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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:

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] Chase

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

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

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] Platt

The Music and Culture of Venice: MUSL 2350
In perhaps no other country were the arts so intimately fused with a sense of national mission as in the Republic of Venice, a miniature semi-democratic nation-state which emerged during the death throes of the Roman Empire and which collapsed with the Napoleonic invasion of 1797. This course will celebrate and evaluate those magnificent works of music, architecture, art, and film produced by artists living in the city, and, increasingly after 1797, by fascinated foreigners. The class will combine elements of lecture, seminar, and independent study, designed to allow for the maximization of each student's interests, musical and otherwise. There is no formal prerequisite. [3] Platt

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 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

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

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

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. [3] Fry

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.