Musical Forms (MHI2240.01)

Allen Shawn

This class focuses on musical architecture, by examining important and beautiful works from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and discussing the traditional forms they exemplify. We will listen to works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Mahler, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Berg, and Rzewski (among others), analyzing their structures in detail. Forms to be studied will include concerto grosso, chorale prelude, sonata form, theme and variations, passacaglia, and fugue.

Traditional or not, each piece of music is unique. We will discuss the tension between structure and imagination, predetermined form and the individual creative impulse, and we will ponder such questions as what we mean by musical coherence or by the notion that we are following a piece of music, and where we would draw the line between structure and chaos or whether such a distinction is simply a matter of opinion.

Non-musicians will be expected to learn some musical fundamentals and to develop some skill at score reading, and to immerse themselves in the materials and issues of the course through listening and outside readings. Coursework will include weekly listening assignments and responses, some readings, and one paper.

The ability to read music and knowledge of the rudiments of harmony are recommended, but not required.


Learning Outcomes:
Increased enjoyment of long-form classical music
increased understanding of musical structure
Writing and speaking skills
Relating music to the other arts and to science

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 2
W 2:10PM - 4:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 2000 , All courses , Fully In-Person , History , Two Credit