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Music Courses for General University Students

Bobby Keys speaks to Jen Gunderman's History of Rock Music course.

Legendary sax player Bobby Keys speaks to Jen Gunderman's History of Rock Music class. (Vanderbilt University/Steve Green)

Music courses for the general student

These popular classes are currently available for credit and appropriate for non-music majors and for students with no background in music:

Music Composition and Theory

Survey of Music Theory: MUTH 1200
Presents 18th-to 20th-century harmonic practice. Designed to develop music theory skills through written exercises of figured and unfigured basses; harmonization of melodies; and study of ear training, using sight-singing exercises and melodic and harmonic dictation. Not open to students who have completed MUTH 2100 or 2200. Does not count toward a major in music. [3] Bingham

Survey of Music Theory: MUTH 1210
Presents 18th-to 20th-century harmonic practice. Designed to develop music theory skills through written exercises of figured and unfigured basses; harmonization of melodies; and study of ear training, using sight-singing exercises and melodic and harmonic dictation. Prerequisite: MUTH 1200. Not open to students who have completed MUTH 2100 or 2200. Does not count toward a major in music. [3] Bingham

Songwriting and Elements of Music Theory: MUTH 1120
Introduction to fundamental elements of music as they apply to popular songwriting techniques. Selected readings on the technical and aesthetic facets of songwriting. Listening analysis and discussion of songs in a variety of current styles. Selected aural skills as they relate to the songwriter's craft. Class visits by successful songwriters. Designed for students with little or no technical training in music. Does not count toward a major or minor in music. FALL,SPRING. [3] Walker

Songwriting II: MUTH 1125
Project-based class designed to refine and advance skills developed in MUTH 1120. Focuses on effective musical and lyrical thematic treatment. Extensive study of rewriting techniques; frequent performances of student compositions. Selected readings on the technical and aesthetic facets of songwriting. Listening, analysis, and discussion of songs in a variety of current styles. Occasional Monday night sessions with guest songwriters and experts in the field. Does not count toward a major or minor in music. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite: MUTH 1120. FALL, SPRING. [3] Walker

Lyric Writing Workshop: MUSO 1230
Designed to help students find their unique voice as lyricists through lecture, reading, exercises, discussion, and lyric analysis. Does not count toward a major or minor in music. [1] Blackmon

Musicology and Ethnomusicology

African Music: MUSL 1105
A survey of selected traditional and popular music of Africa. Historical, social, and cultural contexts; listening; some performances in class. SPRING. [3]

American Music: MUSL 2600
A history of music in the United States, 1620 to the present. Distinctly American musical traditions such as shape-notes, minstrelsy, jazz, 20-century syntheses. Recommended: MUSL 2200W or 1200, or music-reading skills sufficient to follow a score. FALL. [3]

American Popular Music: MUSL 1600
Historical study of ways the culture of a nation is reflected and sometimes shaped by the chosen musics of the groups comprising the American "salad bowl." Topics include audience reception; production and consumption; multiculturalism; and meaning. SPRING. [3] Gunderman

Artist, Community, and Democracy: MUSL 3213
Communities of diverse artists, minority viewpoints, and cultural pluralism in a democratic society. Contemporary United States with cross-cultural and historical comparisons. [3] Cornfield

The Blues: MUSL 1630
Downhome, classic,Chicago, and urban blues-history, musical structure, musical styles, singers' lives, and meanings of blues lyrics. The current blues revival, blues and tourism, race and revisionist blues scholarship, and the relation of blues to African American poetry and fiction. Artists such as Ma Rainey, Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Lightnin' Hopkins, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray. SPRING. [3] Fry

Country Music: MUSL 1640
A musical and cultural survey of the talents, traditions and trends of country music, from its Colonial roots to its current status as a multimillion-dollar global industry. Focus on the music, creators and performers of that music and its cultural and social contexts. FALL, SPRING. [3] Cooper

DIY Movements: Hip Hop, Punk, and the Democratization of America's Pop: MUSL 2620
An exploration of the history, continuation, and aesthetics of the DIY music movement in the United States and abroad. A historical approach will be used, with an emphasis on important styles, artists, and social and cultural issues. Students will gain an understanding of hip hop and punk as musical and performative forms, how they are created, how they are interpreted, and how they are a direct expression of the cultural context in which they are produced. Prerequisite: any MUSL course. [3] Fry

Exploring the Film Soundtrack: MUSL 2320
Relationships among soundtrack, image, and narrative in film. The complex of music, sound, and dialog in a variety of American films, from silents to Hollywood blockbusters and cartoons. Topics include diegesis, temporality, continuity, and musical style. Discussion, video, and film research, reading, and listening. No musical background required. SPRING. [3] Link

Introduction to Western Classical Music: MUSL 1200
An introduction to the literature of music from AD 600 to the present through a study of selected works. Extensive listening is required. Not open to students who have completed MUSL 2200W. Counts toward a minor, but not a major, in music. Platt [3]

Survey of Jazz: MUSL 1620
A survey of jazz history, with particular attention to the major composers, "Jelly Roll" Morton, Duke Ellington, and Thelonius Monk, who gave the music synthesis and form; and to its major innovative soloists, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and Ornette Coleman, who renewed its musical language. FALL, SPRING. [3] Fry

Love and Death in Music: MUSL 1310
Perspectives on two great problems of human life throughout the history of Western music.Themes include idealized love, sexual pathology, love and realism, love of God, confronting death, transcending death. Connections of music to visual arts, literature, film. No musical background required. [3] Michael Rose. (Offered alternate years)

Music and Tourism: Music City Museum & Memorabilia: MUSL 1660
An exploration of the intersection between popular music and tourism. Music landmarks as tourist attractions, music memorabilia and museums, tourism and urban development, souvenirs as travel credentials, and tourism and issues of representation. FALL. [3] Fry

Music, Gender, and Sexuality: MUSL 3150
Exploration of gender and sexuality in Western art and vernacular musical traditions. Topics include gendered musical forms, genres, and performance; feminist music criticism; ideologies of musical authorship and genius; musical canons; and musical representations of gender and sexuality. Prerequisite: MUSL 2200W or 1200 and ability to read a score. SPRING. [3] Lowe. (Offered alternate years)

Music, Identity, and Diversity: MUSL 2150
Issues of multiculturalism and intersections with musical expression in America. Cultural determinants, such as race, gender, ethnicity, class, religion, language, ideology, folklore, and history will be studied critically. Prerequisite: any MUSL course or AMER 1002. FALL. [3]

Music of the South: MUSL 2610
The musical riches of the American South approached from various perspectives, including the historical, cultural, social, political, and religious. Blues, country, and gospel are the primary genres of study; jazz, folk, and classical traditions in the South also receive attention. Prerequisite: any MUSL course or AMER 1002. FALL. [3] Fry. (Offered alternate years)

Music, the Arts, and Ideas: MUSL 1300
The changing historical relationships among music, literature, fine arts, andphilosophy. Musical developments as responses to social, political, and economic circumstances. FALL. [3] Link

Musical Theatre in America: A Cultural History: MUSL 1610
From 18th-century melodrama and vaudeville through the musicals of the 1940s and 1950s to the contemporary emphasis on integration of spectacle, dance,and other theatrical arts. Readings, live productions, guest lecturers, and film. SPRING. [3] (Offered alternate years.)

Opera in the 17th and 18th Centuries: MUSL 3220
In-depth study of five or six representative works. Score and libretto analysis, reception history, cult of the performer, role of the contemporary producer-director. Prerequisite: B.Mus. and B.Mus.Arts students and second majors, MUSL 2100, 2200W, and 3100; music minors, MUSL 2200W or1200; or permission of instructor. FALL. [3] Calico.

Opera in the 19th Century: MUSL 3221
In-depth study of five or six representative works. Score and libretto analysis, reception history, cult of the performer, role of the contemporary producer-director. Prerequisites: B.Mus. and B.Mus.Arts students and second majors, MUSL 3100; music minors, MUSL 2200W or 1200; or permission of instructor. SPRING. [3] Calico.

History of Rock Music: MUSL 1650
History and development of rock and roll music and its performance from the 1950s to the present. Major artists from each decade, subgenres (rockabilly, R&B, folk, soul, metal, pop, alternative, etc.), and technological, cultural, and economic developments that helped shape the music. FALL, SPRING. [3] Gunderman

Survey of American Hip Hop: MUSL 1670
This course examines the history of hip hop and culture from the 1970s to the present, including current debates and discussions. It explores the dynamics of hip-hop culture regarding its historical development, political influence and social impact, particularly in American culture. This class also explores relevant issues surrounding race, gender, cultural relations, economics and social barriers relating to hip-hop music and culture. Discussions will include the coexistence of various hip hop styles and the exploitation of this music and culture as a commodity for national and global consumption. [3] Chase

The Symphony: MUSL 1220
Orchestral literature with emphasis on the evolution of symphonic form and style, through the study of selected masterworks of the standard repertoire. FALL. [3] Michael Rose

Women and Music: MUSL 3155
An investigation of the roles women have played in the development of Western music -- performance, composition, patronage, education -- and the social and economic factors that have influenced their position. Recommended: MUSL 2200W, 1200, or familiarity with the style periods of classical Western music. [3] Cyrus. (Offered alternate years)

Women and Rock Music: MUSL 3610
An exploration of the ways that women have made their voices heard in rock on stage, in the studio, behind the scenes, and as fans. Prerequisite: Any MUSL or WGS course. SPRING. [3] Gunderman

World Music: MUSL 1100
World music as a cultural product; selected musics of Africa, Native America, India, Indonesia, and African America. Topics include music and religion, popular music, field work methodology, and gender issues. Not open to students who have completed MUSL 2100. FALL. [3] Fry

Other Courses

Building Communities through Music and the Arts: MENT 1130
The philosophical and strategic background for and practical skills in audience-focused and audience-engaged arts programming. Techniques to make music both accessible and relevant to learners; development of interactive programs and curriculum-directed programs; form, structure, and pacing of programs, including repertoire selection and duration, presentation of music, andparticipatory experiences. FALL [1] Korn

Arts Administration: Best Practices and Careers in the Arts Organization Marketplace: MENT 1135
A study of best practices and development of marketable skills in arts administration. Investigation of arts administration employment opportunities, roles and responsibilities in executive leadership, finances, fundraising, artistic leadership, education, organizational development, and marketing and media. Leading arts institutions are studied as models for arts administration careers and professional advancement. Guest artist administrators will further class discussion and real-world application. [1] Korn

Creating Funding and Non-Profit Vehicles for 21st Century Community Service: MENT 1140
Strategies for planning, financing, supporting, and sustaining an artistic and social development mission. Specific tools for creating mission-driven music, arts and community service organizational structures. SPRING. [2] Korn

The Business of Music: MENT 1120
A general survey of music in the world of commerce. Systems of the contemporary music business, with special emphasis on the recording industry. Music business professionals as guest lecturers. FALL, SPRING. [3] Porter

Music Internship (1 credit): MENT 3880
Academic research and writing related to a co-requisite internship experience under the direction of a faculty sponsor. Prerequisite: 2.9 GPA, sophomore standing, and approval of project prospectus by faculty sponsor and by Associate Dean. May be repeated for credit, up to 1 credit persemester of enrollment. FALL, SPRING. [1]

Music Internship (3 credits): MENT 3881
An extensive academic program of study related to a co-requisite internship experience under the direction of a faculty sponsor. Prerequisite: 2.9 GPA, sophomore standing, and approval of project prospectus by faculty sponsor and by Associate Dean. May be repeated for credit, up to 3 credits per semester of enrollment. FALL, SPRING, SUMMER. [3]

Writing courses

Blair offers several courses that fulfill freshman writing requirements. These courses are listed in the Music Literature and History section of the Schedule of Classes, and course numbers are always MUSL 1111.