Music 422: Seminar in Music Theory


(Spring 1997)

Composition as an intellectual pursuit different from but equal to Science and Philosophy. Speculative and experimental thinking in music compared to the production of crafted objects.

This offering looks at how theoretical systems and composition techniques serve to convey a particular world view. What are the implications of the use of tonal functional harmony, cantus firmus, stochastic distributions or group theory ? Can a composer avoid such implications ? The search for a possible contemporary paradigm.

Examples of original thinking and analyses of works from the School of Notre Dame to Cage and Xenakis with a lengthier look at Tristan und Isolde.

The grades will be based on two class presentations and a term paper.


The following are succinct notes summarizing each day's discussions.

[ Day I | Day II | Day III | Day IV | Day V | Day VI | Day VII | Day VIII | Day IX | Day X | Day XI | Day XII | Day XIII ]

Final projects: