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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:

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] Barz

The Alexander Technique: MWEL 1120

An accurate kinesthetic sense of the structure and movement of the body through hands-on and verbal instruction in body mapping and the principles developed by F.M. Alexander. Emphasis on ordinary daily activities. Offered on a pass/fail basis only. FALL, SPRING. [1] Ahner

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, 20th-century syntheses. Recommended: MUSL 2200W, 1200, or music-reading skills sufficient follow a score. FALL. [3] Lovensheimer

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 composing the American "salad bowl." Topics include audience reception; production and consumption; multiculturalism; and meaning. SPRING. [3] Fry

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. Aertists such as Ma Rainey, Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Lightnin' Hopkins, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray. SPRING. [3] Fry

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

Computer Music: MUTH 1140

The computer as a tool for musical sound synthesis, digital instrument design, and computer-assisted composition and performance. Styles and techniques in computer music in the commercial and fine arts. Programming and computer composition. Prerequisite: Any computer science course or consent of the instructor. SPRING. [3] Staff

Computer Recording: Technology Seminar MUSO 1350

The digital recvording revolution. Recording, editing, and mixing music, using both audio and MIDI sequencing data inside the computer. Remixing techniques with universal plug-in software. Sampling, synthesis, and dissection of studio projects. FALL, SPRING. [2] Wilder

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, an its cultural and social contexts. FALL, SPRING. [3] Cooper

Exploring the Film Soundtrack: MUSL 2320

Relationships among soundtrack, image, and narrative in film. The complex of music, sound, and dialogue 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

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 (rockablly, R&B, folk, soul, metal, pop, alternative, etc.), and technological, cultural, and economic developments that helped shape the music. FALL, SPRING. [3] Gunderman

Introduction to Music Literature: 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. Does not count toward a major in music. FALL, SPRING. [3] Hime

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 arts, literature, film. No musical background required. [3] Rose (offered in alternate years)

Music, The Arts, and Ideas: MUSL 1300

The changing historical relationships among music, literature, fine arts, and philosophy. 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] Lovensheimer (offered in alternate years)

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

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, Lovensheimer

Survey of Music Theory: MUTH 1200/1210

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 sightsinging exercises and melodic and harmonic dictation. Not open to students who have completed MUTH 1210, 2100, or 2200. Does not count toward a major in music. MUTH 1200 is prerequisite for MUSC 1210. [3] Deakin

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.