New Music New College

Music Curriculum

Our students must complete seven contracts, three Independent Study Projects and a senior thesis project to graduate. Contracts consist of three to five academic activities — courses, tutorials, internships, independent reading projects, etc. — that will develop your personal educational goals during a semester.

Here’s a list of recent course offerings in Music:

Introduction to Music
Designed for non-readers of Western musical notation, this course introduces the fundamentals of Western music reading, writing, and theory. These basics include the following: recognize pitches, durations, meters, phrasing, and other musical characteristics and reproduce them on an alto recorder and by singing; Understand and be able to reproduce correctly the basics of stems, beams, rests, clefs, bar lines, double-bar lines, first and second endings, key and time signatures, and other elements of written music. Identify intervals by size and quality (major, minor, perfect, augmented, diminished) Major and minor scales, the 24 keys (represented by 12 different key signatures), Simple duple and triple, compound duple and triple meters (represented in time signatures), Triads, Triads built on major and minor scale degrees, seventh chords, and basic I-IV-V-I harmonic progression. Students will be assigned homework on a daily basis to reinforce concepts learned in class. Whenever possible these homework assignments will involve creative work that employs the new concept in a musical context.

Music Theory I
Music Theory I is a comprehensive introduction to music theory. Our emphasis is on the theoretical principles and development of harmony as exemplified in Western art music; areas of inquiry include melodic construction, rhythm, and form. Work includes exercises in model composition, performance, theory, and ear training, all of which are intended to complement a student's everyday activity as a musician.

Music Theory II
Building on the foundation established in Music Theory I, topics to be covered this term include: the formal implications of equal temperament and chromatic tonal harmony. Daily assignments will include work in analysis and composition. In addition to attending lecture sessions, students will be required to participate in two aural skills sessions each week.

Music and the Environment
Sound plays an enormous role in how we shape our environment and how our environment shapes us. In order to examine this dynamic relationship we will study a variety of topics related to the environment as heard. These subjects include R. Murray Schafer’s concept of “soundscape,” the pastoral in the tradition of Western art music, how the sounds of the canopy inspire musical expression among rainforest dwellers such as the Kaluli of Papua, New Guinea and the Temiar of Malaysia, bird whistlers in the US, birding by ear, installations by Eric Satie, Edgard Varèse, and Brian Eno, and muzak. This is a writing-intensive course and part of New College's Seminars in Critical Thinking; it is recommended for students who want to improve their critical thinking and writing skills.

Early Music and Its Notation
In this class we will transcribe early music, investigating a number of systems that arose from the ninth century until about 1600. When music is notated at any historical moment it is an incomplete representation--something of its sound is always left to the imagination. Questions as to how to understand and realize a musical style represented in an old piece of music multiply as we get to know the work. The process of transcription is a bit like solving a puzzle, a bit like composing, and a bit like performing. Depending on the piece or the repertory, the balance among the skills needed can shift. A successful transcription reflects the musical knowledge and sensibilities of the transcriber, who must go through the original document note-by-note in the process of putting a successful piece together in a way that a reader of modern European notation might understand. In addition to transcribing bits and pieces of music, we will listen to recordings and discuss performances, analyze published transcriptions, and learn about Gregorian chant, polyphonic settings of the Ordinary and the Proper of the Mass, motets, chansons, and madrigals. We will also consider modality as a governing force for the structure of monophonic and polyphonic pieces.

Electronic Music
The roots of modern music production are in the radical innovations of the twentieth century. Pop and art rock, electronica, and hip-hop owe much of their sound to early experimentalists who broke from traditional ideas of music and aesthetics. This course will survey the techniques, sounds, and history of electronic music, emphasizing hands-on training with digital technologies that are available on today's personal computers. We will begin by exploring MIDI, sampling, sequencing, filtering, and spectral re-synthesis using Digital Audio Workstation technology, which is used to produce most popular and electronic music today. In the second half of the course, we will learn how to construct our own sounds using synthesis (additive, FM, and waveform) and how to shape them (using envelopes, filters, and LFOs). Evaluation emphasis will be on creative projects, online participation, and knowledge of historical context.

European Music from 1600-1750
The course will focus on the range of musical styles associated with the “Baroque era” of European art music, as well as the cultural dynamics that led to the developments of these styles. In addition, students will develop their writing skills through a series of short assignments. We will describe music in prose, use excerpts of music as primary evidence, evaluate sources, construct arguments, draft and revise, and address musicological audiences. Students may also be asked to compose short musical examples in to demonstrate their understanding of musical style and perform their work in class. Writing assignments are designed to help members of the class integrate the short reading assignments with the listening assignments and “digest” the information, making it their own.

Experimental Music
Experimental music can be defined as music that privileges process over product: the process may be rigorously controlled but the outcome will be to some extent indeterminate. This course will address the theory and history of experimental music since 1950 with an emphasis on compositional applications. Following a consideration of relevant theories of modernity (Hegel, Adorno, Dahlhaus, Bürger), the focus will shift to the music of John Cage and his various successors, principally the Fluxus composers and the composers gathered around Cornelius Cardew and the Scratch Orchestra. We will also explore the music of Pauline Oliveros, as well as music created by members of New Music New College.

Languages of Modern Music: Analytics and Aesthetic Perspectives
In Languages of Modern Music, we will encounter and engage the languages of art music in the early to mid-Twentieth Century. Our approach will be close readings of seminal works through listening, analysis, and reading contextual sources, with the goal of re-examining and assessing some of the labels typically applied to music of this period: impressionist, modernist, serialist, expressionist, neo-classical, freely-atonal, poly-tonal, modal. Works studied will include those by Debussy, Sibelius, Scriabin, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Messiaen, Ligeti, and others.

New College Chorus
This is a choral ensemble dedicated to singing music in a variety of styles. The exact repertory will be determined during the course of the semester as the director gets to know participants and what pieces will be best suit the ensemble. Our goal is to produce a cohesive, quality sound in ensemble, and to enjoy doing it along the way. Students may earn a module of credit for a semester’s participation. The class will end with a concert at the end of the term, TBA. Evaluations will be based on attendance and preparation of assigned music.

Opera, Ballet, and Supernatural
From their beginnings as entertainments for European courts, operas and ballets have featured gods, demigods and other immortal beings in their plots, these mythological subjects continuing to occupy operatic and balletic stages to this day. Mozart’s Don Giovanni features a walking, talking statue from hell, and toys and puppets come to life through numerous nineteenth-and twentieth century ballets and operas. It is almost as if opera and ballet have the capacity as genres to open a portal to metaphysical realms. This course will investigate the marvelous, the fantastic, the uncanny, and the supernatural as it relates to such plots and the theatrical expression that adorns them. Music and dance in this context invites consideration of metaphysical realms, and we will consider why this is so. Genres and pieces considered will include Lully and tragedy lyrique, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Schneitzhoeffer’s La Sylphide, Adam’s Giselle, Wagner’s Flying Dutchman, Delibes’ Coppelia, Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman, Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and Stravinsky’s Petrouchka. We will consider such fundamental texts as Freud’s essay on the uncanny and Todorov’s essay on the fantastic in addition to other readings associated with the subject.

Group Tutorials and ISPs
In addition to traditional classes, students in Music at New College augment their interests by taking individual and group tutorials, as well as independent study projects (ISPs), arranged with their instructors.  Below are some examples of recent group tutorials and ISPs in Music:

Composition for Chamber Ensembles
Each year a select group of New College student composers create music for one of the Sarasota Orchestra’s resident chamber ensembles: Sarasota String Quartet, Sarasota Wind Quintet, Sarasota Piano Quartet and Sarasota Brass Quintet. The students hear their music rehearsed throughout the year and benefit from the guidance of the Symphony’s experienced musicians.

The study of counterpoint, the art of composing for multiple independent parts, is fundamental to the education of composers. This group tutorial focuses on the keyboard music of J. S. Bach, specifically his two-part inventions and three-voice fugues, the latter from The Well-Tempered Clavier. Students first analyze Bach’s music and then compose works of their own.

Keyboard Skills
Independent Study for students who need keyboard skills to fulfill the Music AOC requirements. Full term participation required for one module of credit.

For detailed requirements, check out our General Catalog and the Music Academic Learning Compact.

For a complete list of courses, click here.

[Did you know?]

Students in music at New College have a variety of ways to participate and perform outside the classroom, including the New College Chorus, Acapellago (our student a capella group), New Cats (our student jazz ensemble) and New Music New College.

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