Topic: Visualizing Post-Tonal Analysis

Our understanding of musical structure is intricately tied to visual media: from the score itself to various analytical representations (Schenker's graphs, Lerdahl's tree diagrams, Lewin's transformational networks), graphic representations inform and shape our engagement with music. This seminar explores various ways of visualizing post-tonal music, considering how visual analogies reflect fundamental analytical concepts (hierarchy, derivation, transformation, etc.) and exploring new ways to conceive and represent musical relationships in a wide variety of twentieth-century and contemporary works. Coursework will include extensive reading, listening, and music analysis, as well as short exercises in designing analytical illustrations and a final research paper

MUTH 656 Seminar in Music Theory 5 – CRN 15350 | 3 credits | Professor Christopher Neidhöfer | Winter

Topic: Analyzing the Writings of Composers

In their writings composers pursue a variety of interests and goals, from reflecting on their own work and that of other artists to contemplating broader cultural and historical questions. In this seminar we will critically examine selected texts by composers against the historical, political, music-aesthetic, and compositional-technical contexts in which they were working. The focus will be on writings from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, aside from a number of readings from earlier periods, with particular emphasis on texts that deal with compositional technique and music theory from a larger aesthetic perspective. Alongside the texts of each composer we will analyze in depth at least one of their own compositions and/or other music addressed in the writings. The readings include texts by Milton Babbitt, Marion Bauer, Luciano Berio, Hector Berlioz, Pierre Boulez, Ruth Crawford-Seeger, Luigi Dallapiccola, Betsy Jolas, Elisabeth Lutyens, Luigi Nono, Younghi Pagh-Paan, Arnold Schoenberg, Robert Schumann, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and John Weinzweig, additional texts chosen by the seminar participants, and recent scholarship on the genre of composers’ writings. Course requirements include weekly assigned readings, listening, and analysis, two in-class presentations, a midterm essay, and a final paper.

Performance and Performance Practice Seminars
(Open to Performance Students – MUPP seminars are counted as Music Research Seminars for Performance Students)


MUPP 690 Performance Practice Seminar 1 – CRN 15741 | 3 credits | TBD| Winter

Topic: Vocal Ornamentation – Mozart to Bellini

This seminar provides an introduction to the major treatises of the Classical and early 19th-century Bel Canto eras with emphasis on the practical application of vocal ornamentation for the modern performer. Through the study and discussion of both primary and secondary sources, students will observe and compare national styles and time periods. Evaluation will be based on active participation in class discussions, one oral presentation in class, the sung performance of 2 pieces (one from the Classical era and one from the Bel Canto era) with ornamentation appropriate to the national style and time period of the work, and a final term paper.


MUPP 691 Perf Practice Seminar 2 – CRN 14623| 3 credits | Professor Simon Aldrich | Winter

Topic: Historical Performance Practice

This seminar will look at the genesis and evolution of the historically informed performance (HIP) movement. HIP’s initial ambitions will be reviewed through the writings of the movement’s pioneers, and its emergence and subsequent impact will be explored though both compelling academic debate and in the context of real-world application. Evaluation will be based on class presentations, a final project and professionalism (attendance and participation).

MUPP 692 Perf Practice Seminar 3 – CRN 16977 | 3 credits | Professor Fabrice Marandola | Winter

Topic: Explorations in New Music

This performance seminar will explore different compositional approaches developed during the 20th and 21st centuries, including (but not limited to) chance composition, graphic notation, game-based works, open orchestration, minimalism, microtonality and musical theatre. Topics and works will include composers such as Andriessen, Cage, Kagel, Riley, Schafer, Varèse, Vivier, Zorn. Class time will combine lectures, discussions and chamber musical rehearsals.

Students will give one presentation on a solo or small chamber piece in a short lecture-recital form, participate to the preparation and discussion of the works studied in the seminar, and perform in the final concert. The list of works to be performed will be determined on the basis of the enrolment, after the first class.

Evaluation will be based 1/ on the preparation of course material (readings, listenings, arrangements, music to be performed), participation in class discussions and performance at the end of the term (70%) 2/ short lecture-recital, which will be accompanied by a 6-12 pages written paper (30%).

MUPP 693 Perf Practice Seminar 4 | 3 credits | Professor Guillaume Bourgogne | Winter

Topic: Introduction to Conducting

For graduate performance and composition 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 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 analyzing and preparing scores before starting rehearsals. The final part of each class will be devoted to practicing 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 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) Analyze the style and body language of an important conductor in the history of music and present the results through a written paper and 25 minute in-class preparation 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 piano 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%).

Department of Performance Seminars (Open to Performance Students): WINTER 2019

MUPG 590 Vocal Styles and Conventions - CRN 18616 | 3 credits | TBD | Winter

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 677 Seminar in Perf Topics 1 | 3 credits | Professor Jean-Michel Pilc | Winter

Topic: Improvisation in all languages

The goal of this seminar is the acquisition of fluency in improvisation, in all musical idioms (classical, jazz, pop, world etc.) and on all instruments. More generally, it will address the subject of how to make music in a natural and idiomatic way, regardless of the style.

The process at work will be based on the way spoken language is learnt and mastered, and also rooted in my own experience discovering music, improvising, and learning jazz and other kinds of music through oral tradition. We will show that improvisation, often and wrongly seen as the difference between classical and jazz, is, on the contrary, the main bridge between all styles of music, and the essential ability to perceive and express music organically, naturally and spontaneously, and to communicate musical ideas instantaneously when playing the instrument - the latter being, in the spoken language analogy, the musician’s “speech organ.”

We will explore the specificities of each musical idiom – its own “words”, rhythms, accents etc. – and will learn how to develop practicing methods and a personal approach by deep listening, imitation, playing along, manipulation, trial and error, self-editing, assimilation and evolution through time. "Fluency tests" will be used and experimented with, as well as exercises devised to become better at these tests. Hence we will develop the ability to fully experience the musical act and speak the language of music freely and meaningfully at the instrument, while still being creative away from it.

Many other topics will be covered, such as ear training and tuning, the 3 “bookends” of music (rhythm, melody, and bass), feeling, tempo, swing and groove, phrasing and articulation, internalization, and using the multitasking ability of the human brain in order to become a successful improviser / instant composer / storyteller. We will draw inspiration from many different styles of music, and the students will be exposed to a wide selection of musical pieces (from recordings and also from live performances by teacher and students).

Taking example on masters such as Mozart or Charlie Parker, we will realize that improviser, composer, interpreter and performer are actually different sides of the same entity; and also, transcending the cliché of “classical player who can’t play jazz” (or vice versa), we will discover that the many languages of music can be understood and spoken by all those who are willing to embrace their authenticity and their richness.

This class, like any language learning experience, will require the active participation of each student, as a listener, performer, and practitioner. Evaluation will be based on the participation, progress, motivation and creative energy of each student, presentations and special projects, which will be an essential component of the seminar.