2019-2020 Catalog

MUSC 385 Advanced Topics in the Critical Study of Music

Topics vary by semester.

Bach’s Cycles: Bach, Musical Systems, and the Enlightenment. This seminar will explore stylistic and structural issues in several monumental works of Bach. Two points of view will be taken: analytic, and musico-sociological. Works to be studied include the Goldberg Variations, the unaccompanied sonatas and partitas for violin, the unaccompanied suites for cello, the Well-Tempered Clavier, the Art of Fugue, and the Musical Offering. Topics for papers and presentations will be developed with attention to seminar participants’ particular interests. A course grade of B- or better, and satisfactory completion of a minimum of 15 pages of written work will satisfy the College’s second-stage writing requirement as implemented by the Music Department. Prerequisite: MUSC 250 (may be taken concurrently). 

Music and Food. This interdisciplinary research seminar will examine the relationship between music and food and thus hearing and taste in Europe and the United States beginning with the 16th-century category of musical composition called “table music” and culminating in the present-day gastropub. Along the way we will explore topics such as the 18th-century emergence of aesthetics as a branch of philosophy the rise of the restaurant and gastronomy Dandyism and Decadent literature and “fine dining” in the United States. We will read scholarly literature from the fields of philosophy history cognitive science sociology literature and music. Students will carve out an area of research early on and develop it over the course of the semester culminating in a research presentation and final argument-driven research paper. The course will conclude with the recreation of a historical banquet.


4 units