Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, The New School

Thriller: The Audio Production of a Cultural Icon – LMUS 30xx A

michael_jackson_-_thrillerThriller, has been revered as the best selling album of all time.  The title track performed by Michael Jackson, composed by Rod Temperton, and produced by Quincy Jones is a technocultural mix of noise and signal, musical and extramusical sound, as well as speech and song.  This course uses critical listening techniques to identify significant sounds and techniques within this multitrack production of the early 1980s in order to guide our consideration of pertinent readings in sound studies and popular music studies, develop audio ear training techniques, and learn important audio production skills.  In addition, these engagements with “Thriller” facilitate an understanding of musical texture in popular music production, from the multiplicity of polyphonic audio tracks to a reduction towards a homophonic stereo mix.  Considering the process and product, the polyphony and homophony of “Thriller,”  this course situates the discourses and techniques of popular music production within continental and racial discourses about heterogeneity in popular music.  Class sessions will include experiments with digital audio workstation software, critical listening techniques, audio and video demonstrations, discussions, and final project workshops.

Sound to Signal: The Musical Life of Audio Transducers – LMUS 3022 A

audio-transducerHow do music makers, listeners and technologists make music actually sound “musical” with their manipulations of microphones, speakers, and other audio transducers? This course investigates the impact of audio transducers in relation to issues of musical genre and both private and public soundscapes. Students will understand the importance of audio transducers from the perspectives of sound studies, ethnomusicology, and audio science. In addition to engaging music and technology scholarship, students will develop a series of practical skills in music production. Class sessions will include experiments with microphones and loudspeakers, critical listening for the contributions of audio transducers in recorded and amplified music, audio and video demonstrations, discussions, and field trips to pertinent sites within NYC.

Technologies of Global Pop – LMUS 3024 A

tech-of-global-popIn this course, we will examine the intersection between popular music and technology. With in-depth analyses of popular music from around the world, we will question the role of technology in a diverse array of musical practices, locations, and time periods in order to better understand how technology impacts musical meaning. We will begin by looking at early sound reproduction technologies such as the phonograph and the discourses of musical and cultural change that these technologies afforded. We then move to more current examples in which music, technology, place, and identity overlap in revealing ways. Course themes will include intersections of local and global influences, cultural imperialism, strategies of resistance, generational change, digital technology, fidelity and loss as technological and cultural ideas, ethnographic inquiry, intellectual property, and World Music 2.0.  Through weekly reading and writing assignments, short papers, and a research paper, students will complete the course with a nuanced understanding of the relationship between music, technology, and culture.

The School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, The New School

Progressive Currents in 20th Century Music – JMUH 1805 A 

10black-composers1-master1050This course examines progressive trends in 20th and 21st century concert music and improvised music in the US and Europe. It explores some of the ways that composers and improvisers have engaged vernacular musics from Western traditions as well as global musics, and it engages a large number of new compositional and improvisational frames that have been offered, including innovations in pitch structures, rhythmic processes, timbral manipulation, formal design, and more. Throughout, it engages the political motivations behind various musical actions (those of individual artists as well as “schools”), including not music as political action, but with the more abstract political machinations of various practitioners as they have engaged the trajectories of their own pasts. It also emphasizes the fundamental interconnectedness between improvised music and composed music, blurring the perceived lines that have been drawn between them by various partisan factions.

World Music History – JMUH 3802 A

babatunde-olatunjiKnowledge of the world’s musical forms and traditions is invaluable to aspiring musicians today. This course examines the historical and cultural contexts of music from around the world. Topics of special interest include: how music travels, cross-cultural syncretism, musical interconnections, and how music is brokered and commodified.

The Department of Music, William Paterson University

Popular Music & Genre Study I – MUS 3160

alan-merriamThe Popular Popular Periods & Genre Study I course raises the following questions: 1) How do social lives and musical cultures interrelate? 2) How have globally commercialized musics emerged over time? This course introduces students in the Popular Music major to a variety of musical and social features related to specific music genres within the global music market. Through an ethnomusicological method, both lectures and examples from a diverse musical repertoire present the social values for musics that frequently circulate between Western and non-Western musical contexts. Students’ participation in musical analysis and use of social theory will strengthen their understanding of the role of musical style and related social attitudes within the global order.

Popular Music & Genre Study II – MUS 4100

with-jason30_wide-2e1e0173a919e4abecfdd124c5fdd008eb6e8472The Popular Periods & Genre Study II course raises the following questions 1) How do globally commercialized music genres affect individuals and social groups, and vice versa? 2) How do ethnographic methods represent popular music cultures?  This course introduces students in the Popular Music major to the contemporary social features specific music genres within the global music market.  Through an ethnomusicological method, both lectures and examples from a diverse musical repertoire present the social values for music that frequently circulate between Western and non-Western musical contexts.  Students’ participation in musical analysis, performance, use of social theory, and experimentations in ethnographic representation intend to strengthen their emergence into a global music industry, both as artists and as entrepreneurs.