Graduate Studies in Music Seminars 2022-23

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.

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.

FALL 2022


FALL 2022

MUCO 633 Seminar in Composition – CRN 4006 | Professor Brian Cherney

The Music of Bruce Mather

Bruce Mather is one of the most distinguished and prolific Canadian composers of his generation. Born in Toronto in 1939, his early composition teachers included Oskar Morawetz and Godfrey Ridout. From 1959-until 1961 he studied at the Paris Conservatoire where his teachers included Darius Milhaud (composition) and Olivier Messiaen (analysis). In the 1970s his acquaintance with the Russian-born composer Ivan Wyschnegradsky led to a keen interest in microtonal music and resulted in the creation of many works using a variety of microtonal tunings. From 1966 until 2001 Mather was a Professor at McGill, teaching composition, analysis, and advanced harmony. He was, in addition, active as a pianist for many years and played a leading role in the SMCQ. In this seminar, a cross-section of his music will be analysed and discussed, including piano music, chamber music, orchestral music, his opera La Princesse blanche and, of course, his microtonal music.

One oral presentation during the seminar and one written paper, to be submitted at the end of the term.

Music Education

FALL 2022

MUGT 610 (001) Seminar - Music Education – CRN 4070 | Professor Lisa Lorenzino

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. Evaluation will include one research paper and an in-class presentation as well as other small assignments.

FALL 2022

MUGT 611 (001) Seminar - Music Education – CRN 4071 | 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 the 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



FALL 2022

MUHL 680 Seminar in Musicology – CRN 4087 | Professor Roe-Min Kok

Music and Colonialism

Many have acknowledged that inequities and inequalities pervade the field of western art music and its practices, whether in institutional, freelance, or other settings. In attempting to address these issues, few have delved into the deep-seated reasons underlying such asymmetries. This seminar examines the roots of sociocultural injustices in music by studying power dynamics in cultural settings past and present. Case studies come from around the world as well as closer to home, and include Canadian Indigenous communities; the Portuguese, Spanish, and Ottoman Empires; Thailand (officially never colonized, thus a particularly interesting case); the British Empire (Canada, India, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore), the French Empire (Haiti, Vietnam), the Japanese Empire, treaty ports in the People’s Republic of China, etc. By analyzing how colonial, postcolonial, and neocolonial politics interact(ed) with notions of gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as with religious and educational institutions, we will develop an informed awareness of why and how certain ideologies continue to affect the field of western art music today. Final projects may focus on musical identity and cross-cultural negotiations in musical works, or collaborations in specific geographical locations, communities, and timeframes. Evaluation will be based on presentations about assigned readings, a final project proposal, a final project presentation, a final paper, and professionalism.

FALL 2022

MUHL 681 Seminar in Musicology – CRN 4088 | Professor Julie Cumming

Motet and Madrigal in Italy, 1500-1540: Sources, Genres, Style, and Function

The decades between 1500 and 1540 saw the rise of music printing, the origins of the madrigal, and the transformation of the motet. The motet and the madrigal are similar in that they are serious through-composed musical settings of texts chosen by the composer. In this seminar we will learn to find and use images of music manuscripts and prints, and we will explore issues of genre and function. Looking both at external evidence from the sources, and internal evidence from the texts and the music, we will explore the creation, dissemination, meaning, and use of motets and madrigals during this period. We will look at motets by Josquin Desprez, Heinrich Isaac, Adriano Willaert, and Jacquet of Mantua; and at madrigals by Sebastiano Festa, Bernardo Pisano, Philippe Verdelot, Jacques Arcadelt, and Willaert.

Activities in the seminar will include: singing motets and madrigals; a transcription of a short motet or madrigal; examining different approaches to text-music relations; presentations on manuscripts, prints, and individual musical works; podcasts on articles; and a final paper, in three stages, each of which will receive feedback: 1) power-point presentation for the class; 2) the first draft of the final paper, which will receive extensive suggestions for improvement from the professor, and 3) a final draft.

FALL 2022

MUHL 682 Seminar in Musicology – CRN 4089 | TBA

Music and Politics in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries: From Antifascism to Contemporary Struggles for Social Justice.

This seminar explores the relationships between music and politics during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) to contemporary struggles for social justice. The objective is to develop practical and theoretical tools to critically understand the significance of music in social movements and political struggles, both in democratic and authoritarian regimes. What makes music political? How can classical music be used as propaganda in armed conflicts? How do living composers engage their music with political issues such as human rights and environmental politics?

We will examine how the notion of antifascism was developed from the Spanish Civil War to the end of the Cold War, and its significance in the work of composers such as Silvestre Revueltas, Hans Eisler and Luigi Nono. We will study how composers such as Hildegard Westerkamp, Hilda Paredes and Marisol Jiménez address the issues of systematic violence against women and environmental politics in their music. We will explore how classical music has been used in war propaganda over the course of the last decade, from the Syrian civil war to the invasion of Ukraine. Students will prepare the class sessions reading articles, listening to music, and watching music performance videos. They will have the 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.


Music Technology

FALL 2022

MUMT 617 (001) Cognitive Dynamics of Mus. Listening – CRN 4521 | Professor Stephen McAdams

Music theoretic, performance-related, psychophysical, and cognitive perspectives on contemporary musical materials and musical form will be surveyed and discussed. The main aim is to lay the groundwork for a theory of the dynamics of musical listening and experience. This seminar covers a variety of interdisciplinary topics concerning the conception, perception, and memory of contemporary musical materials, as well as the cognitive, emotional and aesthetic aspects of music listening in time. It will combine considerations of a compositional, music theoretic and cognitive psychological nature to attempt to understand these complex phenomena as they operate in real music listening, whether to recorded or to live music in a concert setting.

FALL 2022

MUMT 618 (001) Computational Modeling of Musical Acoustics – CRN 4522 | Professor Gary Scavone

Methods for discrete-time modeling of musical acoustic systems, with an emphasis on digital waveguide techniques. Delay-based audio effects, artificial reverberation, musical instrument models and physically-informed approaches to sound synthesis. Prior experience with differential equations, digital filters, Matlab, and C/C++ is required. Evaluation will be based on weekly homework, in-class presentations, and a final course project.

Music Theory

FALL 2022

MUTH 652 (001) Seminar in Music Theory – CRN 4642 | Professor Christoph Neidhöfer

Musical Meaning in Post-Tonal Composition

How does music convey meaning? How does meaning manifest itself in the compositional procedures themselves? What are the mechanisms by which a work takes on meaning beyond composer intent? How does meaning in tonal music compare to meaning in post-tonal music? We will address these questions through study of the scholarly literature on musical meaning and expression (texts by Theodor Adorno, Nicholas Cook, Johanna Frymoyer, Lydia Goehr, Márta Grabócz, Robert Hatten, Judith Lochhead, Leonard Meyer, among others) and through analysis of selected post-tonal compositions from the 20th and 21st centuries. We will look at the compositional process through the lens of the composers’ sketches and explore the aesthetic contexts and reception of the works. Examples will be drawn from Chen Yi’s Happy Rain on a Spring Night, Sofia Gubaidulina’s Second String Quartet, Elisabeth Lutyens’s Wittgenstein Motet, Bruno Maderna’s Quattro lettere, Arnold Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw, George Theophilus Walker’s Spatials, among other compositions, as well as from works chosen by the seminar participants. Course requirements include weekly assigned readings, listening, and analysis, two in-class presentations, a midterm essay, and a final paper. Performance-analysis of solo or small chamber pieces in class is especially encouraged.

FALL 2022

MUTH 655 (001) Seminar in Music Theory - CRN 4643 | Professor Nicole Biamonte

Theory and Analysis of The Blues

This seminar explores musical parameters in the blues, an important genre combining African and European musical elements that has been highly influential on many other genres of popular music. We will examine form (12-bar blues and variants, other blues forms), lyric patterns (AAB, call and response), tonality (modal mixture, blue notes, microtonal inflections), melody (pentatonic and blues scales, ladder of thirds), harmony (subdominant bias, harmonic extensions and expansions), rhythm and meter (flexible meter and hypermeter, unequal subdivisions, microtiming variations), texture, and timbre. Additionally, we will consider various manifestations of the blues in different musical styles (Delta, urban, country, jazz, R&B, rock), and also consider sociocultural issues related to gender, sexuality, and especially race. Coursework will consist of readings (Kubik, Evans, Stoia, Headlam, and others), class discussion, analysis assignments, and a final project comprising an analytical paper and a presentation based on the paper.

FALL 2022

MUTH 656 (001) Seminar in Music Theory - CRN 4644 | TBA

Theory and Analysis of Hip-Hop Music

This seminar explores analytical approaches to hip-hop music—from its initial breakthrough in the late 1970s to its eventual pre-eminence and ubiquity in mainstream culture. We discuss its musical roots and ongoing development, particularly in the areas of poetics (expressivity and meaning of lyrics), sampling, beat production, flow techniques (rapping), and genre. Students will become familiar with approaches to transcribing, analyzing, and deconstructing rap music, with an emphasis on rhythm, meter, form, texture, timbre, and pitch. In-class discussion will engage these topics with the socio-cultural factors that have influenced—and are influenced by—hip-hop music, such as race, politics, gender, sexuality, locality, media, signification, and crossover. Readings cover work by Tricia Rose, Joseph Schloss, Cheryl Keyes, Adam Krims, Mitchell Ohriner, Kyle Adams, and other scholars, as well as writings by hip-hop artists. Students are evaluated on weekly transcription and listening assignments, in-class discussion, two short writing assignments, and a final presentation and paper.


FALL 2022

Performance Practice

FALL 2022

MUPP 690 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4586 | Professor Isabelle Demers

Music and Politics

Arts and politics have always been closely intertwined; from Ars Nova musicians to twentieth-century performers, artists have suffered and thrived under different regimes and leaders. This seminar will explore the lives and careers of musicians who were particularly impacted by their political environment. How did musicians such as Byrd and Tallis navigate the complicated policies of the Tudor era? The story of Stalin and Shostakovich is well-known, but how did Stalin impact other Soviet musicians such as Prokoviev and Maria Yudina? What performances took place in the concentration camps? Grading will be based on class discussions as well as on a final class presentation and performance. Grading will be based on class discussions, assignments, as well as on a final class presentation and performance.

FALL 2022

MUPP 691 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4587 | Dr. Elinor Frey

J.S. Bach’s Solo Music: Performance, Ornamentation, Context

The course is a survey of performance practice approaches to the unaccompanied flute, lute, cello and violin music of J.S. Bach, including in-depth examination of phrasing, ornamentation, tempi, musical figures, musical punctuation, and other musical features. Course participants will study historical approaches in treatises, manuscripts, and secondary literature, and will survey unaccompanied music from Italian, French, English, German, and Bohemian musicians from before and around the time of Bach, with the goal of becoming familiar with historical issues as well as the musical context that surrounded the composition of Bach’s solo works. The course will be designed to help participants develop a critical ability to discuss and write about the solo works of J.S. Bach, and will include readings and listening related to the topics under discussion.

FALL 2022

MUPP 692 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4588 | Professor Jacqueline Leclair

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 2022

MUPP 693 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4589 | Ms. Anja Burmeister Strauss

Music in the Weimar Era

This seminar, addressed to both singers and instrumentalists, will explore the Weimar Republic as the centre of artistic creativity, innovation and freedom of experimentation. While examining historical, social, political, and cultural aspects, students will research repertoire by Schoenberg, Berg, Hindemith, Eisler, Hollaender, and by the partnership Brecht-Weill (among others). Students will discuss the correlation between politics, society, technology, gender identity, art and music and examine contemporary performers and performances as well as music influences (e.g., Baroque music and jazz) while gaining insights into Weimar culture and reflecting how it relates to our contemporary music world. Students will be evaluated based on in-class discussion, weekly reading reviews and commentaries, a presentation on a specific work by one of the discussed composers plus a compare and contrast paper on two works of the Weimar Era.

FALL 2022

MUPP 694 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4590 | Dr. Imri Talgam

Rhythmic Complexity in Music Since 1945: Aesthetics, Techniques, and Performance Strategies

Much of the music written after 1945 is characterized by increasingly complex rhythmic techniques and organization. In this course we’ll examine some of the key developments, including treatment of rhythm in Serial music, Xenakis, Ligeti, Nancarrow, Spectralism, New Complexity, and Minimalism, as well as more recent works. We will engage both compositional techniques and aesthetics as well as issues of perception/cognition, grouping cues, entrainment, listening, and performance strategies. While the course is aimed at performers, it will include substantial analysis of key works from the repertoire and will be of interest to anyone looking to reconsider the main trends of this period.



Performance Seminars

FALL 2022

MUPG 677 (001) Seminar in Performance Topics 2 – CRN 7722 | Professor Eitan Globerson

Introduction to Conducting

For graduate performance and composition students wishing to develop or further their conducting skills, this seminar has three goals: 1) Acquiring basic proficiencies in orchestral score reading; 2) acquiring the technical basis of conducting; and 3) putting this technique into practice.
Each lesson will include reading and analyzing orchestral scores and conducting a chamber ensemble made up of students in the seminar. Students will exchange the roles of conductor and performer.

For the research papers, students will have two options: 1) Analyze an orchestral work (other than the repertoire discussed in class) and suggest an implementation of this analysis in conducting. 2) A comparative analysis of videos of different conductors, based on a thorough analysis of the repertoire conducted in the video.

Evaluation will be based on conducting the ensemble in a final exam (60%), a class presentation of the research project (10%), and a research paper of 5-7 written pages (30%).

FALL 2022

MUPG 678 (001) Seminar in Performance Topics 2 – CRN 4573 | Professor John Hollenbeck

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 2022

MUPG 691 (001) Vocal Ornamentation – CRN 4576 | Professor Tracy Smith

Baroque Vocal Ornamentation

This seminar introduces the major treatises of the Baroque era (1600-1750) 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. Evaluation will be based on active class discussions, one oral presentation in class and the performance of five pieces with ornamentation appropriate to the national style and time period of the work. One piece from each of the following will be presented: Italian Monody, German Baroque Recitative, English Baroque song or aria, French Baroque Aria or Air de cour, and Handel Opera Seria (da capo aria).

FALL 2022

MUPG 695 (001) Graduate Jazz Improvisation Seminar – CRN 4577 | Professor Rémi Bolduc

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.



Music Education


MUGT 612 (001) Seminar – Music Education – CRN 3638 | Professor Lisa Lorenzino

Introduction to Teaching in a Community Music Setting

This seminar will investigate varied pedagogical practices of music education in a community music setting. Through the in-depth study of research literature, students will critically discuss current theories of Community Music Education practices in informal and non-formal settings. Attention will focus on philosophical and pedagogical methods employed in these settings with an emphasis on inclusion, social change, health and wellness and interdisciplinarity.

Students are expected to participate in discussions and presentations of papers. Class sessions may be augmented by guest lecturers. Evaluation will include one research paper, a teaching evaluation, as well as other small assignments.



MUHL 683 (001) Seminar in Musicology - CRN 3649 | Professor Roe-Min Kok

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. Final projects are not restricted in terms of historical eras, cultures, and musical genres, although they must explore private life and identity formation in home (or home-like) settings and refer to ideas or concepts from at least 2 class readings. Evaluation will be based on presentations about assigned readings, a final project proposal, a final project presentation, a final paper, and professionalism.


MUHL 684 (001) Seminar in Musicology – CRN 3650 | Professor David Brackett

Topics in Music 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, historical continuity and change; modes of historical description; and the state of music historiography today. The course will explore the impact of critical theory, gender and sexuality studies, and critical race studies on the historiography of a wide range of music. Course requirements include weekly reading and listening assignments, written responses to the assignments, several class presentations, participation in discussions, and a final paper. Evaluation will be based on how well and thoroughly the course requirements are completed.


MUHL 685 (001) Seminar in Musicology – CRN 3651 | Professor Dorian Bandy

Mozart and the Marketplace

In this seminar, we will examine the intersections between musical and commercial culture in the second half of the eighteenth century. The bulk of our musical study will focus on Mozart’s stage works, particularly the three operas he composed with Lorenzo Da Ponte (Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte). Although we will engage in a fair amount of detailed analysis, we will also connect these works' plots, characters, and musical content to broad intellectual trends of the time, especially those implicated in the birth of economics as a field of study, and especially as captured in the philosophical writings of Adam Smith—though authors ranging from Laurence Sterne to Kant will also feature in our explorations. Evaluation will be based on participation in discussions of the reading material, occasional short written assignments, and a final term paper.

Music Technology


MUMT 605 (001) Digital Sound Synthesis and Audio Processing– CRN 4087 | Professor Philippe Depalle

Music and the Home

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%).


MUMT 622 (001) Time-Frequency & Parameter Rep. of Sounds – CRN 4088 | 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


MUSR 692 (001) Music Production Workshop – CRN 4179 | Professor Martha DeFrancisco

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 a completed Master of an own production project with a written description/analysis.

Music Theory


MUTH 653 (001) Seminar in Music Theory – CRN 4201 | Professor Robert Hasegawa

Analyzing Contemporary 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 Gérard Grisey’s Vortex temporum and Rebecca Saunders's Fury II plus a selection of recent works. Assignments will include close study of scores and recordings, analytical writing, and group presentations on selected excerpts. At the end of the seminar, students will make an individual oral presentation and write a final research paper on a post-tonal work of their choice. The seminar is primarily aimed at graduate students in music theory or composition and presupposes fluency with standard post-tonal theory including pitch-class set theory and serial techniques.


MUTH 654 (001) Seminar in Music Theory – CRN 4202 | Professor Daphne Leong (Dean’s Visiting Chair)

This seminar tackles rhythmic theory and analysis from various disciplinary standpoints including music theory, cognition, ethnomusicology, composition, and performance. We will explore questions of meter and hypermeter, tempo and duration, rhythmic and metric conflict, and embodiment and gesture, in repertoire from the 17th century to the present day, folk musics to jazz, opera to electronic music. Student projects will move flexibly among theory, analysis, performance, and multiple modes of presentation.

Student work will include a presentation and formal response to a reading, reading reports, analytical/listening tasks, examples from the student’s repertoire, and occasional ensemble rhythmic practice. The final project will be a presentation and paper on a rhythmic topic of the student’s choice. Approaches may be analytical, theoretical, compositional, pedagogical, or performative; the paper format is flexible and can accommodate multimedia.

The seminar is intended for graduate students in theory and/or performance, and assumes fluency with standard tonal and post-tonal theory.


MUTH 658 (001) Seminar in Music Theory – CRN 4203 | Professor Peter Schubert

This course focuses on writings about music from Plato to Playford, passing through Aristoxenus, Hucbald, al-Farabi, Tinctoris, Zarlino, and Bernhard. Course requirements include weekly assigned readings for discussion, one in-class presentation, three quizzes (including one in-class prepared essay on a topic chosen from a list), and a final paper.




Performance Practice


MUPP 690 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4146 | Professor Isabelle Demers

J.S. Bach

Max Reger said that Bach was “the Alpha and Omega of all music.” This seminar will discuss the life and work of the great Leipzig cantor, whose music is as timely and relevant today as it was 300 years ago. The class will also explore the various performing traditions associated with Bach, from the earliest recordings to modern-day renditions. Grading will be based on class discussions, occasional assignments, as well as a final class presentation and performance.


MUPP 691 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4147 | TBA

Advanced Vocal Pedagogy

This seminar introduces advanced vocal pedagogy topics through the lens of Evidence-Based Vocal Pedagogy (scientific voice research and anecdotal evidence). Students will explore the topics of physiology, voice acoustics, cognitive science, and mental health. Special topics will include breath management, vocal tract shaping, motor learning, and performance anxiety/mental health. Evaluation will be based on active participation in class discussions, one oral presentation in class and a final term paper. This seminar is designed for singers, vocal coaches, voice teachers, and choral conductors.


MUPP 692 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4148 | Professor Elizaveta Miller

CPE Bach: The Avant-Gardiste of the Classical Era

This seminar will focus on the visionary role that CPE Bach played in the transitional period from baroque to classical style. The participants will study his treatment of form, his close attention to detail in articulation, ornamentation and rhythm, his experiments with expressivity and affect. We will read and discuss Bach’s “Essay on the true art of playing the keyboard instruments”. The practical part of the seminar will offer the possibility of exploring and performing Bach’s solo keyboard and chamber music repertoire on harpsichord, clavichord and fortepiano, as well as modern piano. In preparation to the seminar a private coaching will be offered. The seminar is open to performance graduate students, undergraduate students can apply with permission of the instructor.


MUPP 692 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 7314 | Professor Jacqueline Leclair

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.


MUPP 693 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4149 | Professor Liliana Araujo

Understanding and managing emotions in performance

In this seminar, we will introduce theories of emotions and emotional regulation. We will discuss how musicians experience different emotions (e.g., anxiety, fear, guilt, pride, joy, hope), how emotions can impact motivation to practice and performance, and influence musicians’ ability to manage the demands of music making. We will focus on the role of positive emotions as a coping resource to manage adversity, stress, and anxiety, to improve memory and attention, and sustain motivation. Specific strategies to regulate emotional states will be discussed. At the end of the seminar, students will be able to understand how emotions affect their music making and contribute to optimal performance and wellbeing, and will be able to identify strategies to regulate their emotional states at critical moments. Evaluation will be based on class participation and discussion based on reading assignments, and reflective writing based on experimentation of emotion regulation strategies in students’ own practice.


MUPP 694 (001) Performance Practice Seminar – CRN 4150 | Professor Stefano Algieri

This seminar will include research on the Vocal Treatises in the Art of Singing from Baroque to present day.

From the advent of Recordings, Students will have the opportunity to research and analyze the Master Singers within their vocal ranges and particular field(s) of Vocal interest.

Based on the intentions of the master composers, the master singers’ implementation of language (word), as applied to the principles of Bel Canto Vocal Technique, will be researched, and analyzed.

Grading for this seminar will be based on students’ in-class research presentations and handed-in versions, and their in-class interaction with the in-class research presentations of their fellow students. Attendance is essential.



Performance Seminars


MUPG 590 (001) Vocal Styles and Conventions – CRN 4111 | 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.


MUPG 677 Seminar in Performance Topics 2 – CRN 4133 | Professor Jean-Michel Pilc

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.


MUPG 677 (001) Seminar in Performance Topics 1 – CRN 4135 | Prof. Ira Coleman

Music from Mali

The music of Mali is one of the supremely great traditions. Transmitted from generation to generation for centuries, it has had an immense impact on the global musical community. This course is designed to bring students as close to this tradition as possible.

The rhythmic vocabulary of Malian music is immediately infectious and also extremely challenging for a musician who has not been raised in this tradition. Students will listen intensely to great recordings, and we will form an ensemble in the class to become as conversant as possible with the inner workings of this music. Just learning to hear where “one” is, can prove to be extremely challenging! We will play along with recordings and also perform ourselves. The class will become familiar with the historical background of the Empire of Mali, (a far more expansive territory than current-day Mali).

The primary emphasis will be on developing a familiarity with traditional Malian music. But we will also explore modern developments, as the musicians of Mali confront and are confronted by Europe and the West. We will consider the conflict between dynamic growth versus commercial dilution.

Evaluation will be based on class participation, listening, and reading assignments. While there will not be a formal listening exam, students are expected to become conversant with a wide selection of Malian music. Each student will develop their final research project in collaboration with the instructor. Students may write a short paper, transcribe a traditional Malian composition, create an original composition employing elements of Malian music, create a group project adapting a Malian song to their own instrumental and vocal abilities. In short, the final project should be based on each students’ interests and abilities."

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.


Music Education

Summer 2023

MUGT 611 (001) Seminar-Music Education 2 | Professor Andrea Creech

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 characterise 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 presentations and one “pedagogy enquiry proposal”, where students will have the opportunity to identify a question concerned with pedagogy in their discipline and develop a proposal for how they would investigate that question.

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