Songlines: One Thousand Years of Music and Poetry (MHI2229.01)

Joseph Alpar

Uniting text and music has been a continuous and vital expression of musical creativity for millennia. In this course we will investigate how composers and songwriters have set poetry to music for nearly one thousand years. What can we as contemporary songwriters, poets, and music listeners learn from these histories? How does a musical setting function as a composer’s reading of a text? How do compositional choices express cultural bias as well as philosophical and political concerns? What about the poet’s perspective? We will listen to, watch, and sometimes sing famous and lesser known Western vocal works from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, reading the texts that inspired them. We will also explore many examples from around the world, such as epic storytelling, ballads, rap, folk, pop, spirituals and ring shouts of the American South, along with other material of interest to class members. Students will have the option to develop a final creative project or write a research paper based on the work of the class.

Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 4
W 4:10-6:00 & Th 3:40-5:30
Maximum Enrollment: 18
Course Frequency: One time only
This course is categorized as All courses, Literature, History, and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .