Courses

FYS 337 Intercultural Musical Experience

How do “first” musical experiences affect individuals and societies? Has a single hearing of any music transformed the way one views oneself and the world? These questions are perhaps most dramatically addressed in the cross-cultural musical encounter. From the age of “discovery” to the present day, the intercultural musical experience has been a focus of aesthetic pleasure, artistic exchange, colonial and racist constructions, identity formation, missionary zeal, and exoticist fantasy. In this seminar, students explore cross-cultural musical encounters from a variety of perspectives and are introduced to the concept of “music as culture.”

FYS 393 Music and DiY Culture

How did consumption become creative? How did musicians associated with punk, hip hop, electronica, and dub reggae create new art from the discarded refuse of late twentieth-century life? This course takes up the do-it-yourself ethic as a defining impulse in contemporary musical culture, informing the democratic amateurism of punk, the “found sound” innovations of the experimental avant-garde, and the collage aesthetic of the digital “mash-up.” Students explore Lawrence Lessig’s Creative Commons, with its challenges to copyright law, and engage with the work of John Cage, Bikini Kill, Brian Eno, the Raincoats, M.I.A., and Girl Talk, among others.

FYS 528 Noise/Silence

“Noise” and “silence” are contested terms with a variety of aesthetic, social, and political implications. This course examines how these terms are culturally defined, socially situated, and aesthetically mobilized. Readings, drawn from sound studies, art criticism, acoustic ecology, and urban studies, and reflective listening and audio exercises enable students to explore the politics and poetics around these terms from a variety of perspectives, including their own. Relevant artworks drawn from music, poetry, and socially engaged art offer examples of how these concepts have been mobilized in creative expression.

MUS 101 Introduction to Listening

Reading and listening assignments, demonstrations, and class discussion provide the opportunity to become familiar with the basic materials and structure of music. The elements of music and the sociology of music making are studied, using primarily Western classical repertoire from various historical periods. Students also acquire a rudimentary musical language through basic ear training, in-class exercises, and frequent homework assignments. The course is open to, and directed toward, students unskilled in reading music as well as those with considerable musical experience.

MUS 103 Music in World Cultures

This course introduces students to the fundamental elements of music in selected music cultures of the world. Lectures include use of recordings, films, live performance, and hands-on workshops with guest musicians to enhance each student’s understanding of relationships among performance practices, aesthetic foundations, and belief systems. The course explores the basic principles of ethnomusicology, musical connections to dance and ritual, cross-cultural interactions and influences, and specific performance contexts in various cultural areas of the globe.

MUS 110 Music Theory for Beginners

This course is designed for students interested in music, but with no formal background or training in Western music traditions. Students acquire a rudimentary musical language through basic ear training, in-class exercises, and frequent homework assignments. By the end of the course, students have a basic knowledge of how to translate music from an aural to a visual medium and vice versa. Students who can read music notation should take MUS 231.

MUS 210 Classical Music in Western Culture

An introduction to the study of Western classical music. This course is at once a survey of representative works, an investigation of the concepts that have shaped the institutions and practices of classical music, and an introduction to the kinds of study that support classical music culture. The course considers the nature of a musical tradition in which works are defined by their place in a historical sequence and in which performance consists of interpreting historic written texts. Students choose a composer and a musical genre as subjects of individual projects. Prerequisite(s): any one course in music or permission of the instructor.

MUS 212 How Music Performs Culture: Introduction to Ethnomusicology

An introduction to the field of ethnomusicology, the study of “music as culture.” Emphasis is on the interdisciplinary character of the field, and the diverse analytical approaches to music making undertaken by ethnomusicologists over time. The centrality of fieldwork and ethnography to the discipline is also a core concept of the course. Through readings, multimedia, and discussion, students examine relationships among ethnomusicology, musicology, anthropology, and world music, and consider the implications of globalization to the field as a whole. Students explore applied music learning as well as performance as a research technique through participation in several hands-on workshops with the Bates Gamelan Ensemble.

MUS 218 Soundscapes: Recording and Designing Sound

This course focuses on the creative acts of recording and sound design. Technical topics covered include recording (both studio and experimental techniques), microphone placement, editing and mixing in REAPER (an open source software), effects and digital processing, and sound design for stereo and multitrack speaker arrays. Creative assignments improve listening skills, foreground aural experience, increase awareness of sonic environments, and sharpen skills related to the use of sound as a sensory and communication medium. Listening and reading assignments support creative and technical concepts covered. Students generate three to four new, original sound-based works during the course of the semester, one of which is refined for a final public listening session. Recommended background: interest in or experience with music, sound, or digital media.

MUS 219 Composing Sonic Systems

This course takes computational and communications systems concepts, such as randomness, probability, generativity, signal processing, feedback, control (and non-control), and listening as parameters for electronic sound composition. Using the free, user-friendly visual programming environment, Pure Data (Pd), students create unique software-based artworks and compositions. Creative projects are grounded in theoretical and historical readings as well as listening assignments that provide context for the application of computational concepts and communications systems thinking to sonic arts practice. The course culminates in a final showing of sound art installations and performances. Recommended background: experience in one or more of the following: music composition, music performance, experimental arts, digital media, computer programming, electronics, media studies.

MUS 222 Jazz Performance Workshop

This course is an introduction to the art of jazz improvisation; basic fluency on an instrument or voice is required, and it is helpful to have past experience listening to jazz. Course activities include transcription, analysis, developing a repertoire of standards, and the development of a jazz language. Vocalists and performers on any instruments may enroll. Prerequisite(s): MUS 231. Recommended background: instrumental or vocal performance experience.

MUS 231 Music Theory I

Beginning with a study of music cognition, the course proceeds with analysis and composition of metric and additive rhythms, modes, melodies, first and second species counterpoint, harmonic progressions, and musical form. The musical repertoire used includes popular and classical styles. The course includes practical ear-training, sight-singing, and keyboard work in additional weekly lab sessions. Students desiring to learn music notation should begin with MUS 101. Prerequisite(s): a reading knowledge of music.

MUS 232 Music Theory II

A continuation of Music Theory I. Prerequisite(s): MUS 231.

MUS 235 Music Composition

Composition may be pursued by students at various levels of expertise and training. The course includes a weekly seminar and private lessons, and concentrates on-without being limited to-contemporary idioms. Prerequisite(s): MUS 232.

MUS 247 History of Jazz

American jazz offers a rich tradition through which one can study music, race, and American history. Through extensive listening, reading assignments, and interaction with musicians themselves, students explore the recorded history and contemporary practice of jazz. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: MUS 101 or 231.

MUS 248 Music in Contemporary Popular Culture

The last thirty years have witnessed a sea change in contemporary society, as dramatic technological and economic transformations have altered the way we see the world. This course addresses recent developments in popular music, jazz, and “art” music, examining how trends running from minimalism to hip hop and MTV comment upon this cultural environment. The course raises many questions: How has information technology altered our worldview? How does recent music reflect our ideas about race, class, gender, and sexuality? How does it disrupt conventional ideas about the separation between “high” and “low” culture?

MUS 249 African American Popular Music

The history of the twentieth century can be understood in terms of the increasing African-Americanization of music in the West. The rapid emergence and dissemination of African American music made possible through recording technologies has helped to bring about radical cultural change: it has subverted received wisdoms about race, gender, and sexuality, and has fundamentally altered our relationship to time, to our bodies, to our most basic cultural priorities. This course explores some crucial moments in the history of this African-Americanization of popular music and helps students develop an understanding of the relationship between musical sound and cultural practice.

MUS 251 Music and Cinema

Cinema has barely more than a hundred years of history, and sound was only introduced on screen in the 1920s. This course is designed for composers investigating the ways in which sound interacts with moving images beyond the preconceived notion of a “soundtrack.” Traditional film scoring techniques such as underscoring and leitmotif are investigated through compositional and theoretical affinities between Hollywood film music and late romantic operas. Alternative approaches are explored through late twentieth-century narrative and experimental cinema. Students compose a score to a short silent film of their choice. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: MUS 235, 237, or 238.

MUS 253 Music and the Embodied Mind

An exploration of the nature of musical experience in cognitive, neuroscientific, and bodily terms. Does music belong to an altered state of consciousness or is it a function of our ordinary state of consciousness and bodily? Why does music compel us to move? Are the emotions that we experience through music the same as those that spring from our personal experiences? Is music essentially an interior experience, and if so, how does it connect us so powerfully to others? What are the relationships between music and language in the brain? How can music and speech become one in song? These questions, long fascinating to philosophers, are now being considered through the scientific study of the brain and mind. Recommended background: previous study of music, neuroscience, or psychology.

MUS 262 Performing Musical Theater

This course is a combination of theory and practice, which examines the history of musical theater, from the Golden Age of musicals to today, and emphasizes this American contribution to the social, literary and performing arts, while also introducing students to the process of embodying character while singing. The goal of this course is to help students better appreciate, analyze, and evaluate musical theatre and its performance practices through the use of required reading, videos of live performances as well as discussions of compositional and vocal techniques used for each work studied. The performance aspect of this course will be highlighted with a participation in a live or online final presentation at the end of the semester. No previous stage or singing experience necessary.

MUS 266 Miles Davis

This course explores the life, music, and cultural significance of Miles Davis, using his work and persona as windows into the turbulence of mid-twentieth-century America. The course considers such issues as his role in challenging historically entrenched representations of race, as well as his controversial defiance of musical conventions. Students develop a critical understanding of his musical output, from his early work with Charlie Parker to his late explorations of funk, psychedelic rock, and hip hop. Miles Davis is studied in the context of other major jazz musicians such as John Coltrane, Gil Evans, Wayne Shorter, and Wynton Marsalis. Prerequisite(s): MUS 231 or 247.

MUS 290 Musical Ensemble Performance

Each of the courses in musical ensemble performance provides instruction and experience for qualified students in the skills and repertories of ensemble performance through rehearsal and performance in one of the music department’s faculty-directed ensembles. Any of the MUS 290 courses may be taken more than once for credit, but no more than one may be taken for credit in a single semester. One-half credit is awarded for the completion of each semester in a course.

MUS 290A College Choir

Open to all Bates students and faculty, this ensemble develops the skill and knowledge to perform a wide range of musical styles and genres from a cappella to Broadway and major symphonic works from all periods. There is an emphasis in developing each singer’s vocal ability in a positive environment as well as presenting performances with a high level of musicianship. Enrollment limited to availability.

MUS 290B American String Band Ensemble

Members of the American String Band study and perform a wide variety of American music that falls into the category of roots music, including but not limited to bluegrass, country, jazz, NewGrass, folk and rock and roll played on traditional instruments. The band performs publicly at least once per semester. Students are required to practice between rehearsals. Admission is by audition; all string instruments (including mandolin, guitar, and banjo) and vocalists are welcome. Enrollment limited to availability.

MUS 290C Gamelan Ensemble

Study of the bronze percussion ensemble of Indonesia gamelan. Instruction is provided in traditional and contemporary musical styles from and influenced by West and Central Java. Rehearsals are twice a week, and a performance is given every semester. No previous experience is necessary, and various skill levels are accommodated. Enrollment limited to availability.

MUS 290D Jazz Band and Jazz Combo

The Jazz Band is a large ensemble that performs styles from classic big band and swing to funk and Afro-Cuban. Rehearsals are once a week, and practicing between rehearsals is required. The Jazz Band performs at least one concert per semester. The ensemble uses standard jazz band instrumentation, and students who play other instruments should consult the director. The Jazz Combo is an instrumental or vocal jazz setting in a small ensemble experience. Singers and instrumentalists may enroll. Basic instrumental proficiency, ability to read standard notation, and lead sheet or fake book improvisation skills are required. Admission is by audition. Enrollment limited to availability.

MUS 290E Orchestra

Members of the College Orchestra study and perform music of all periods, giving a concert every semester. Rehearsals are held once a week, and practicing between rehearsals is required. Admission is by audition. Players of all standard orchestral instruments may apply. Enrollment limited to availability.

MUS 290F Steel Pan Orchestra

The Steel Pan Orchestra plays music in a wide variety of styles, from calypso to jazz to classical. Rehearsals are once a week, and a concert is given every semester. No previous experience is necessary, and various skill levels are accommodated. Enrollment limited to availability.

MUS 290H Brass Ensemble

The Brass Ensemble explores varied repertoire, including arrangements of music in different styles and compositions written specifically for brass. The size is flexible, ranging from a quartet to eleven pieces or larger, depending on repertoire and enrollment. The ensemble is open to players of trumpet, French horn, trombone, bass trombone, euphonium, tuba, and percussion. The group rehearses once a week, and individual practice between rehearsals is required. The ensemble performs at least one concert each semester. Admission is by audition. Basic instrumental proficiency and the ability to read standard musical notation are required. Enrollment limited to availability.

MUS 290I Music Visiting Artist Workshop Ensemble

This course provides students the opportunity for regular engagement with the department’s visiting artists. Required activities include regular participation in an ensemble directed by the visiting artist, master classes, artist lecture and concert attendance, and public performance(s). Recommended background: music theory, applied music. Enrollment limited to availability.

MUS 290J Indonesian Dance Ensemble

Indonesian Dance introduces students Javanese court dance and Acehnese dance traditions. The course begins with the basic movement vocabulary of Central Javanese court dance or Acehnese dance styles, and proceeds to the study of dance repertoire. Focus is on techniques and practice, supplemented with short lectures that will provide the sociocultural, historical, and contemporary contexts. Students in the course will perform with live music provided by the Bates Gamelan Ensemble at the end of the semester concert.

MUS 298 Musical Ethnography: Writing Music Culture

This course focuses on ethnomusicological research methods with an emphasis on the fieldwork experience. Students design and undertake an innovative field research project that reflects an understanding of the current philosophical underpinnings, ethical considerations, and approaches to ethnography within the discipline. Developing a feasible research problem and forging logical relationships between project design components are emphasized. Processes of participant observation, interviewing, and various techniques of documentation become part of the student ethnographer’s toolkit. Students analyze and interpret their gathered materials from within a selected theoretical perspective, culminating in a final multimedia document. Recommended background: course work in anthropology, ethnomusicology, or music.

MUS 331 Music Theory III

A continuation of Music Theory II, emphasizing four-voice textures, modulation, chromatic harmony, and sonata forms. Students compose music in several forms and styles, and continue practical ear-training and keyboard work. This course includes regularly scheduled laboratory sessions. Prerequisite(s): MUS 232.

MUS 332 Music Theory IV

A continuation of Music Theory III, emphasizing chromatic harmony and the post-tonal styles of the twentieth century. This course includes regularly scheduled laboratory sessions. Prerequisite(s): MUS 331.

MUS 333 Orchestration

The course is designed to provide students with working knowledge of orchestral instruments, scoring techniques, and notational systems. By reading scores and listening to the recordings of orchestral excerpts from Haydn to Ligeti, students learn about the idiomatic writing, as well as how instruments could be treated in specific groups to expand one’s compositional palette. Each week students workshop compositional ideas and sketches with guest instrumentalists. The final project in this course is an orchestration of a piano piece given in class. Prerequisite(s): MUS 231 and 232.

MUS 360 Independent Study

MUS 365 Special Topics

MUS 392 Community-Engaged Music and Well-being

Among a variety of functions, musical experiences contribute distinctively to well-being across our lifespan. This course introduces students to historical and contemporary ideas about relationships between music and well-being from scientific and humanistic perspectives, and provides a community-engaged research experience through which students assess such ideas in the lives of others with cultural and personal histories different from their own. Working with community partners, and engaging relevant methodologies from oral history and applied ethnomusicology, students co-construct life “soundtracks” with a cross-generational circle of Lewiston-Auburn residents, helping to understand the sociohistorical embeddedness and highly personalized semiotic density of selected musical tracks. Recommended background: MU/PY 253; course work in music, health, or psychology; or community-engaged learning or research experience.

MUS 393 Ethnography in the Performing Arts

This course focuses on ethnographic research methods in the performing arts, emphasizing the reflexive fieldwork experience. Students design and undertake an innovative research project reflecting a critical understanding of current philosophical underpinnings, ethical considerations, and research approaches within qualitative performing arts scholarship. Developing a feasible research problem and forging logical relationships between project design components are emphasized. Reflexivity, critical thinking, and intensive attention to writing are core elements of the course. Students are assessed on class participation, a series of short assignments, and a fieldwork-based (broadly defined) project on a topic of individual interest culminating in a shared multimedia document. Only open to juniors and seniors. Prerequisite(s): course work in anthropology, dance, music, performance art, or theater.

MUS 394 Junior-Senior Seminar in Musicology: Music, Business, and the Law

MUS 457 Senior Thesis

An independent study program culminating in: a) an essay on a musical topic; b) an original composition accompanied by an essay on the work; or c) a recital accompanied by an essay devoted to analysis of works included in the recital. Students register for MUS 457 in the fall semester. Majors undertaking an honors thesis register for both MUS 457 and 458. [W3] for majors on the cultural musicology track only.

MUS 458 Senior Thesis

An independent study program culminating in: a) an essay on a musical topic; b) an original composition accompanied by an essay on the work; or c) a recital accompanied by an essay devoted to analysis of works included in the recital. Students register for MUS 458 in the winter semester. Majors undertaking an honors thesis register for both MUS 457 and 458. [W3] for majors on the cultural musicology track only.

MUS S15 Sonic Arts and Crafts

A hands-on course in which students explore and create the materials of sound making using simple circuitry and everyday objects. Class activities include building microphones using piezo discs and old telephones, building simple synthesizers, experimenting with conductive ink and thread, turning objects into speakers using transducers, and crafting novel speakers using copper foil and everyday materials. Students listen to, watch, and/or respond to a variety of related artwork that engages sonic materiality. They experiment and create original artworks utilizing techniques and concepts covered during the course, concluding with a final installation event showcasing student work.

MUS S25 Performing Musical Art of Indonesia

Hands-on, intercultural musical experiences allow students to approach humanly organized sound from expanded perspectives, as listeners and creative artists. This course introduces students to traditional and contemporary gamelan music of Indonesia, primarily through applied instrumental study. Basic introductory readings and audio-visual materials, as well as class discussion, allow students to locate Indonesian gamelan in the larger context of Southeast Asian performing arts and as an increasingly globalized phenomenon. Students study a selection of regional gamelan traditions from Central Java, West Java, and Bali. The course culminates in public performance of music learned during the term.

MUS S26 Performance in Western Classical Music

This course is suitable for students who want to improve their ability to provide an engaging music performance. Each participant performs in a small ensemble as a vocalist or instrumentalist. Students begin by exploring topics such as performance preparation, interpretation, improvisation, and collaboration. Through study of early and recent recordings, and current debates about performance, students consider how performance traditions are passed on and challenged and how interpretative concepts are translated into sound. In addition to the Western classical tradition, students also explore repertory from jazz, rock, pop, musical theater, and other genres that have intersected with Western classical music. Students must possess the ability and willingness to perform for a classroom audience either vocally or instrumentally and at least a fundamental ability to sing or play an instrument. Prerequisite(s): at least one semester of applied music. Not open to students who have received credit for MUS 220.

MUS S27 Exploring Jazz Guitar

This course explores the nature of the guitar in jazz. A historical survey of jazz guitarists includes extensive listening and viewing of video performances, with special attention to the techniques that established their individual voices on the instrument. Elements of guitar acoustics are discussed and demonstrated in the laboratory. While the course is designed for players and nonplayers, it includes a discussion of jazz theory and analysis. Private lessons are available for guitarists.

MUS S32 Orchestration

The course is designed to provide students with working knowledge of orchestral instruments, scoring techniques, and notational systems. By reading scores and listening to the recordings of orchestral excerpts from Mozart to Ligeti, students learn about idiomatic writing, as well as how instruments can be treated in specific groups to expand a compositional palette. Each week students workshop compositional ideas and sketches with guest instrumentalists. The final project in this course is an orchestration of a piano piece. Prerequisite(s): MUS 231 and 232.

MUS S50 Independent Study