Seminar 4206-901 (Mondays 12-2 PM Room 3228)
Theory and Current Music – Instructors-Peter Hannan and Ken Morrison
Can we use music theoretical and analytical techniques to analyze contemporary popular music? In this seminar, we will use a variety of analytical tools including Harmonic, Motivic, (Schenkerian), Rhythmic/Metric, Textual, Contextual (social/economic), and others to study a variety of contemporary songs. We will try to balance engaging each song on its own terms and listening to each song through the filters of analysis. Can we assemble a set of analytical tools to engage contemporary music on its own terms?
Students will be required to study a song and present their analysis to the seminar. Finally, everyone must submit an analysis paper on another song not on the syllabus.
Weekly Participation: 25% (2% per week)
Midterm Assignment: 30%
Analytical Presentation: 35%
Final Analytical Paper: 10%
Prerequisites: Minimum of two years of music theory
Syllabus (subject to change)
GENERAL TOPICS (WEEKS 1-4):
Week 1 (Jan 9): Introduction to Song Forms; What is form in music?
Week 2 (Jan 16): How does traditional music theory help in describing current music?
What is harmonic analysis? Details of Text Setting
Week 3 (Jan 23): Genres: What are they, and why do they matter for musicians now?
Week 4 (Jan 30): Where does transcription and conventional notation fit in? The Song versus a particular performance of the song (What is the fundamental text?)
Week 5 (Feb 6 ): Sound analysis as music theory; The producer as artist: Is the arrangement and performance where the “art” happens? new ways of writing songs – who is the composer? – the Rihanna method
Feb. 13 is Family Day in BC (VCC is closed)
Week 6 (Feb 20): Midterm Assignment due; Words, music meaning
SPECIFIC TOPICS: (WEEKS 7-11):
Week 7 (Feb 27): Spectral analysis.
Analyzing rock music – 500 greatest songs; new directions in jazz
Week 8 (March 6): Sound Synthesis. Electronic music – Aphex Twin to John Hopkins; the singer songwriter phenomenon – Dylan to Regina Spektor
Week 9 (March 13): More Synthesis
Week 10 (March 20): Presentations
Week 11 (March 27) Presentations
Week 12 (April 3) Presentations
FINAL E-Document DUE ON April 10 AT 09:30