The scholars in the Department of Music have a wide range of expertise in composition, ethnomusicology, and music history and theory. The diversity of scholarship is complimented by the department’s robust performance programs, which MAPH students can participate in. MAPH students who wish to supplement their music coursework may take courses in areas such as East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Language Study, Linguistics, Germanic Studies, Philosophy, or Theater and Performance Studies.

Selected Faculty

Jennifer Iverson

Jennifer Iverson

20th-Century Music, Electronic Music, Avant-Gardism, Sound Studies, Disability Studies
Travis Jackson

Travis Jackson

Composition, Recording and Distribution, Engaging with Sound -- Listening, Dancing, Writing

Sample Courses

MUSI 33618 - Music and Dance of the Black Atlantic (Jessica Baker)
Deploying the notion of the Black Atlantic as a theoretical apparatus for understanding and historicizing the emergence and mobility of Black music and dance styles, this course is a critical and historical examination of music and its attendant dance practices within African and Afro-descendant communities of the Americas, Europe, and West Africa from the 19th century through the contemporary moment. In this interdisciplinary course, participants will move chronologically and thematically from music and dance practices of enslaved Africans in the Americas to early African and Afro-American Dance Anthropology of scholars such as Zora Neale Hurston, and Katherine Dunham, and through postcolonial styles such as Jamaican Dancehall. In addition to texts and audiovisual materials, this course will be augmented by dance instruction and exploration lead by community practitioners of black dance forms. Participants will engage with notions of embodiment, improvisation, choreography, and dance ethnography through the acts of reading, listening, watching, and dancing.

MUSI 32318 - Music and Disability Studies (Jennifer Iverson)
This course studies the ways that attitudes toward disability are constructed within a cultural sphere. From the perspective of disability studies, bodies and minds have many kinds of differences, but what is considered “disability” is determined by culture, not given by nature. Music, as well as film, literature, visual art, theatre, and so on, participate in the complex process of constructing and modulating attitudes toward disability. In this course, we will examine the interaction of disability and music in several ways: composers and performers whose creative production is shaped by bodily difference and disability; opera and film characters who embody and stage disability for our consumption; and more abstractly, music whose formal, sonic unfolding seems to engage issues of disability, even in purely instrumental art-pour-l’art works. We will read from the disability studies literature that critiques and theorizes disability themes in literature, film, and visual art, as well as musicology, music theory, and ethnomusicology literature that shows how disability themes are crucial in music. In this interdisciplinary class, students will gain a much more intimate understanding of the ways that attitudes toward abilities and bodies are constructed in art works, as well as be able to think, analyze, critique, write, and create with this understanding in mind. It is not necessary to read music notation for this course; for guidance, inquire with the instructor.

MUSI 33504 - Intro to World Music (Travis Jackson)
This course has two goals: (1) to introduce graduate students to the broad theoretical underpinnings of ethnomusicology as a research discipline and (2) to help students gain facility with the resources and perspectives that might enable them to teach a quarter- or semester-long undergraduate course on the musics of the world. As such, the readings and assignments focus on canonic materials and areas for ethnomusicological study including, but not limited to, major monographs, recorded collections and reference works examining the musics of East, Southeast and South Asia; Africa; Europe; and the Americas.

MUSI 30716 - Opera As Idea and Performance (Anthony Freud and Martha Nussbaum)  
Is opera an archaic and exotic pageant for fanciers of overweight canaries, or a relevant art form of great subtlety and complexity that has the power to be revelatory? In this course of eight sessions, jointly taught by Professor Martha Nussbaum and Anthony Freud, General Director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, we explore the multi-disciplinary nature of this elusive and much-maligned art form, with its four hundred-year-old European roots, discussing both historic and philosophical contexts and the practicalities of interpretation and production in a very un-European, twenty-first century city. Anchoring each session around a different opera, we will be joined by a variety of guest experts, including a director, conductor, designer and singer, to enable us to explore different perspectives.

MUSI 31801 - The Analysis of Song (Lawrence Zbikowski)
This course serves two functions: as a preparatory review for the topics covered in Music 31100 (Tonal Analysis), which will be offered in Winter term; and as an introduction to the nineteenth century Lied. These functions are associated with the two main goals of the course: to develop further students’ skills for analyzing and writing about tonal music; and to explore how words and music relate to one another in German vocal music of the early- to mid-nineteenth century. The composers whose songs on which we shall focus will include Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms, although we shall certainly look at the works of other composers as occasion arises.

A complete listing of offerings is available at the Department’s course page.

Recent Music Thesis Projects

“The Commodity Quality of Madame Butterfly: A Semiotic Analysis”
Bess Calhoun, MAPH ’11
Advisor: Philip Bohlman

“The Chosen Folk: Audience and Chorus Conflict in Shoenberg’s Moses und Aron
Trish Lawlis, MAPH ’15
Advisor: Lawrence Zbikowski

“Not with notes but the spaces in between: examining the interpenetration of privileged interval classes in the melodic and harmonic language of Aaron Copland’s The Piano Variations and Appalachian Spring
Benjamin Nuzzo, MAPH ’16
Advisor: Steven Rings