Music

Website

Daniel Strong Godfrey, PhD
Professor and Chair

351 Ryder Hall
617.373.2440
617.373.4129 (fax)
Allen G. Feinstein, Senior Teaching Professor and Head Faculty Mentor, a.feinstein@northeastern.edu

The Department of Music offers its music majors, music minors, and combined majors a cross-disciplinary approach to the study and practice of music, underscored by real-world experiential learning and cutting-edge technology. The music faculty are dedicated to three continuously interacting and integrated dimensions: the creation of music; its production and promotion; and the study of its history, meaning, and impact on cultures around the globe—past, present, and future.

There are three concentrations in music: the Bachelor of Arts in Music, the Bachelor of Science in Music with Concentration in Music Technology, and the Bachelor of Science in Music with Concentration in Music Industry. Students in all three concentrations begin with a core of shared offerings, including a uniquely probing, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary introduction to music, Music in Everyday Life (MUSC 1001)together with shared requirements in introductory theory and musicianship. With a common perspective offered by these courses, students then branch out to focus on their individual disciplines but also to interact and bring unique aspects of their disciplines together in a collaborative learning environment with other students.

Our signature program is the Bachelor of Arts in Music, designed to offer a variety of flexible advising paths that allow a focus on history, theory, ethnomusicology, performance, or other directions tailored to the students' individual interests. 

The Bachelor of Science in Music with Concentration in Music Technology focuses on the creative application of digital sound technologies to a broad range of artistic, social, and industrial purposes, including experimental composition, film, video, theatre, game design, mobile applications, sound design for urban environments, and beyond. An emphasis is maintained throughout on imaginative exploration, collaboration across disciplines, and real-world experience. 

The Bachelor of Science in Music with Concentration in Music Industry, the first such undergraduate program offered in Boston, is designed for students with an interest in fields such as artist management; the music products industry; the recording industry; arts administration; contracting and legal issues; financial and economics aspects of the music industry; and broadcast, mobile, and online media technologies.

Through an exchange program with the New England Conservatory (NEC), the Department of Music also offers a joint certificate in performance, where students may attend classes and take performance instruction at NEC in combination with offerings from the Northeastern University music catalog (see below). 

While some music courses are designed for music majors, music minors and combined majors in music, and a variety of other disciplines, the Department of Music also offers elective survey courses and other study opportunities open to students across the Northeastern University campus. Also available are private lessons in a wide variety of instruments and voice, including a focus on genres ranging from traditional concert music to jazz to fusion, rock, and a variety of popular idioms.

An extensive concert series presents not only guest performers and ensembles from around the world but also performances by the Northeastern University Symphony Orchestra; the Northeastern University Wind Ensemble and Concert Band; the Northeastern University Choral Society; and the Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Choir, Contemporary Music Ensemble, Blues/Rock Fusion Ensemble, Rock Ensemble, Chamber Music Ensembles, and individual student recitals, along with an array of student-run music groups.

In addition to co-op, Dialogues of Civilization, and a range of other opportunities for experiential learning and study abroad, students may immediately begin to participate in student organizations, such as Green Line Records and other groups, that allow students actively to pursue their passions and aspirations.

Students may double concentrate in music industry and music technology. While students are encouraged to consider double majoring in the Bachelor of Arts in Music and other disciplines outside music, the BA cannot be combined with the concentration in music industry or the concentration in music technology.  

Students may double count only one course between a concentration and a minor.  Students may double count only one course between two different music minors. Should a student place out of a course in a minor, it must be replaced with another course.

Academic Progression Standards

Students must maintain at least a B– average in all major courses and complete all required music courses with grades of at least C. Students who fail to meet the above standards will be placed on departmental probation; those who remain on probation for two consecutive semesters will be dropped from the major.

Preapproved Template Programs in Music and in Music Industry

The Department of Music offers preapproved template programs in the following areas:

  • Music
  • Music industry
  • Music technology

Each template program may be paired with another preapproved template program to create a combined major; to see a list of current preapproved template programs, visit the combined majors webpage.

Students may request admission to such a combined major via the Combined Major Approval form, which requires approval by both disciplines/colleges together with an approved curriculum. For additional information on preapproved template programs, see “Student-Requested Combined Major.” For template program requirements, visit the myNortheastern web portal, click on the “Self-Service” tab, then on “My Degree Audit.”

NEC/NU Joint Certificate Programs in Music Performance

The Department of Music at Northeastern University (NU) and the New England Conservatory (NEC), administered through its School of Continuing Education, offer a Professional Studies Certificate in Music Performance. This program primarily serves undergraduate music majors who audition competitively and are dedicated to advancing their skills on an instrument or voice in the classical or jazz styles.

The certificate in music performance is in addition to the student’s NU undergraduate degree—it is an entirely separate and distinct credential. Credits are taken partly at Northeastern University and partly at the New England Conservatory and/or its continuing education division. Those courses taken directly from the New England Conservatory catalog require permission of NEC faculty but are part of a tuition exchange program shared between Northeastern University and the New England Conservatory; they do not carry additional tuition costs. Some courses may be taken through NEC’s School of Continuing Education, which is not part of the tuition exchange program; those courses are billed separately over and above tuition at Northeastern University and are not eligible for financial aid. Individual lessons with faculty at the New England Conservatory carry a lab fee each semester, which is billed separately from tuition.

Students should be aware that ensembles at NEC meet primarily during the morning and that academic courses offered at NEC meet primarily in the afternoons.

Music Courses

MUSC 1000. Music at Northeastern. 1 Hour.

Intended for freshmen in the College of Arts, Media and Design. Introduces freshmen to the liberal arts in general. Offers students an opportunity to become familiar with their major; to develop the academic skills necessary to succeed (analytical ability and critical thinking); grounding in the culture and values of the university community; and to develop interpersonal skills—in short, to become familiar with all skills needed to become a successful university student.

MUSC 1001. Music in Everyday Life. 4 Hours.

Dedicated to exploring, expanding, and exploding traditional meanings of what music is; of what it means to be a composer, performer, and audience member; and of what it means to listen. The overarching goal is to provide students with the tools and opportunities necessary for determining for themselves what place music holds in everyday life.

MUSC 1106. Women in Music. 4 Hours.

Examines the multifaceted role of women in music from the Renaissance to the present. Discusses the fact that for centuries women have been active and influential patrons, composers, teachers, conductors, and performers in Europe and the United States. Examines their contributions to classical and popular music and to jazz, with emphasis on such widely varying figures as Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Clara Schumann, Amy Beach, Germaine Tailleferre, Billie Holiday, Carla Bley, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Pauline Oliveros, Sarah Caldwell, Antonia Brico, and Nadia Boulanger.

MUSC 1109. Introduction to Art, Drama, and Music. 4 Hours.

Offers an interdisciplinary approach to music and other arts including painting, film, and theatre. Examines works of art from various periods in the context of the cultures that produced them. Supplements regular classes with visits to art museums or attendance at concerts and theatrical performances.

MUSC 1110. Music in Popular Culture. 4 Hours.

Explores the nature of music composed for the mass market. Discusses techniques of recording and merchandising music. Selected songs are analyzed for their musical content. Traces the evolution of various styles including ragtime, jazz, blues, rock, and music for the media.

MUSC 1111. Rock Music. 4 Hours.

Examines the development of rock-and-roll and its relationship to blues, rhythm and blues, country, folk, and other styles of music. Considers themes such as the role of rock as youth music, the reflections of social realities in rock songs, the relationship of rock to the recording industry and the mass media, and the changing styles of rock. Emphasizes listening skills.

MUSC 1112. Jazz. 4 Hours.

Examines the evolution of the creative improvisational musical styles commonly called jazz, from its African-American roots to its status as one of America’s classical musics and an internationally valued art form. Explores the contributions of African and European musical traditions and African-American spirituals, work songs, and blues. Examines major contributors and stylistic development and change through selected audio and audio-visual presentations. Also considers the sociocultural dynamics that have affected musical evolution and acceptance.

MUSC 1113. Film Music. 4 Hours.

Emphasizes the various ways that music is used in film, including music depicted on-screen and musical scores. Music is a crucial element of meaning in film, yet its presence is easy to ignore. Offers students an opportunity to learn basic approaches to the analysis of music and sound in film, to develop the ability to think critically about film, and to become knowledgeable about key historical developments in film music and sound. No musical background is necessary.

MUSC 1114. Mozart. 4 Hours.

Traces Mozart’s musical development from child prodigy to mature artist through personal letters and biographies. Analyzes many of his major compositions including symphonies, concertos, operas, and chamber works.

MUSC 1115. Debussy and the Music of Paris. 4 Hours.

Recognizes that Claude Debussy, impressionist in sound, composed music that marked a turning point toward modern trends. Covers much of his music for piano, orchestra, and voice, including Suite Pour le Piano, Suite Bergamasque, Images (for piano and orchestra), Nocturnes, La Mer, and Pelleas et Melisande. Discusses the music of Satie, Ravel, and Fauré as it relates to that of Debussy.

MUSC 1116. Beethoven. 4 Hours.

Analyzes the complex personality and art of Beethoven, his relation to the turbulent times in which he lived, and his role in classical and romantic music.

MUSC 1118. Music Therapy 1. 4 Hours.

Examines the application of music as a therapeutic vehicle to release suppressed emotions, to encourage self-expression in psychiatric patients, and to treat a wide variety of disorders. Examines music therapy, in a modern approach to health services, as a supplement to other treatments.

MUSC 1119. Fundamentals of Western Music Theory. 4 Hours.

Introduces students with little or no musical experience to all the major and minor key signatures and the following scales: major, natural minor, harmonic minor, and melodic minor. Topics include how to read music in treble clef, bass clef, and various C-clefs; how to identify and construct intervals, triads, and seventh chords; how melody and harmony work together to create a piece of music; roman numeral analyses; and various small forms. Short excerpts are analyzed, and students are required to write musical compositions.

MUSC 1131. Music of Latin America and the Caribbean. 4 Hours.

Introduces students to the diverse music of Latin America and the Caribbean. Students read and write about the cross-fertilization of indigenous, European, and African influences in the music that have created unique hybrid musical genres. Cultural theories used in class frame the conceptual, behavioral, and musical aspects of performance in a number of contrasting music cultures. Students discuss and write about features of the music cultures under study and investigate how music constructs meaning for listeners. Offers students an opportunity to gain an understanding of the important connection of music to its accompanying dance—which shapes the music’s tempo, rhythmic structure, and form—and to develop critical listening skills.

MUSC 1134. Guitar Class. 4 Hours.

Provides an introduction to the fundamentals of classical guitar playing for those with or without prior knowledge of the guitar. Covers music reading and theory. Requires students to perform alone and in ensemble with other members of the class. Augments the syllabus by live performances from outside professional and student classical guitarists. Bases final grades on several written examinations and student performance.

MUSC 1136. What’s Playing at Symphony?. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to attend several performances of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) at Symphony Hall. Discusses each piece of music from a variety of perspectives, including the history of a given composer and his or her relationship to music history and the history of a given composition and its relevance to the symphonic repertoire. Analyzes program pieces in order to provide a deeper appreciation for their musical construction; however, no musical background is required to participate in this course—it is designed for nonmusic majors and music majors alike. Requires students to purchase BSO College Cards (for a nominal fee) for the current BSO concert season.

MUSC 1140. Global Pop Music. 4 Hours.

Introduces and studies popular music from around the world within the framework of popular culture and the impact of globalization. Seeks to answer three major questions using readings, musical listenings, and discussions of materials for the course: What do we mean by music as popular culture? What do we mean by global perspective? What is the mutual impact between global forces and local musics? Explores important issues surrounding popular music in regard to specific genres, styles, and practices using readings gleaned from the fields of anthropology, sociology, and ethnomusicology. Requires students both to respond to and to build on the work of various scholars in their writing assignments, final project, and final exam.

MUSC 1141. Wired for Sound. 4 Hours.

Explores the use of electronics in music of various styles and genres from a historical perspective, beginning in the early twentieth century and moving to the present. Examines the methods and means of electronic sound production. Throughout history, technological innovations have influenced music. Starting in the early twentieth century, electricity and, later, electronics, became a key motivating force in music, both in composing and performing and even in listening. Covers the social and cultural conditions under which electric sound was able to evolve.

MUSC 1142. Pop, Jazz, and Rock Singing. 4 Hours.

Focuses on singing techniques used in pop, rock, and jazz. Techniques taught, discussed, and applied in class include breathing, tone and vowel production, singing with power without strain, developing range, improvising, and creating one’s own style. Offers students an opportunity to apply these techniques in class, learning through vocal demonstrations in class and through the study of recordings. Singers/songwriters are encouraged to enroll. All levels of singers are welcome; students who enroll should already have the ability to sing generally in tune.

MUSC 1201. Music Theory 1. 4 Hours.

Introduces melodic and harmonic practices in tonal music with additional work in chord and melody construction. Develops ear training and sight-singing skills.

MUSC 1202. Music Theory 2. 4 Hours.

Continues MUSC 1201. Focuses on harmonic practices in tonal music. Examines the role and function of harmony through analysis of musical examples and composition of four-voice chorales. Introduces study of advanced harmony. Further develops ear training and sight-singing skills.

MUSC 1205. Piano Class 1. 4 Hours.

Provides introductory-level study of piano designed for students with or without previous experience. Combines skills in reading music with improvisation and functional piano. Introduces some basic theory to help clarify the structure of class repertoire. Allows students to progress at their own pace. Determines grades by the amount of repertoire mastered during the semester.

MUSC 1250. Instrumentation and Orchestration. 4 Hours.

Introduces the individual abilities of the instruments of the orchestra as well as the fundamental techniques of orchestration.

MUSC 1901. Music Lessons 1. 1 Hour.

Offers private instruction in voice or in an instrument. Arranges weekly lessons on a half-hour basis. Contact the music department for arrangements. Requires lab fee. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1902. Music Lessons 2. 1 Hour.

Offers private instruction in voice or in an instrument. Arranges weekly lessons on a half-hour basis. Contact the music department for arrangements. Requires lab fee. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1903. Composition Lessons. 1 Hour.

Offers private instruction in music composition. Contact the music department for arrangements. Requires lab fee. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1904. Chorus. 1 Hour.

Allows students to participate as performers in one or more ensembles under the direction of a faculty conductor. Prereq: Audition or permission of instructor. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1905. Concert Band. 1 Hour.

Allows students to participate as performers in one or more ensembles under the direction of a faculty conductor. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1906. Orchestra. 1 Hour.

Allows students to participate as performers in one or more ensembles under the direction of a faculty conductor. Prereq: Audition or permission of instructor. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1907. Wind Ensemble. 1 Hour.

Allows students to participate as performers in one or more ensembles under the direction of a faculty conductor. Prereq: Audition or permission of instructor. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1911. Jazz Ensemble. 1 Hour.

Designed to serve both music majors and nonmajors, this is a performance/theory/history offering of the varied styles and techniques of performance in the jazz tradition of African-American music. Students are drawn from all segments of the University. Repertory is taken from the standard jazz literature as well as investigations of new works. Improvisational and interpretational technique are the core content of the course. Both the NU Jazz Ensemble and the NU Jazz Combo are represented together in this course. Prereq: Audition or permission of instructor. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1912. Rock Ensemble. 1 Hour.

Allows students to participate as performers in one or more ensembles under the direction of a faculty conductor. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1913. Blues/Rock Ensemble. 1 Hour.

Allows students to participate as performers in one or more ensembles under the direction of a faculty conductor. Prereq: Audition or permission of instructor. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1914. Create Your Own Music. 1 Hour.

Allows students to participate as performers in one or more ensembles under the direction of a faculty conductor. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1915. Chamber Ensemble. 1 Hour.

Allows students to participate as performers in one or more ensembles under the direction of a faculty conductor. Prereq: Audition or permission of instructor. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1916. Contemporary Music Ensemble. 1 Hour.

Offers students an opportunity to participate as performers in an ensemble under the direction of a faculty conductor. Under faculty supervision, students have an opportunity to identify repertory, including original compositions by members of the ensemble. Prereq: Audition or permission of instructor. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1917. Jazz Choir and Combo. 1 Hour.

Designed to give students who sing jazz and blues the opportunity to rehearse and perform in a small vocal group. Offers students an opportunity to work on singing in harmony and be featured in solos. The group is also accompanied by a student jazz combo. Members of the combo may register for the course for credit. Requires audition. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 1918. World Music Ensemble. 1 Hour.

Explores music-making traditions from selected world cultures through performance on percussion, voice, and other instruments. No previous music-making experience required. May be repeated up to eight times.

MUSC 1919. Fusion Ensemble. 1 Hour.

Offers students an opportunity to participate as performers in one or more ensembles under the direction of a faculty conductor. Focuses on instrumental rock, blues, funk, and jazz repertoire. Prereq: Audition or permission of instructor. May be repeated up to eight times.

MUSC 1920. Pep Band. 1 Hour.

Offers students an opportunity to participate as performers in one or more ensembles under the direction of a faculty supervisor. The pep band performs at sporting events and other university functions. May be repeated up to eight times.

MUSC 1990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 2101. Black Popular Music. 4 Hours.

Surveys, investigates, and analyzes black popular music from the end of the 19th century to the present. Through critical listening habits and analytical thinking skills, offers students an opportunity to explore black popular culture as a means of expression, communication, and collective identity, attending to issues of representation, identity, values, and aesthetics through a wide range of interdisciplinary sources and methodologies. Emphasizes intersections of creativity, technology, and performance, along with the impact of music industry, audience reception, and cultural politics. Expects students to complete daily exercises and weekly discussion forums in which they must apply critical thinking to synthesize material, complete comparative analyses, relate individual lessons to key course themes, and connect the curriculum to their own experiences and musical listening practices.

MUSC 2111. Algebra and Geometry of Music. 4 Hours.

Engages mathematical thinking in music with regard to its symbolic (how we represent music using numbers and signs); sonic (how mathematical thinking might create insights into musical sound); and grammatical (the logic by which music proceeds from one time to the next) expressions. Music and mathematics both contain objects that exhibit similar properties, such as circularity, similarity, objecthood, spatial dimensionality, dynamics, and processuality. Draws upon various branches of mathematics, including number theory, set theory, algebra, geometry, and statistics. Such representations highlight fundamental musical principles invoked in the process of improvisation, performance, and composition. As such, musical listening is a key component of the course. Ability to read musical notation or musical experience preferred.

MUSC 2130. Music of Asia. 4 Hours.

Introduces the musical heritage of a variety of music cultures in Southeast, Far East, and Central Asia, highlighting the importance of music as a human activity and a creative expressive form. Exposure to aesthetic preferences different from the West expands students’ notions of what sounds pleasing, pleasurable, or proper. Offers students an opportunity to learn cultural theories that frame the conceptual, behavioral, and musical aspects of performance in a number of contrasting music cultures. Students discuss and write about features of the music cultures under study, investigate how music constructs meaning for listeners, and develop critical listening skills. Learning about local and global forces that shape music engages students to argue for the positive or negative effects each have on processes of musical change.

MUSC 2150. Making a Musical: Analysis, Craft, and Creation. 4 Hours.

Explores how great musicals are constructed and what tools are needed, focusing on how effective lyrics are built; how songs function in musicals; and how book writers, lyricists, and composers create new works and adapt existing works from other media to the musical theater stage. Offers students an opportunity to transform analytical techniques and discoveries into creative strategies, building short musicals in collaborative teams. Students need not be musicians to participate in this class. Aspiring actors, composers, lyricists, authors of all styles, technical theater artists and designers, and all those with a curiosity about the history of musicals and how musicals are made are strongly encouraged to enroll.

MUSC 2208. Jazz Improvisation. 4 Hours.

Focuses on repertory as well as performance. Examines the great improvisational artists in American music, such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. Approaches analysis from a theoretical as well as a practical perspective. Explores the use of rhythm, chords, scales, and modes in the creative improvisation process.

MUSC 2209. Conducting. 4 Hours.

Provides instruction in the basic gestures used in conducting vocal and instrumental ensembles. Topics include beat patterns, conveying phrasing and articulation, cueing, controlling tempo and dynamics, score study, and rehearsal techniques. Provides an opportunity for students to constitute a laboratory ensemble for regular practicum.

MUSC 2210. Introduction to Songwriting. 4 Hours.

Offers an opportunity to learn to construct songs with forward motion and memorable “hooks.”Topics include time-proven song forms, melody writing, harmonic tools, lyric writing, collaboration, and production techniques. Emphasizes the craft of writing songs for use in film and television.

MUSC 2211. Advanced Songwriting. 4 Hours.

Builds on the skills covered in MUSC 2210. Seeks to advance the student’s songwriting toolbox via a combination of analysis/transcription, writing, production, critiquing, and analysis. In order to maximize the amount of professional opportunities afforded to the songwriters, this course is highly collaborative in order to model the writing processes most commonly used in the industry. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor.

MUSC 2303. Tonal Form. 4 Hours.

Continues MUSC 1202. Examines representative examples of structural principles governing the melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, and formal components of music. Focuses on music from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. Further develops ear training and sight-singing skills.

MUSC 2304. Music Theory 4. 4 Hours.

Continues MUSC 2303. Examines works from the late nineteenth century to the present. Includes selected readings by prominent twentieth-century theorists. Further develops ear training and sight-singing skills.

MUSC 2310. Popular Music Since 1945. 4 Hours.

Surveys the evolution of popular music styles in the United States, from the end of World War II to the present day. Examines popular music’s development and transformation, highlighting interactions with a wide array of factors including ethnic and gender identities, music business practices, race relations, social and political movements, and technological innovations. Offers students an opportunity to gain a broad overview of the field of popular music studies, its theoretical perspectives and methodologies, and its research sources and materials.

MUSC 2311. Historical Traditions: America. 4 Hours.

Provides an overview of music in the United States in cultural and stylistic contexts. Introduces historical methods of music. Studies a broad range of styles including folk, popular, and classical music.

MUSC 2312. Historical Traditions: Classical. 4 Hours.

Provides an overview of eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and early twentieth-century Western music in cultural and stylistic contexts. Covers some of the best-known figures in classical music: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, and Stravinsky. Considers why and how the great tradition of tonal music defines classical music even today. Uses scores to help understand the different ways music can be written and the different aesthetic definitions of beauty, pleasure, and meaning in sound.

MUSC 2313. Historical Traditions: World. 4 Hours.

Studies music from around the globe. Analyzes the different meanings music holds and the cultural preferences for sound that distinguish cultures and subcultures. Students read and write about cultural theories that guide them in linking the conceptual, behavioral, and musical aspects of performance in a number of contrasting music cultures. Investigates how music constructs meaning for listeners. Offers students an opportunity to develop critical listening skills, learn about local and global forces that shape music, and to argue for the positive or negative effects each have on processes of musical change. Expects students to complete a final research paper, applying cultural theories and integrating data about musical sound, behavior, and concepts in their writing.

MUSC 2315. History of Electronic Music. 4 Hours.

Exposes students to the history of electronic music from its conception in the late 1800s to the present day. Requires extensive listening and analysis of representative works to ensure students have the opportunity to acquire a clear understanding of the music in question. Studies technical innovations that affected the creation of electronic compositions.

MUSC 2317. Punk Rock. 4 Hours.

Explores punk rock as a music genre and a lifestyle, an attitude and a philosophy, a political orientation and a commodified fashion. Everyone’s perspective on punk is different, but it also has rules and boundaries. Although it emerged in the 1970s as a reaction against very specific social, cultural, and musical moments in the United States and the United Kingdom, punk has become larger than itself in the intervening decades, spawning sub-subcultures and subgenres that would be unrecognizable to its originators. Addresses punk’s long narrative: protopunk genres including garage rock and glam rock; punk’s origins in New York City and London; its transformation into postpunk, hardcore, anarcho-punk, and straightedge; and its legacy outside the United States/United Kingdom nexus and in genres such as riot grrrl, grunge, and pop-punk.

MUSC 2320. 40,000 Years of Music Technology. 4 Hours.

Surveys the relationship between music and technology from the Paleolithic Age to the present. Examines the origins and impact of diverse musical instruments, with attention to connections between musical and technological developments; the reasons instruments are accepted, modified, or abandoned; and debates about the effects of new technologies on music. Considers such forces as standardization, institutionalization, and commodification—as well as experimentation, hacker, and DIY cultures—and asks whether music technologies are just tools or rather carry with them ethical values and ramifications. By studying the sociocultural history of such instruments as the violin, piano, electric guitar, and synthesizer, offers students an opportunity to gain an understanding of the interplay between technological change and the enduring human need for music.

MUSC 2330. Musical Communities of Boston. 4 Hours.

Combines ethnomusicology and experiential learning by exploring the diverse communities of Boston and their music. Since 17th-century encounters between the Wampanoag Nation and English Puritans, Boston has been characterized by intercultural contact and exchange. Discusses the history and legacies of such encounters, as well as present-day issues of diversity and belonging in Boston. Focuses on how communities reinforce their own cultural bonds through music and discusses alliances formed through shared experiences of diasporic, exilic, refugee, immigrant, and minority status. Through interdisciplinary, ethnographic analysis and practice, offers students an opportunity to explore how these inherently intersectional social dynamics—which engage issues of race, gender, class, ethnicity, etc.—play out through collective and individual musical practices.

MUSC 2340. Divas, DJs, and Double Standards. 4 Hours.

Examines the significance of gender to the experience of and access to participation in music making, listening, the music industries, and cultural recognition. Surveys how gender differences have been constructed, enacted, and contested in historical and contemporary musical cultures and develops critical lenses for analyzing musical representations of gender difference and their social impact. Considers how gender intersects with racial and sexual identities in music and its institutional structures. Uses case studies drawn from a variety of contexts, such as classical (Bizet’s “Carmen”), popular (Beyoncé), film (“Star Wars”), and avant-garde (Yoko Ono).

MUSC 2350. Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Music. 4 Hours.

Introduces students from a variety of disciplines to the fundamentals of sonic production, transmission, and reception. Topics include impedance, refraction and diffraction, wave mechanics, frequency spectrum, and resonance. Applies core concepts to the understanding of the acoustics of musical instruments and loudspeakers. Explores basic auditory psychophysics. Offers students an opportunity to investigate real-life applications in the domains of music, sonic art, sound design, instrumental design, and recording.

MUSC 2351. Music, Sound, and the Screen. 4 Hours.

Examines the function of music and sound design in contemporary visual media: how they are used in relation to images, and how they work with images to generate meaning and shape experience. Topics include film, television, video games, and the internet; and intermedial forms such as title sequences, trailers, music videos, and commercials.

MUSC 2420. Music Composition Seminar 1. 4 Hours.

Exposes students to the basic methods of music composition. Analyzes examples from music literature to gain an understanding of the methods employed; students complete several compositions of their own.

MUSC 2540. Special Topics in Music. 4 Hours.

Focuses on various topics related to music. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 2990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 3337. Writing about Music. 4 Hours.

Provides an overview of various types of musical journalism including criticism, reviews, feature articles, program notes, promotional material, and so on. Offers students significant opportunity to develop their own skills in writing, editing, research, and interview techniques as they apply to writing about music and the music industry.

MUSC 3410. Recital 1. 1 Hour.

Offers preparation for and performance of a minirecital (twenty to thirty minutes of music) under the guidance of the student’s primary instrumental or vocal instructor. Minirecitals are usually shared by more than one student. Students take MUSC 3410 in place of MUSC 4992.

MUSC 3470. War and Music. 4 Hours.

Offers an interdisciplinary and comparative exploration of the diverse ways in which composers, artists, novelists, poets, and dramatists have depicted the excitement, glory, agony, and sacrifice of war both at the dawn of modern gunpowder-based warfare in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and as the full impacts of “industrialized killing” became visible in the twentieth. Drawing on artistic and literary artifacts and the massive cultural outpourings that the slaughter and destruction of the two World Wars of the twentieth century elicited, students will investigate how artists’ interactions with the experience and meaning(s) of war have developed and changed in the modern world and how those changes have affected our own understanding of its impact and significance.

MUSC 3540. Special Topics in Music Analysis. 4 Hours.

Focuses on advanced topics in theory and analysis. Topics vary with each offering. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 3541. Music Analysis Seminar. 4 Hours.

Exposes students to advanced methods of musical analysis. Focuses on techniques for analyzing large musical forms from the baroque period to the present day.

MUSC 3550. Historical Traditions: Special Topics. 4 Hours.

Provides an advanced seminar examining topics and issues surrounding musical cultures and histories. Topics vary with each offering. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 3560. Topics in Music since 1900. 4 Hours.

Offers an intensive overview of music from 1900 to the present day. Covers the works of influential figures of the 20th and 21st centuries and draws on a variety of repertoires, including American and European “classical” music, jazz, and the music of non–Western cultures. Includes analysis of scores as well as thorough investigations into the social milieus from which the music emerged.

MUSC 3640. Special Topics in Music. 4 Hours.

Focuses on various topics related to music. May be repeated up to two times for up to 12 total credits.

MUSC 3990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 4622. Recital 2. 1 Hour.

Offers preparation for and performance of a senior recital (forty to sixty minutes of music) under the guidance of the student’s primary instrumental or vocal instructor.

MUSC 4641. Seminar in Ethnomusicology: Issues in Fieldwork and Methodology. 4 Hours.

Offers a practice-oriented course, the goal of which is to apply theories and paradigms covered in MUSC 3350. Requires a final paper/research proposal and presentation. The research project necessitates fieldwork, reading relevant literature (including research methodology, research techniques, and proposal writing), and reflecting about questions in which students are interested and methods of addressing them through ethnography. Focuses on critical aspects of proposal and project development, including data analysis, audiovisual techniques, methodology, and ethics of ethnomusicology.

MUSC 4970. Junior/Senior Honors Project 1. 4 Hours.

Focuses on in-depth project in which a student conducts research or produces a product related to the student’s major field. Combined with Junior/Senior Project 2 or college-defined equivalent for 8-credit honors project. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 4992. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Focuses on independent work in a selected area of music under the direction of a member of the department. Enrollment is limited to qualified students by special arrangement with the supervising faculty member and with the approval of the department chair. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 4993. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor. May be repeated without limit.

MUSC 5540. Special Topics in Music. 3,4 Hours.

Focuses on various topics related to music. May be repeated up to two times.

Music Industry Courses

MUSI 1204. Analyzing Popular Genres. 4 Hours.

Continues MUSI 1203. Examines the role and function of various musical elements by analyzing examples from popular music. Examines structure, lyrics, and instrumentation in popular music. Offers students an opportunity to further develop ear training and sight-singing skills.

MUSI 1230. Introduction to Music Industry. 4 Hours.

Examines business-related areas of the music industry. Topics include music publishing, copyright, the function of performing rights organizations (ASCAP and BMI), talent agents, artist management, concert promotion, and royalties and contracts.

MUSI 1990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MUSI 2101. Demo Production for Songwriters. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to learn the necessary techniques to utilize current Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) and audio technology in the production of professional-quality song demos, including intermediate to advanced skills and concepts of MIDI, synthesis, multitrack recording, mixing, and sound processing. Covers musical approaches to the effective assembly and arranging of sound materials using professional digital audio workstations (DAWs). Focuses on techniques to import and export both MIDI and audio data to greater facilitate collaboration within the virtual classroom as well as using external collaborators (across a variety of DAWs and platforms). Songwriting skills are also critiqued.

MUSI 2231. Music Licensing for Media. 4 Hours.

Examines a variety of music usages in film, advertisements, TV shows, and other media types or venues that require music licensing. Offers students an opportunity to examine licenses and agreements in an effort to enable them to customize boilerplate forms to reflect accurately the needed licenses with any and all customized terms. Stresses teamwork, defining roles within a team, and assertiveness in an effort to enable students to function at their highest level for the demanding team-based final project. The final project stresses resourcefulness, meeting deadlines, creative excellence, along with open and sustained communication between the production side and the creative side.

MUSI 2232. Music Recording 1. 4 Hours.

Introduces the history and practice of recording music. Covers recording apparatus; microphones; monophonic, stereophonic, and digital theory and techniques; field recording; studio terminology; basic sound theory; and development of rudimentary editing skills. Also examines the role of the producer vs. that of the technician, preparation for recording sessions, and basic legal regulations regarding copyrights and compensation.

MUSI 2233. Music in the Online and Mobile Environment. 4 Hours.

Offers an overview of the music and radio industries as related to the world of Internet radio. Analog radio has historically been resilient in the face of previous technological advances (FM, TV, satellite radio, HD radio) but now faces pressures from online, mobile, and social media platforms. Introduces conceptual frameworks of innovation theory, scans the current music/radio ecosystem, studies real-world examples, and examines processes to facilitate the reimagining of industry practices. Offers students an opportunity to learn basic concepts and vocabulary for Internet-based music services, to learn and to apply theories of innovation to identify optimum opportunities, to draft a plan for an Internet radio/music service, and to create an audio demo of the idea.

MUSI 2234. Festivals. 4 Hours.

Examines the multiple ways in which festivals affect musical life. Analyzes festivals both as music communities concentrated into limited temporal and geographic frames as well as social and cultural institutions situated within particular historical and cultural contexts. Studies what a festival does; what we can learn from the history of music festivals; how festivals have impacted social, cultural, economic, and aesthetic hierarchies; and what festival organizers consider when making artistic, financial, and administrative decisions. By the end of the semester, successful students should have a comprehensive understanding of both the business and the cultural contexts of music festivals, which they should be able to demonstrate through individual written, multimodal creative, and group assignments.

MUSI 2331. Music Recording 2. 4 Hours.

Offers students the opportunity to learn additional skills in the recording process, such as material marketing and distribution, contracts and negotiations, and establishing distribution channels. Includes hands-on studio production of record-quality material.

MUSI 2341. Music Supervision 1. 4 Hours.

Covers the field of music supervision, which has become an in-demand field due to the increased use of songs in TV shows, films, live events, advertisements, websites, and other forums. Discusses the whole process, from choosing the perfect song/lyric to strategies for securing licensing with artists and publishers. Offers students a hands-on opportunity to make music selections fit a variety of media and also to structure licensing/contract deals for composers, publishers, and record companies. Final project involves networking with Green Line Records and external rights holders to license and place music into a series of scenes and advertisements.

MUSI 2540. Special Topics in Music Industry. 1-4 Hours.

Focuses on various topics related to the music industry. May be repeated without limit.

MUSI 2990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MUSI 3332. Artist Management. 4 Hours.

Provides an in-depth investigation of the field of musical artist management. Explores the artist-manager relationship, the management contract, artist evaluation, image formulation, the artist’s development team, achieving a recording contract, merchandising, endorsements, sponsorships, touring, and financial management.

MUSI 3333. The Record Industry. 4 Hours.

Examines the domestic and international record industry. Topics include industry structure, business and legal affairs, the recording contract, royalties, manufacturing, distribution, promotion, publicity, advertising, licensing, and piracy. Offers students the opportunity to explore major record labels and independent labels. Addresses the past, present, and future.

MUSI 3334. Music Products Industry. 4 Hours.

Provides a thorough examination of business organization, marketing, distribution, and sales techniques in the diverse field of the music products industry. Investigates market sectors such as musical instruments; professional, semiprofessional, and home audio equipment; the recording industry; and print music.

MUSI 3335. Copyright Law for Musicians. 4 Hours.

Explores the unique character of music-related copyright issues. Investigates common law copyright; statutory copyright; ownership, duration, and transfer of copyright; fair use; works for hire; infringements and remedies; public domain works; and international copyright. Also examines related legal aspects of the music industry.

MUSI 3338. Music Industry Marketing and Promotion. 4 Hours.

Provides a thorough examination of the principles and applications of marketing and promotion within the music industry. Students explore how music companies successfully conduct product, pricing, distribution, and communication management. Approaches music marketing issues using readings, specific music marketing case studies, lectures, guest speakers, and projects.

MUSI 3340. Concert Promotion and Venue Management. 4 Hours.

Provides an in-depth exploration of the principles and practices of concert promotion and venue management. Focuses on areas such as concert promotion, venue advertising, talent buying, contractual requirements, insurance, government regulation, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP)/BMI licenses, personnel management, and concert production and administration.

MUSI 3341. Music Recording 3—Mixing and Mastering. 4 Hours.

Covers specific topics relating to the final stages in music recording—mixing and mastering. Discusses criteria for making decisions about levels, equalization, dynamics, time-based effects, and spatial positioning. In-depth listening and analysis are designed to augment hands-on practice using both students’ current recordings and professional recordings from the past forty years.

MUSI 3401. Hip Hop in the Music Industry. 4 Hours.

Focuses on black popular music as art, activism, and commodity from the post–Civil Rights era to today. Studies the immediate musical, historical, cultural, and industry-based precedents for rap music, which emerged in opposition to the music industry—and many other institutions that perpetuated the inequalities against which early hip-hop artists were protesting. The contemporary moment provides a unique opportunity for refocusing on the origins of hip-hop and black protest music as they relate to the industry’s embrace and commodification of certain aspects of hip-hop culture. Explores the dynamic tensions between rap music as aesthetic object, countercultural expression, social commentary, and industry commodity, engaging with current expressions of all of these in the Boston area.

MUSI 3540. Special Topics in Music Industry. 4 Hours.

Focuses on various topics related to the music industry. May be repeated up to two times.

MUSI 3990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MUSI 4530. Music Entrepreneurship. 4 Hours.

Designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to plan, finance, develop, and operate a new music venture. Topics include attributes of music entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial careers, evaluating opportunities, writing business plans, financing the venture, and long-term management and planning.

MUSI 4601. Seminar in Music Industry. 4 Hours.

Presents a capstone course for music industry students. Offers advanced students the opportunity to explore contemporary events and issues in the music industry. Allows students to reflect upon, distill, and apply knowledge accumulated in prior courses and previous experiential learning. This reflection and application occurs through substantial writing assignments and classroom discussion. Fulfills the college’s experiential education requirement for music industry majors.

MUSI 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MUSI 4992. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Focuses on independent work in a selected area of music under the direction of a member of the department. Enrollment is limited to qualified students by special arrangement with the supervising faculty member and with the approval of the department chair. May be repeated without limit.

MUSI 4993. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor. May be repeated without limit.

MUSI 5540. Special Topics in Music Industry. 3,4 Hours.

Focuses on various topics related to the music industry. May be repeated up to two times.

Music Composition & Technology Courses

MUST 1220. Introduction to Music Technology. 4 Hours.

Provides students with instruction in the use of a computer for composing original music. Topics include MIDI sequencing, digital audio processing, and sound synthesis. Students use music hardware and software to complete a variety of projects.

MUST 1301. Introduction to Composition. 4 Hours.

Designed as the first step in the education of a student composer. The art and craft of composing music is grounded in knowledge of fundamental concepts and hands-on experience. Offers students an opportunity to acquire competence in the notation and layout of a score; develop basic compositional skills (control of melody, harmony, rhythm); and obtain a wide and deep knowledge of the musical repertory.

MUST 1990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MUST 2320. Sound Design. 4 Hours.

Instructs students in the art of producing and designing musical accompaniments for a variety of media including film, TV commercials, industrial video, animation, games, theatre, and radio drama. Focuses on abstract thinking regarding sound theory and practice and includes hands-on skills. Restricted to music majors and combined majors; all other students require permission of instructor.

MUST 2431. Computer Music Fundamentals. 4 Hours.

Focuses on the creation and implementation of standard time-domain audio synthesis routines and effects, as well as standard frequency-domain processing routines. MaxMSP is the principal programming environment used in the course. Begins with programming protocols, as well as data structures and storage, and list processing in the MaxMSP environment before moving on to standard synthesis and audio processing routines. Examines how the techniques learned in the course can be applied using a variety of synthesis and spectral processing software applications that are standard in the field.

MUST 2990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MUST 3421. Digital Audio Processing. 4 Hours.

Comprises the theory and application of digital audio processing techniques. Includes multitrack digital recording, sampling and sample processing, and encoding audio for various delivery formats.

MUST 3422. Music Composition Seminar 2. 4 Hours.

Exposes students to methods of musical composition. Requires students to compose several short pieces and one piece in a large form on their own. Analyzes examples from the literature to facilitate understanding the methods employed.

MUST 3540. Special Topics in Music Technology. 1-4 Hours.

Focuses on topics related to current trends in the area of music technology. Topics vary with each offering. May be repeated without limit.

MUST 3990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MUST 4520. Interactive Music Programming. 4 Hours.

Focuses on three high-end skills: advanced software-based synthesis and production, abstract reasoning and computer programming, and performing live with electronic instruments in an interactive human-computer environment. Utilizes the MAX programming language, enhanced with MSP, a set of extensions to the MAX graphical programming environment that provides for real-time synthesis and signal processing with a PowerPC Mac OS computer.

MUST 4610. Composition for Electronic Instruments. 4 Hours.

Instructs students in the composition of original music for electronic and computer-based instrumentation. Students create music to accompany video, animation, and film, and study suitable methods for creating original music for the Internet. Also surveys examples of music written for similar contexts.

MUST 4611. Music Technology Capstone/Senior Recital. 4 Hours.

Instructs students in the preparation and presentation of their senior recital. Fulfills the college’s experiential education requirement for music technology concentrators.

MUST 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MUST 5540. Special Topics in Music Technology. 3,4 Hours.

Focuses on various topics related to music technology. May be repeated up to two times.