MUS 402(S) Senior Seminar in Music

This seminar, the culminating course in the major, will focus on a classic subject of musical inquiry: the relationship between music and language. Is music itself a language? Does joining words to music impart power to the words or provide signification to the music? How should text be set to music? These questions have intrigued composers, philosophers, and linguists throughout history and across the globe. Our work in this seminar will involve both the analysis of specific vocal styles and the critical interpretation of historical and contemporary theories of music and language. We will investigate such topics as: polytextuality in the fourteenth-century motet; stile rappresentativo and Italian humanism; symbolic language in Bach; Rousseau's theory of music as ideal language; rhetoric and the Classical style; detached texts in nineteenth-century instrumental music and musical analysis; musical narration in nineteenth-century opera; traditions of Buddhist chant; Qur'anic recitation as non-music; experimental vocal techniques in the twentieth-century; the ballads of Cole Porter; Dylan's bardic style; the voice and technology. Evaluation will be based on papers, presentations, and class participation. Prerequisites: Music 202, 207, 208, 209 and permission of instructor. Enrollment limit: all senior music majors (expected: 7).