Studies in American Music History (MHI4103.01)

Kitty Brazelton

Citizens of Bennington College make music—and listen to music—in America. What does that mean? Obscure corners of the American past still ring in the music we make, but we play on unaware. Why do we like this music but not that? How are our tastes shaped by a heritage we know little or nothing about? The dark sins of minstrel music that tracked into Broadway and Hollywood and still secretly resound in comedy shows like SNL while generating the shared practicum of garage bands in a suburbia na├»ve as new snow. The bright destiny-shaping four-part vocal settings of the religious rhymes of cleric Isaac Watts (who?) that swept in the First and Second Great Awakenings in the English-speaking world, still embedded today in African American and Jamaican Gospel. The Mid-Century Folk Revival movement which returned the US to medieval Europe while exploding the global power of the Blues on a world hungry to hear, sing, know, steal, love… These are a few topics we might explore. We’ll decide when we meet! You’ll have to know your harmony in advance, cold, and be able to read and write (music notation), or it’s no fly.

Prerequisites: Two non-introductory courses in music theory or harmony. Full fluency reading and writing music notation.
Credits: 4
W 10:00am - 11:50am; W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency:
This course is categorized as 4000, All courses, Four Credit, History, Kitty Brazelton, Wednesday Afternoons, Wednesday Mornings, and tagged , , , , , .