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Undergrad Course Information

Course Information for 2023/2024


Summer Session 2024: Varying Topic Courses

Summer Session 1 Courses

MUS 15. Popular Music: Japanese Anime and Transnational Desire

This course introduces the transnational aspect of the development of Japanese anime music starting from the end of the Second World War. Through learning about the complex sociopolitical background of Japanese anime music history, students will discuss the contemporary racialization and sexualization of “Japaneseness.” Furthermore, students will reflect on how transnational listeners, including themselves and their peers, contribute to the transnational development of anime music and sound.   

Instructor: Yu, Cheuk Ling (Section A00) 

MUS 15. Popular Music: Metal and Hardcore

This is an introductory course to two different but related genres of popular music: heavy metal and hardcore punk. The course is designed to welcome newcomers as well as veteran lovers of all things heavy to share in learning, sharing, and appreciation. In a mix of history, sociology, and psychology, students will learn about the cultural backgrounds of hardcore and metal, how it has developed since its inception in the late 20th century and how it manifests on the scene (and in the pits) today. Students will also be presented with musical concepts specific to metal (ex. what is a breakdown? What is a blast-beat? What is the difference between djent and thall?) to help increase the theoretical understanding behind the extremely rich vernacular. By the end of the course, students will have developed a comfort, familiarity, and appreciation with genres that popular culture are often misunderstood. 

Instructor: Jones, Michael (Section B00) 

MUS 80. Special Topics: Poetic Music of Languages

This course is about finding musical connections in languages by exploring their sonic properties. Additionally, this course will examine how one can expressively connect with languages without necessarily speaking or fully comprehending them. Using Persian poetry as a point of departure, students will be given theoretical and practical skills related to music and language, as well as specific methodological approaches that might facilitate artistic experimentation. That includes topics such as graphic music notation, recording tactics, and compositional techniques. No previous musical experience is required to attend this course.

Instructor: Khorassani, Nasim (Section B00)

MUS 80. Special Topics: Electronic Music Production and Composition - Mastering your Music

This course aims to study professional practices used throughout the audio mastering process. Students will have the opportunity to gain a strong knowledge of digital audio to maintain the highest sound quality throughout the various stages of the production process. Students will be able to perfect their critical listening skills and processing techniques to produce professional masters for a range of formats (CD, Vinyl, Streaming) suitable for replication and distribution.

Throughout this course, we will further develop your skills in audio production to better understand how powerful effects such as EQ, Multi-Band compression, soft and brick wall Limiting, Mid/Side processing can affect a stereo mix. Each week we will take a deep dive into an FX and understand which is best suited for the task at hand. By the end of the course, you will be able to master your own work using audio FX within your DAW (Ableton Live) and plug-ins from manufacturers such as Universal Audio Waves, Izotope, FabFilter, and more. 

Instructor: Aguila, David (Section C00)

*MUS 80. Special Topics- NOTICE: 

Section A00 for Summer Session 1 has been canceled.


Summer Session 2 Courses

MUS 13. Worlds of Music: Political Histories of the Marching Band 

This course covers an introductory history of marching bands beginning in the 14th century Ottoman Empire and extending through the 20th and 21st centuries’ institutionalization of collegiate school bands and drum corps as semi-professional marching arts organizations. The course will document the political valence of marching band practices which have historically transmitted nationalist and militaristic aesthetics and social norms. These histories will also reveal how local band leaders and community members challenge, adapt, and subvert these norms. Throughout this session, students will be asked and equipped to reflect upon the political constraints and affordances of a musical tradition that is–to index the annual cinematic livestream of Drum Corps International Championships–Big, Loud, and Live.

Instructor: Pittman, Katherine

MUS 15. Popular Music: Latinx Feminist Aesthetics in Music, Sound, and Performance

This course evaluates popular culture through the lenses of Latinx Feminist and Aesthetic theory, focusing on the production of Latinidad in music, sound, and performance. Popular cultural aesthetics are treated as deeply imbricated by race and sex, requiring interpretive frameworks that take both into consideration as co-constitutive and inseparable. By invoking Latinx, we take no geographical, national, or diasporic privilege, instead relying on critical thought surrounding the production of Latin America within the Western Hemisphere and, more specifically, the cultural imaginary referred to as las Américas. This course emphasizes women of color, queer of color, trans of color, Black, and Indigenous feminist thought in engaging with Latinx popular aesthetic culture; although these political and intellectual feminist genealogies have not historically been consonant with one another, we will consider how coalitional and differential modes of thinking and being allow for political movidas that cross these borders. Engaging with music, sound, and performance, then, is one way into developing a critical understanding of Latin America, las Américas, and Latinidad in order to further our deconstruction of race and sex. Note: an understanding of Spanish and/or Portuguese is not required.

Instructor: Medina, Alejandrina (A00)

MUS 15. Popular Music: Independent Record Labels

How do record labels come about? How do they organize themselves? How does this affect the music they release, and the lives and musical possibilities of artists?

In this course we will examine a small selection of record labels from historical, artist-focused, and listener perspectives. We will consider how dynamics of race, nation, class, and gender play out in the organization, curation, contracts and labor concerns, publicity, and growth of record labels. We will see how the late 20th-century's technological and economic shifts related to popular music. We will listen to a wide variety of music genres. These will include hip-hop, industrial, techno, drum and bass, hardcore, indie rock, and others. We will be looking at labels in the 1990s primarily, but following them through a historical trajectory.

Instructor: Schwenkler, Kevin (Section B00) 

MUS 80. Special Topics: Artificial Intelligence and Music: From Creation to Consumption

The course will start with a quick review on the start of electronic and computer music, then will dive into AI and its usage in art and music generation.
Instructor: Atassi, Lilac (Section A00)

MUS 80. Special Topics: Aesthetics and Creativity

Art is one of the clearest illustrations of a remarkable aspect of human nature: the ability to actualize our imaginations. Most AI research today focuses on learning (e.g. machine learning), but there is growing interest in creativity (e.g. machine creativity AKA computational creativity).
In this course, we explore the philosophical foundations of music, art, and creativity, and then attempt to bring our insights to practical applications of your choosing. Applications can be related to your current work or for the sake of exploration, and can range from AI, VR, HCI,etc. to psychology, sociology, economics, ecology, political science, and more. 
Instructor: Chung, Matthew (Section B00)