Graduate Seminar Offerings 2021-22

 

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.

DO NOT REGISTER FOR MORE THAN 2 seminars per semester.

 

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

Seminars in the Department of Music Research
(Complementary Seminars for Performance Students)
Fall 2021

Composition

FALL 2021

MUCO 631 Seminar in Composition – CRN 4590 | Professor Jean Lesage

Topic: Composition as critique in the Postmodern Era

This seminar will explore various composition strategies and aesthetic perspectives traditionally associated with postmodern cultures. Concepts such as, Metamusic, Intertextuality, Re-composition, Composed Interpretation, Defamiliarization and Deconstruction will be discussed.

Influential compositional approaches and seminal works by composers such as Luciano Berio, Denys Bouliane, Michael Daugherty, José Evangelista, Mauricio Kagel, Nicole Lizée, Sky Macklay, Gérard Pesson, John Rea, George Rochberg, Alfred Schnittke, Ana Sokolovic, Claude Vivier, Gerd Zacher and Hans Zender among others will be analysed. Various academic and literary works related to the postmodern condition by Roland Barthes, Harold Bloom, Jorge Luis Borges, Jacques Derrida, Umberto Eco, Linda Hutcheon, Charles Jencks, Jonathan D. Kramer and Julia Kristeva will also be reviewed.

Students will compose short pieces, discuss articles, analyse scores, prepare oral presentations and write a final paper. Evaluation will be based on assignments, in-class presentations, final paper and participation.

 

General Music

FALL 2021

MUGS 695 (001) Special Topic Seminar – CRN 9395 | Professor Johann Buis

Music, Social Justice, and Black Perspectives

This seminar will allow for collaborative research approaches (common in natural sciences, law, environmental sciences) to examine African Diasporic moments of social justice that resulted in musical expressions from precolonial times through the present. The seminar aims to bridge the gap between the academy and society in context of questions pertinent to contemporary generations. Evaluation will be based on class participation, occasional short assignments, and a final paper/presentation.

 

Music Education

FALL 2021

MUGT 610 (001) Seminar - Music Education – CRN 4651 | Professor Lisa Lorenzino

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 specific focus of the seminar will be the global dissemination of El Sistema, the Venezuelan orchestral training program for disenfranchised youth.

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 a major research paper and an in-class presentation as well as other small assignments.


FALL 2021

MUGT 612 (001) Seminar - Music Education – CRN 4652 | Professor Isabelle Cossette

Understanding the Performing Body

This course is designed for students interested in understanding how their body works in an optimal, efficient, and healthy way as well as during challenging times dealing with pathologies or injuries.

Class sessions are intended to provide the opportunity for the students to explore a broad range of topics related to the use of body during music-making. Students will acquire basic physiological concepts about body systems and develop their critical thinking by challenging common assumptions on topics such as health of musicians, musculoskeletal injuries, breathing strategies, neuroplasticity, and other ones at the students’ choice. Discussions based on readings, online material and guest lectures will bring the students to reflect on how to apply theoretical knowledge to their practicing routine, performing and/or teaching skills.

Evaluation will be based on class preparation/participation, discussions, an annotated bibliography, presentations in various settings and a final blog project tailored to the music community audience.

 

Musicology

FALL 2021

MUHL 681 Seminar in Musicology – CRN 4669 | Professor Julie Cumming

What did Renaissance musicians know? Historical pedagogy and Renaissance vocal polyphony.

What kinds of musical tools did Renaissance musicians bring to their performance and composition? How did they improvise, sight sing, think about pitch relations, and negotiate the ambiguity and lack of clarity in early notations? In order to answer these questions we will explore the music pedagogy of the Renaissance and use those skills in our investigation of Renaissance repertoires. We will begin with the Renaissance equivalent of solfège: hexachordal solmization using the Guidonian hand. We will learn to sing some of the most common chants of the Catholic liturgy. We will then move on to polyphonic music, learning basic techniques of improvisation (note-against-note polyphony, fauxbourdon, falsobordone, improvised canon, and parallel 10ths; for an explanation of improvised canon, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n01J393WpKk).

Students will learn these techniques and do basic improvisation in class. For each class we will read an article (or two), learn a musical technique, hear groups of students improvise the improvisatory technique learned the previous week, and look at some music. We will sing the music we study (from both original and modern notation). Each student will present on an article or a primary source, as well as a power-point presentation on their final project. Final papers will be developed in multiple drafts.


FALL 2021

MUHL 684 Seminar in Musicology – CRN 4670 | Professor Lisa Barg

Topics in Feminist Music Studies

This seminar will consider a variety of issues, debates, and approaches in feminist music studies, with an emphasis on recent and emerging trends and interventions in the fields of (ethno)musicology, jazz studies, popular music studies and music pedagogy. Some of the questions we will explore are: How has recent work that centers the histories, sounds and listening practices of Black feminisms, Indigenous feminisms and transnational feminisms affected music studies, and what are the possibilities and stakes in the formation of these (and other) new models and methodologies? How have feminist music scholars grappled with considerations of gender identity and “the body,” and queer theory critiques of heteronormativity and cis-normativity? What are the relationships between, and ethical responsibilities of, feminist music studies to political work in the larger world?

The seminar is structured in two parts. We first will survey selected recent scholarly trends organized around a set of interrelated critical topics in feminist music studies. Second, we will dive into key case studies encompassing diverse repertoires, historical periods and media. Class sessions will be devoted to discussion of the readings and, when appropriate, listening and/or video viewing. Students will give presentations, write commentaries on selected readings, and prepare a fifteen- to twenty-page seminar paper on a topic of their choice that will serve as a basis for a thirty-minute presentation.

 

Music Technology

FALL 2021

MUMT 605 (001) Digital Sound Synthesis and Audio Processing– CRN 5137 | Professor Philippe Depalle

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, 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%).


FALL 2021

MUMT 616 (001) Timbre Form-Bearing Dimension in Music – CRN 5139 | Professor Stephen McAdams

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.


FALL 2021

MUMT 620 (001) Gestural Control of Sound Synthesis – CRN 5140 | Professor Marcelo Wanderley

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. Evaluation will be based on summaries of papers, student presentation, project proposal, and a project presentation.

 

Music Theory

FALL 2021

MUTH 655 (001) Seminar in Music Theory – CRN 5264 | Professor Robert Hasegawa

Topic: Analyzing Post-Tonal Music

This seminar in post-tonal analysis will focus on analytical “deep dives” into a handful of twentieth- and twenty-first-century works, examining them from multiple perspectives and with a variety of theoretical tools. Repertoire for discussion will include Béla Bartók’s Fourth String Quartet and Berg’s Lyric Suite plus a selection of contemporary pieces. Weekly assignments will include close study of scores and analytical writing. At the end of the seminar, students will make an oral presentation and write a final research paper on a post-tonal work of their choice.


MUTH 656 (001) Seminar in Music Theory - CRN 5265 | Professor Christoph Neidhöfer

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 critically examine selected texts (articles, books, program notes, lecture notes, private correspondence) by composers against the historical, political, music-aesthetic, and compositional-technical contexts in which they were or are working. The focus is on writings from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, aside from some readings from earlier periods, with particular emphasis on texts that deal with compositional technique and music theory from a larger aesthetic perspective. Alongside these texts and readings from the secondary literature we analyze selected compositions addressed in, or otherwise relevant to an understanding of, each composer’s writings. Readings include texts by Violet Archer, Milton Babbitt, Marion Bauer, Norma Beecroft, Luigi Dallapiccola, Miriam Gideon, Elisabeth Lutyens, Luigi Nono, Younghi Pagh-Paan, Robert Schumann, and George Theophilus Walker, additional texts chosen by the seminar participants, and recent scholarship on the genre of composers’ writings. Course requirements include weekly assigned readings, listening, and/or analysis, two in-class presentations, a midterm essay, and a final paper.


FALL 2021 TO WINTER 2022

MUTH 657 (001) Seminar in Music Theory – CRN 6568 (Winter 2022)| Professors Robert Hasegawa (McGill), Marie-Hélène Benoit-Otis (Université de Montréal), Luis Velasco-Pufleau (Universität Bern/McGill)

Poetics and Politics of Twenty-First Century Music

This co-taught seminar will explore links between music, ethics, and politics in music of the twenty-first century. The objective is to develop practical and theoretical tools to address interactions between musical creation and contemporary political issues such as human rights, social justice, and environmental politics. The seminar will be accompanied by a series of lectures presented by guest composers, which will address links in their work between aesthetics, creative process, and contemporary political issues. Students will have an opportunity to develop independent research on a related topic of their choice, which will be the subject of an oral presentation and a final written paper.

Offered jointly by McGill and the Université de Montréal, the seminar will meet approximately every other week for the full academic year, from Fall 2021 to Winter 2022, with a final grade given only at the end of the Winter 2022 term. As the seminar will include content and discussion in both French and English, competency in understanding oral and written French is recommended. Due to the constraints of COVID-19 and the large number of guest composers from outside Canada, the seminar will be held entirely online via Zoom.


FALL 2021

MUTH 659 (001) History of Music Theory 2 - CRN 5266 | Professor William Caplin

A survey of 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 PRACTICE (OPEN TO PERFORMANCE STUDENTS)
Fall 2021

Performance Practice

MUPP 690 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 5206 | Professor Patrick Hansen

Topic: Shakespeare Goes to the Opera!

The theory and practice in Theatrical to Musical transformation. Shakespeare plays and source materials for the plays that themselves are transformed into source material for operas based on his works. What happens to an art form when it changes from one modality, theatre, into another: opera?

Students will focus on 7 plays by Shakespeare and the 10 operas based upon those works.

Bibliography: Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, and Hamlet

Operas: Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, Bernstein’s West Side Story, Bellini’s Capuletti e i Montecchi, Verdi’s Falstaff, Otello, and Macbeth, Garner’s Much Ado!, Thomas’ Hamlet, and Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District.


FALL 2021

MUPP 691 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 5207 | Professor Guillaume Bourgogne

Topic: Introduction to Conducting

For graduate performance (not open to students in the conducting option) 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%).


FALL 2021

MUPP 692 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 5208 | Professor Jacqueline Leclair

Topic: Wellbeing for the Professional Musician

During this seminar, we will research and discuss the following topics as related to musician health, professionalism, performance, and music pedagogy: neuroscience related to music practice and performance, sleep, yoga, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, Zen Philosophy, psychology, massage therapy, acupuncture/acupressure, cranio-sacral therapy, Reiki, meditation, breathing exercises, stretching, performance anxiety management, injury prevention and recovery, and efficient practice technique.

Students will develop enhanced abilities to make informed choices about their wellbeing throughout their careers. They will learn to practice with optimum efficiency, safety, and productivity. As future teachers and colleagues, they will develop enhanced abilities to help others with these topics.

Final projects will be a paper about a wellbeing topic chosen in consultation with Prof. Leclair, or the equivalent.


FALL 2021

MUPP 693 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 5209 | TBA

Topic: The Virtuoso Performer-Composer in the Late 18th Century: Chamber Music and Classical Performance Practice in the Time of Boccherini

In this seminar we examine various archetypal concerto and chamber works of Luigi Boccherini and other performer-composers in the late 18th century. Although Boccherini will serve as a case study, the ideas we discuss in this course will apply to repertoire for other instruments, and in other time periods, as well (strings, voice, winds, keyboards, etc.). Using both musical and biographical information to enhance our understanding of their music, we may create cadenzas, explore ornamentation, and refine interpretations. In newly-formed or pre-formed groups, course participants may rehearse and perform sonatas, duos, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, and vocal repertoire. Following the practice of musicians of this time, we will take each composer’s bare notes and add breath marks, fingerings, slurs, wedges for strokes, crescendo & decrescendo for speed and nuance, and various articulations and stylistic approaches that contribute to an aesthetically persuasive performance. Each individual or group will perform publicly and collaborate in creating an event with the goal of presenting their work to the public in an original and interactive/engaging manner. Evaluation will consist of class participation, written summaries of assigned readings, a final paper, and the work involved in creating the performance presentation.


FALL 2021

MUPP 694 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 5210 | TBA

Topic: Researching Lied and Poetry

This seminar, addressed to both singers and pianists, will closely examine the connection between the German Lied and its poetry, with a special focus on the German Romanticism as featured in songs by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Wolf, and others. Students will study poetry analysis, research poetic themes, such as individuality, symbolism, mythology and irony, and then examine the relationship between poetry and musical setting in order to gain an understanding of the Lied as a whole and assess the implications for the performer. Evaluation will be based on active participation and discussion, quizzes on readings, class presentations on assigned pieces and two papers: a study of a lied and an analytical comparison.


 

DEPARTMENT OF PERFORMANCE SEMINARS (OPEN TO PERFORMANCE STUDENTS) Fall 2021


Performance Seminars

FALL 2021

MUPG 678 (001) Seminar in Performance Topics 2 – CRN 5192 | Professor John Hollenbeck

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 participation (30%), preparation (30%), 3 book reports (20%) , and class journal (20%).


FALL 2021

MUPG 691 (001) Vocal Ornamentation – CRN 5195 | TBA

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.


FALL 2021

MUPG 695 (001) Graduate Jazz Improvisation Seminar – CRN 5196 | Professor Rémi Bolduc

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)
Winter 2022

Composition

Winter 2022

MUCO 632 (001) Seminar in Composition – CRN 3772 | Professor Sean Ferguson

Topic:Computer-Assisted Composition

This seminar will explore approaches to computer-assisted composition for instrumental concert music. This corresponds to a conception of composition in which abstract musical structures (symbolic data) are created by the composer and realized sonically by performers. Applications to mixed works for acoustic instruments and electronics may also be explored. We will use the Bach package for Max, along with the Cage, Dada and MOZ’Lib libraries. The course is intended for composers and will focus on practical compositional applications. Where possible, efforts may be made to tailor course work for interested students from other areas. Previous experience with Max/MSP is highly desirable. Remedial videos and patches for self-directed learning will be available for those who wish to take the course without this background, but this will be an added challenge. Any students that have taken MUCO 541 will be fine.

Evaluation will be based on two in-class presentations on topics relating to computer-assisted composition and a final project consisting of a collection of Max patches that perform a non- trivial compositional process. This includes complete documentation and an in-class presentation at the end of term. There will also be a number of ungraded weekly programming tasks to help familiarize students with the software tools.

 

General Music

Winter 2022

MUGS 694 (001) Special Topic Seminar – CRN 7739 | Professor Johann Buis

Topic: Musical Citizenship and Diverse Ethnic Voices

This seminar will address local and global contexts of redefining musical scholarly agency. This redefinition sets its goal at aiming towards musical citizenship for scholars, performers, ancillary stakeholders, audiences, etc. The seminar aims to bridge the gap between the academy and society in context of questions pertinent to contemporary generations. Evaluation will be based on class participation, occasional short assignments, and a final paper/presentation.


Winter 2022

MUGS 695 (001) Special Topic Seminar – CRN 7031 | Professor Aaron Williamon

Topic: Performing Music Research: Methods in Music Education, Psychology, and Performance Science

Research is integral to innovation, progress, and the advancement of artistic practice, be it on stage, in the recording studio, in the classroom, or in the community. This course is structured to guide you as you plan, conduct, analyze, and communicate research. Both quantitative and qualitative methods of enquiry will be considered, providing grounding in the ethics and assumptions of related research approaches. Direct access to ongoing international research projects and datasets will be provided to facilitate experiential learning.

 

Music Education

Winter 2022

MUGT 611 (001) Seminar – Music Education – CRN 3833 | Professor Lisa Lorenzino

Topic: Leadership for Performers and Pedagogues

This seminar will look at theories and practices related to leadership as related to the field of music. Students will be introduced to topics such as democratic leadership, goal setting, and motivation in an attempt to learn how they can become effective, innovative leaders in the classroom, on the podium, or within a large or small ensemble setting.

Class sessions may be augmented by guest lecturers. Students wishing to do so 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 research paper and an in-class presentation as well as other small assignments.


Winter 2022

MUGT 613 (001) Seminar – Music Education – CRN 3834 | Professor Andrea Creech

Topic: Researching Music Pedagogy

This seminar promotes critical thinking about music pedagogy research and practice. The seminar is interdisciplinary, drawing on theory and practice from a range of diverse contexts. Students will interrogate key issues in research concerned with learning, teaching and assessment in music pedagogy and will engage with critical reflection about the relationship between pedagogical theory and ‘practice’ in music disciplines. Key questions addressed are: 1) what are the signature pedagogies that characterize music disciplines; what are the goals or the functions of those pedagogies? what are the processes and products associated with those pedagogies? How does pedagogy intersect with issues around equality, diversity and inclusion? Students will explore these issues and identify the ways in which pedagogies are both shaped and interrogated in research.

The approach taken includes reflection and peer feedback on participants’ own experience, focusing on ‘critical incidents’ and exchange of interdisciplinary perspectives; discussion and problem solving activities; some direct lecturing input, principally using the ‘flipped classroom’ model; plenary discussions, student presentations, and question and answer sessions; reflection on prepared readings and participation in online space. Students will be assessed through two individual presentations and one research paper focusing on a critical analysis of a signature pedagogy in music.

Musicology

Winter 2022

MUHL 680 (001) Seminar in Musicology - CRN 3843 | Professor Dorian Bandy

Topic: Adventures in Musical Subjectivity

Description: The focus of this seminar is musical subjectivity: the depiction—and, at times, the evocation—of the internal, subjective experiences of various entities, from fictional characters in operas to the aesthetic personae of composers in instrumental music. The readings and repertoire we study will be divided into three units. The first will focus on depictions of time, character, and subjectivity in Bach’s two Passion settings; the second will examine depictions of listening, belief, deception, and perspective in Mozart’s operas; and the third will examine the broader turn to interiority that occurred at the outset of the 19th century, with a particular emphasis on Beethoven’s Lieder and piano sonatas. If time allows, we will also discuss depictions of character in Sondheim’s musicals and read parallel accounts of interiority in other fields (including, for instance, studies of self-portraiture in art history). Evaluation will be based on in-class presentations, occasional written work, and a final paper.


Winter 2022

MUHL 682 (001) Seminar in Musicology – CRN 3844 | Professor Roe-Min Kok

Topic: Music and the Home

This seminar analyzes the historical notion of “home” and its multifaceted relationship with music. For instance, the western European “home” was born of social upheavals following the French Revolution (1789). Many aspects of this ideal remain today: the perception of home as a refuge from external turmoil (“home sweet home”); the culturally charged phrases “coming home” and “homecoming,” etc. The traditional European home also assumed the presence of inhabitants: specifically, a married heterosexual couple with biological children. Within its walls, and in private, subtle, yet powerful ways, the home spawned practices that were gendered, classed, racialized, and differentiated by age.

What was/is the position of music played, listened to, and shared in the home, whether composed for it or not? The departure point for our seminar is a critical study of Robert and Clara Schumann in the context of the family life they shared for thirteen years (September 1840-February 1854). Notwithstanding the romantic match—so often idealized—Clara and Robert’s life together was severely strained by inadequate income, a fast-growing family, cramped living quarters, and debilitating illness. At the center of these difficulties lay two individuals’ conflicting views of home, particularly their respective gender roles in relation to family finances and the rearing of their children. We shall scrutinize the Schumanns’ music for the domestic sphere, primarily art songs, and ask how these articulate issues of marriage, motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood.

Using tools and techniques gained from the Schumann case study and other scholarly fields, seminar participants will pursue projects that analyse relationships between “home” and music. Topics are not restricted in terms of historical eras, cultures, and musical genres, although it is expected that they will explore private life and identity formation within the home. Evaluation will be based on class presentations (including mandatory handouts), a final project proposal, a 20-25 page research paper, and professionalism (engagement and attendance).


Winter 2022

MUHL 683 (001) Seminar in Musicology – CRN 3845 | Professor Lloyd Whitesell

Topic: Musical Utopias

Sometimes it’s OK to have your head in the clouds and dream of a better existence. In this seminar we will consider utopian thought as expressed in music. Archetypes to be explored include romantic idylls, pastoral Edens, and speculative new ways of being, in genres ranging from symphonies and Lieder to film scores, Afrofuturist pop, and experimental sound art. How have musicians tried to capture the utopian imagination? Are they seeking to escape or transform reality? Approaches may cover readings from philosophy (music’s metaphysical powers), ecocriticism (our relation to the natural world), and ethnography of specific communities (e.g., queer world-making in dance club culture). Evaluation will be based on class participation, occasional short assignments, and a final paper/presentation.

 

Music Technology

Winter 2022

MUMT 619 (001) Input Devices for Musical Expression – CRN 4289 | Professor Marcelo Wanderley

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. Evaluation will be based on assignments and a final project.


Winter 2022

MUMT 621 (001) Music Information, Retrieval, Acquisition, Preservation – CRN 4290 | Professor Ichiro Fujinaga

This seminar will investigate current research activities in the area of music information retrieval. The goal is to discover ways to efficiently find and retrieve musical information. Although the field is relatively new, it encompasses various music disciplines including music analysis, music education, music history, music theory, music psychology, and audio signal processing.

Each student will be expected to present various music information retrieval topics along with literature reviews. Each presentation should be accompanied by web pages created by the presenter. The final project may consist of software development, a theoretical paper, or an extended review paper. Class format will be presentations followed by discussions.

Potential topics include: Themefinder, MELDEX, Elvis, Cantus, SIMSSA, audio content analysis and search, web crawling, melodic similarities, computer-aided transcription, beat tracking, timbre recognition, speech / music separation, audio and music formats (MPEG-4/7/21, MP3, MEI, MusicXML), and Web API. Students will be evaluated on the quality of the presentations, written assignments, class participation, and the final project.

Evaluation will be based on assignments (50%), class participation (10%), and a final project (40%).


Winter 2022

MUMT 622 (001) Time-Frequency & Parameter Rep. of Sounds – CRN 4291 | Professor Philippe Depalle

In this seminar the current trends of research on time-frequency representation and parametric modelling and their use in the context of musical and audio applications will be discussed. More specifically, time-frequency distribution, wavelets, matching pursuit, and sparse time-frequency representation will be introduced; and their comparative merits will be discussed. In a second part the use of parametric modelling as the analysis part of current sound synthesis techniques will be presented. Evaluation is based on in-class research literature presentations (48%), and on a final project (40% for the project), and 12% for its presentation.

Sound Recording

Winter 2022

MUSR 692 (001) Music Production Workshop – CRN 4380 | TBA

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

Winter 2022

MUTH 652 (001) Seminar in Music Theory – CRN 4402 | Professor William Caplin

Topic: Theories of Classical Form and Beethoven’s Thirty-Two Piano Sonatas

The seminar will consider recent and traditional theories of classical form in relation to Beethoven’s Thirty-Two Piano Sonatas. In connection with the instructor’s recent SSHRC Insight Grant on this topic, this course will provide hands-on analytical work based primarily on his theory of formal functions (Analyzing Classical Form, Oxford 2014). Whereas we will focus largely on theories of form, we will also consider other, intersecting analytical methodologies, such as schema theory, theories of meter, and modern adaptations of 18th-c. theorists of form (esp. Koch). Graduate piano majors are welcome in the seminar, in which issues of performance practice in relation to formal analysis may be an another important topic of study. Evaluation will be based on small analytical assignments, presentation of readings, presentation of the final term paper, and the written version of the term paper.


Winter 2022

MUTH 653 (001) Seminar in Music Theory – CRN 4403 | Professor Nicole Biamonte

Topic: Music Theory Pedagogy

This seminar provides students with tools for teaching college-level music theory and musicianship. We will consider curricular issues, course design, pedagogical strategies, and techniques for presenting music-theory content. Broader issues such as inclusive models of teaching, decolonizing the traditional curriculum, and other recent research in music theory pedagogy will also be considered. Coursework consists of teaching demonstrations, reading assignments, class discussion, preparing sample course materials (including a teaching video), theory textbook reviews, and a 2500-3500 word research paper and class presentation based on the paper. Evaluation will be based on teaching demonstrations, participation in discussion, and the assignments listed above (written course materials, teaching video, textbook reviews, and research paper and presentation). Students will also design a statement of teaching philosophy for use in job applications.


Winter 2022

MUTH 654 (001) Seminar in Music Theory – CRN 4404 | TBA

Seminar description to follow.

 

 

PERFORMANCE PRACTICE (OPEN TO PERFORMANCE STUDENTS)
WINTER 2022

Performance Practice

WINTER 2022

MUPP 690 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4345 | Professor Isabelle Cossette

Topic: Optimizing Practice and Performance

This course is designed for students who seek to understand how to optimize their practicing and performance skills as well as how to foster this in their students.

IThe students will have the opportunity to explore a broad range of topics around the optimization of practicing and performing based on approaches from sports psychology and positive psychology. Students will reflect on questions such as: What does optimal performance entail? How does the body react to flow and debilitating anxiety? Where to start with in terms of performance enhancement? Students will also experiment with strategies to assess which best fit their own needs. Through readings, discussions, guest speaker talks and individual research projects, additional topics and activities may include: goal setting, theories, stress response, mental imagery and visualisation, time management, relaxation techniques, meditation.

Evaluation will be based on class preparation/participation, journal/practice log writing, discussions and presentations, performance self-evaluations, mock auditions and the design of a psychological preparation program tailored on the students’ own goals.


WINTER 2022

MUPP 691 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4346 | TBA

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.


WINTER 2022

MUPP 692 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4347 | TBA

Topic: The Iconography of Early Music

The depiction of music in the visual arts, which is called musical iconography, is a discipline in its own right. Critical observation of musical visualizations can tell us a great deal about music’s material world, social contexts, characters, approaches, meanings and symbolisms. We will consider – separately and together – the depiction of musicians, instruments, music-making, and musical imagery, using online image databases, secondary literature, and intensive in-class observation and critical commentary of a selection of paintings, engravings, illuminations, bas-reliefs and other media that visualize music either concretely, symbolically, or abstractly as an artist’s reflection on music. In addition, students will learn the basics of interpreting visual aesthetics, which are especially important when dealing with the immaterial world of sound in relation to the performance practice of medieval, Renaissance, and baroque music.


WINTER 2022

MUPP 693 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4348 | TBA

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 and abroad, this seminar will trace its historical and stylistic musical trajectories discussing its multiple dimensions; music, dance and poetry with particular focus on its instrumental evolution. To celebrate Piazzolla’s centenary (1921-2021), the seminar will give special emphasis to his revolutionary music, discussing in depth his unique contribution as both composer and performer. 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 guests 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.

 

 

DEPARTMENT OF PERFORMANCE SEMINARS (OPEN TO PERFORMANCE STUDENTS) WINTER 2022

Performance Seminars

WINTER 2022

MUPG 590 (001) Vocal Styles and Conventions – CRN 4310 | TBA

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.


WINTER 2022

MUPG 677 Seminar in Performance Topics 2 – CRN 4334 | Professor Jacqueline Leclair

Topic: Understanding and Interpreting the Music of Underrepresented Composers

TIn this seminar, we will consider the lives and careers of a selection of underrepresented composers throughout the history of western art music, their life stories, the musicians for whom they compose(d), the obstacles they face(d), their political views, their music, and more. The seminar will consider how understanding each composer thoughtfully and with nuance enables us to become more effective performers as well as more empowered agents for social and musical change.

Composers could include figures such as Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Nathaniel Dett, Amy Beach, Sofia Gubaidulina, Corie Rose Soumah, Kaija Saariaho, Chaya Czernowin, Bun-Ching Lam, Joan Tower, Pauline Oliveros, Chen Yi, Gregory Walker, Alexina Louie, Thea Musgrave, Paquito D’Rivera, George Lewis, Tanya León, and Ana Sokolovic, as well as hundreds of others. Students will choose composers to explore and to some extent co-design the seminar with Prof. Leclair.

Guest presenters may include scholars on related topics such as sexuality and race, as well as the composers themselves, many of whom Prof. Leclair knows professionally.

Final projects will include a paper about a composer or topic of the student’s choice (in collaboration with Prof. Leclair) and a performance of a related composition either live or recorded on video, or the equivalent.

REGISTRATION

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.

DO NOT REGISTER FOR MORE THAN 2 seminars per semester.

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