Courses by semester
Complete Cornell University course descriptions are in the Courses of Study .
|MUSIC1100||Elements of Musical Notation This four-week course fulfills the requirement of basic pitch, rhythm, and score-reading skills needed for some introductory courses and 2000-level courses with prerequisites.||Fall.|
|MUSIC1101||Elements of Music Have you ever wondered: is there music in outer space? what is music's "deep history"? how do we know music when we hear it? why does it make us want to dance? does it also make us "civilized"? and how do cultural, technological, and economic forces shape why we listen, when we listen, and what we listen to? Elements of Music offers the opportunity to think about all these questions (and more) through a wide variety of hands-on musical activities: experimenting with instruments, recording and manipulating sounds from the world around us, examining medieval musical books, dancing the Twist, sweatin' to the Oldies, playing samba, improvising, singing, and above all, listening to music from around the world.||Fall.|
Introduction to Western Art Music
This course offers an introduction to the history and culture of Western art music, commonly known as "classical" music. While sketching an overview of important works, events, places, figures, and movements from the medieval period up to the present day, the course will focus on providing students with the knowledge, vocabulary, and listening skills required to locate themselves in relation to this vast and diverse body of music. No previous musical experience is required.
Full details for MUSIC 1205 - Introduction to Western Art Music
Introduction to Computer Music
A composition-based introduction to computer hardware and software for digital sound and media. Fundamentals of audio, synthesis, sequencing, and other techniques for electronic music production. Each student creates several short compositions.
Full details for MUSIC 1421 - Introduction to Computer Music
|MUSIC1701||FWS: Sound, Sense and Ideas This First-Year Writing seminar provides the opportunity to write extensively about music's place in our world. Topics vary by section.||Fall, Spring.|
Theory, Materials and Techniques I
Study of the foundations of tonal music as manifested primarily in the Western literate tradition, also incorporating examples from various vernacular idioms. The course combines modern pedagogical methods with the study of historical sources and focuses on active learning at the keyboard. Topics to be covered include rudiments such as scales and triads; melodic and harmonic principles; voice-leading strategies and schemata; species counterpoint; improvisation, including techniques of embellishment; rhythm, meter, and gesture. During sections, the concepts and skills introduced in lecture will be practiced at the keyboard as well as vocally. Other section activities include elements of musicianship (aural skills, intervallic production and identification, rhythmic accuracy and fluency, etc.); transcription; sight singing; and score reading.
Full details for MUSIC 2101 - Theory, Materials and Techniques I
|MUSIC2111||Songwriting Songwriting introduces students to the practice of songwriting through workshop-formatted classes. We will explore the ingredients of song (lyrics, melody, delivery, harmony, rhythm, form, texture, timbre, and arrangement) through analysis, composition, recording technologies, performance, and concert reports. Proficiency on one or more musical instruments is required. Songwriting can be taken as a stand-alone course or as part of the Songwriting sequence with Collaborative Songwriting.||Fall.|
You Have Terrible Taste in Music
What does it mean to have "good taste" in music? Where does the idea come from, and how has it changed historically? Who has the power to decide which music is good and which is terrible? What makes an expert? Does expertise mean anything in assessing the "value" of different musics? And how does aesthetic expertise interact with other systems of power and identity? Why do people love some genres and hate others? Why does a "guilty pleasure" involve guilt at all? How do we explain our most basic aesthetic attachments? We will examine these questions by reading and discussing texts by philosophers, historians, journalists, musicologists, and sociologists on taste and cultural authority.
Full details for MUSIC 2290 - You Have Terrible Taste in Music
Gamelan in Indonesian History and Cultures
This course combines hands-on instruction in gamelan, Indonesia's most prominent form of traditional music, and the academic study of the broader range of music found in contemporary Indonesia, including Western-oriented and hybrid popular forms. Students thus engage with music directly, and use it as a lens to examine the myriad social and cultural forces that shape it, and that are shaped by it.
Full details for MUSIC 2341 - Gamelan in Indonesian History and Cultures
Jazz Improvisation and Theory I
An introduction to fundamental jazz theory, technique, and applied skills.
Full details for MUSIC 3111 - Jazz Improvisation and Theory I
|MUSIC3122||Conducting This course introduces fundamentals of conducting including: gesture and movement; score reading, analysis, and interpretation; rehearsal procedures; and historical practices. Students will explore these topics in both instrumental and choral contexts.||Fall.|
|MUSIC3140||Instrumentation for Composers Instrumentation for Composers is an applied course on composing for classical orchestral and traditional instruments that includes weekly writing projects read and discussed by faculty performers and international guest musicians and ensembles. Notation, new and extended techniques, and instrumental combination and orchestration are also covered. Students will compose an ensemble score for performance as part of their final project.||Fall.|
Considered Listening: Sound, Ears, and Loudspeakers in Creative Practice
What is sound, how do we perceive it, and how do technologies such as the loudspeaker mediate our listening experience? Can our ears become instruments? Can we listen through touch and sight? In this hands-on course, we will explore these questions by re-creating objects, experiments, and performances, from the nineteenth century to the present day, by scientists and artists who worked across disciplines to center listening as a framework for art-making. We will treat the process of re-creation as an exercise in aural skills, developing a flexible and self-reflexive understanding of hearing and perception. Additional course activities include introductory tutorials in DIY electronics, digital audio synthesis, and instrument-building. This course is open to students from all disciplines, backgrounds, and abilities.
Full details for MUSIC 3424 - Considered Listening: Sound, Ears, and Loudspeakers in Creative Practice
|MUSIC3431||Sound Design Covering the basics of digital audio, bioacoustics, psychoacoustics and sound design, as they apply to theatre, film and music production. Students create soundscapes for text and moving image using ProTools software.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3511||Individual Instruction Individual instruction in voice, organ, harpsichord, piano and fortepiano, violin, viola, cello, percussion, and some brass and woodwind instruments to those students advanced enough to do college-level work in these instruments. For more information about individual instruction, see the section titled Musical Instruction.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3512||Individual Instruction Individual instruction in voice, organ, harpsichord, piano and fortepiano, violin, viola, cello, percussion, and some brass and woodwind instruments to those students advanced enough to do college-level work in these instruments. For more information about individual instruction, see the section titled Musical Instruction.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3513||Individual Instruction Individual instruction in voice, organ, harpsichord, piano and fortepiano, violin, viola, cello, percussion, and some brass and woodwind instruments to those students advanced enough to do college-level work in these instruments. For more information about individual instruction, see the section titled Musical Instruction.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3514||Individual Instruction Individual instruction in voice, organ, harpsichord, piano and fortepiano, violin, viola, cello, percussion, and some brass and woodwind instruments to those students advanced enough to do college-level work in these instruments. For more information about individual instruction, see the section titled Musical Instruction.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3602||Chorus A nationally renowned choral ensemble and vibrant student-driven organization specializing in repertoire for sopranos and altos. Collaborates frequently with the Glee Club to present mixed-voice repertoire and major works. Tours and records annually.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3603||Glee Club A nationally renowned choral ensemble and vibrant student-driven organization specializing in repertoire for tenors and basses. Collaborates frequently with the Chorus to present mixed-voice repertoire and major works. Tours and records annually.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3604||Chorale A course for singers wishing to develop their musicianship, sight-reading, and vocal technique. The Chorale is a performing ensemble, and is focused on the development of essential skills to a high level, preparing students with the musical foundations necessary for a life in choral music.||Fall, Spring.|
Brazilian Ensemble - Deixa Sambar
Deixa Sambar performs several styles of samba, Brazil's national music. Members need not have prior background in music-making, but a good sense of rhythm is desirable. Members include students as well as Ithaca community members, brasileiros as well as newcomers to Brazilian culture. Rehearsals develop playing skills, with a deep emphasis on cultural understanding of this vital, community-based music.
Full details for MUSIC 3609 - Brazilian Ensemble - Deixa Sambar
|MUSIC3610||Cornell Gamelan Ensemble Performs the traditional repertoire of Central Javanese gamelan.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3613||Cornell Steel Band The Cornell Steel Band explores the wide variety of music for an orchestra of instruments fashioned from 55-gallon oil drums, and an "engine room" of non-pitched percussion. Interwoven into the focus on hands-on practice is reflection on the meanings of steel band, historically and in the present, in its native Trinidad and Tobago and here in the United States. Formal musical training is not necessary, though a sense of rhythm and a good ear are helpful.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3616||Cornell Hip-Hop Collective This course is open to experienced rappers, beatmakers, and vocalists interested forging collaborative relationships with other students. Taking as a foundation hip-hop's relationship to social justice, each semester we will work together to plan and record an EP on a theme or keyword chosen as a group. We will construct and analyze playlists of inspirational material, identifying specific hip-hop compositional strategies for creating beats and rhymes on a theme, and will use these tools to create and workshop our own collaborative tracks in weekly meetings. Please contact the instructor to audition.||Fall, spring.|
|MUSIC3621||Cornell Symphony Orchestra This course will provide its members an engaging and vigorous orchestral experience where they will expand their knowledge and enjoyment of advanced repertoire with like-minded musicians. CSO is committed to offering rich concert programming experiences through major works of the orchestral canon as well as groundbreaking works representing music of our time. The primary objective of the course is to achieve a learning outcome that is student and ensemble driven, strengthening the confidence and artistic depth of each musician.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3631||Cornell Wind Symphony The Cornell Wind Symphony unites student musicians in an ensemble dedicated to the study and performance of emerging and traditional wind repertoire. The Cornell Wind Symphony unites student musicians in an ensemble dedicated to the study and performance of emerging and traditional wind repertoire. In Spring 2021, the Wind Symphony will likely make music in both in-person and remote settings. Full details and audition instructions will be posted on www.cuwinds.com as they become available.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3634||Cornell Percussion Group The Cornell Percussion Ensemble studies and performs un-conducted percussion chamber music from the rapidly expanding repertoire. Utilizing the stylistic and sonic variety that is unique to the medium, the ensemble performs music from the relatively young canon, including classics by Iannis Xenakis and Steve Reich, as well as many pieces composed within the past few years. Members of the ensemble will develop strategic listening and communication techniques through the study of percussion chamber works and mixed chamber ensemble pieces, while advancing their interpretative and technical skills. Prior experience with percussion instruments is required, and participants must meet with the instructor for a short audition before enrolling.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3660||Music Improvisation Ensemble The Music Improvisation Ensemble provides students with the opportunity to explore the elements of music from an improviser's perspective. This ensemble is open to any level of musician. An audition is required at the beginning of the semester simply as a means of introduction. Please contact instructor Annie Lewandowski for more information: email@example.com.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3701||Performing Chamber Music Fall 2022: Music for Saxophones: This coached chamber music course focuses on the performance of standard and emerging saxophone quartet (SATB) and sextet (sopranino through bass) music. Instruction emphasizes rehearsal skills, leadership, and collaborative methods; familiarization with the repertory; musical analysis through performance; and the development of a historically informed, musically unified, interpretation. The course will conclude with a concert featuring music prepared throughout the semester in collaboration with the Ithaca College saxophone quartet. For additional information contact James Spinazzola, firstname.lastname@example.org.||Fall.|
|MUSIC3901||Supplemental Study in Music Intended primarily for music majors, this option allows students enrolled in an approved 1000- or 2000-level 3-credit music history course to pursue independent research and writing projects. Students will study various topics in music history at a more advanced level through supplementary reading, discussion, and writing, by arrangement with the professor.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC3902||Choral Musicianship Co-requisite for new members of Cornell choirs, based on audition. Recommended for choral musicians at all levels. Foundational and advanced approaches to choral sight-singing, aural skills, diction, score reading, and vocal topics.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC4501||Individual Instruction Individual instruction in voice, organ, harpsichord, piano and fortepiano, violin, viola, cello, percussion, and some brass and woodwind instruments to those students advanced enough to do college-level work in these instruments. For more information about individual instruction, see the section titled Musical Instruction.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC4615||Jazz Ensemble Study and performance of classic and contemporary big band literature. Rehearsals twice a week with two to four performances per semester.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC4616||Jazz Combos Study and performance of classic and contemporary small-group jazz.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC4621||Cornell Chamber Orchestra The goal of this music performance course is to provide the opportunity for you as a string performer to come together with other like-minded musicians in an ensemble setting to rehearse and perform the highest quality literature from the chamber orchestra repertoire. In this course we will focus on overall concepts of self and ensemble expression, engagement, participation, and performance. We will also address musical concepts of ensemble and individual balance, blend, intonation, phrasing, dynamics, articulation, tone, rhythmic precision, color, and ensemble clarity. We are going to listen to ourselves, to each other and to the composer's voice.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC4631||Chamber Flute Ensemble Small ensembles meet weekly to explore diverse flute repertoire including a variety of instrumentation (piccolo, alto flute, bass flute). There will be a performance opportunity at the end of the semester on a chamber concert or in a studio class setting.||Fall, Spring.|
Advanced Instruction in Gamelan
Concentrated instruction for students in advanced techniques of performance on Indonesian gamelan instruments.
Full details for MUSIC 4641 - Advanced Instruction in Gamelan
|MUSIC4651||Chamber Music Ensemble Study and performance of chamber music works from duos to octets, for all instruments and voice. Students will be expected to attend a one hour coaching each week and rehearse on their own as well. There will be a final performance at the end of the semester and possible additional performance opportunities.||Fall, Spring.|
|MUSIC4901||Independent Study in Music Independent study affords students the opportunity to pursue special interests or research not treated in regularly scheduled courses. A faculty member, who becomes the student's instructor for the independent course, must approve the proposed study and agree to provide continuing supervision of the work. Students must prepare a proposal for independent study. To apply for independent study, please complete the online form. Undergraduate student and faculty advisor to determine course of study and credit hours.||Fall or Spring.|
|MUSIC4911||Honors in Music First semester of the two semester honors program. In conjunction with faculty, selected candidates formulate a program that allows them to demonstrate their musical and scholarly abilities, culminating in an honors thesis, composition, or recital (or some combination of these), to be presented in their senior year.||Multi-semester course: (Fall, Spring).|
Research and Critical Methodologies
This course explores two necessary components for advanced study and research in the discipline of music: 1) practicalities of research, including concepts, methodologies, and tools, which introduces students to social constructions of knowledge and how it is managed by libraries and archives, as well as many types of bibliographic tools, both printed and electronic; 2) critical approaches and theories of music, sound, performance, and cultural meaning, which introduces the students to key disciplinary and interdisciplinary intellectual movements and scholarly works.
Full details for MUSIC 6201 - Research and Critical Methodologies
|MUSIC7111||Composition A course for graduate or advanced undergraduate composers (by permission with a portfolio audition) seeking individual music composition instruction, the course combines one-on-one meetings with group seminars featuring workshops, master classes, and/or visiting guests. In addition to individual and group meetings, composers may have opportunities for the reading and/or performance of their work.||Fall, Spring.|
Seminar in Nineteenth Century Music
This seminar seeks to analyze the communicative strategies of nineteenth-century European music and to expose the philosophical, aesthetic, and technological conditions that enabled them. How, in other words, could musical meanings be conceptualized, materialized, transmitted, and stored? The seminar's theoretical apparatus will draw on writings by Michel Foucault, Friedrich Kittler, Bernhard Siegert, Alexandra Hui, Mara Mills, Jonathan Sterne, John Tresch, and Julia Kursell, among others, alongside music-historical and analytical work relating to the repertoire under discussion.
Full details for MUSIC 7205 - Seminar in Nineteenth Century Music
Jazz, Fusions, Discourses: New Jazz Studies and "Broken Middle" Interdisciplinarity
Kevin Fellesz (2011) counters the frequent dismissal of fusion ("ain't rock, ain't jazz") as fertile ground for reconceiving its ain't-ness as a "broken middle," a liminal non-genre used to "trouble, perplex, and contest" categories of thought (discourses) about this music. Relatedly, "new jazz studies," especially since the landmark Jazz Among the Discourses (Krin Gabbard, ed., 1995), draws freely from a welter of disciplines and methodologies outside established critical-historical modes. Our seminar asks whether and how the "broken middle" concept might fruitfully push "new jazz studies" interdisciplinary approach to new sorts of questions, methodologies, and musics. We begin with jazz scholarship and seek to apply "broken middle" thinking to those musical scenes that are central to the seminar members' interests.
Full details for MUSIC 7333 - Jazz, Fusions, Discourses: New Jazz Studies and "Broken Middle" Interdisciplinarity
|MUSIC7430||Rethinking the Instrument This seminar focuses on redefining the musical instrument. Participants will use musical instruments, everyday objects, materials, and architectural elements in conjunction with loudspeakers, kinetic and mechanical devices, and other systems to create sounding objects. In a workshop environment, the course traces the artistic work of building, composing for, and operating an instrument. Through this process, we will question notions of sound perception and generate new forms of sonic knowledge. In support of this aim, instruments will be taken apart and examined as autonomous resonant bodies. We will observe the form of these components, their materiality, their mechanics, and we will document their behavior in the context of new sonic functions. The instrumental/mechanical components will be combined with and modified by devices, materials, and other instruments. A final project using the work developed through the course can be submitted as a composition, a sound object, an instrumental device, an installation, or any combination thereof. The course is intended for graduate students in music but open to others by permission of the instructor.||Fall.|
|MUSIC7901||Independent Study in Music Independent study affords students the opportunity to pursue special interests or research not treated in regularly scheduled courses. A faculty member, who becomes the student's instructor for the independent course, must approve the proposed study and agree to provide continuing supervision of the work.||Fall, Spring.|