Music Theory


T658 Interpretive Turns: Music and Cultural Studies

Prof. M. Kielian-Gilbert

2:30-3:45p.m. TR
M267 (Music Library Seminar Room)

Music and Cultural Studies, a seminar in music analysis, will examine practices of music listening, analysis, and interpretation (critical theory, feminist theory) to experience music as expressive of different social-cultural contexts of reception (and vice versa). We will consider how social-cultural aspects of subjectivity (gender, sexuality, voice, identity, and the body) may implicate or be implicated in various musical practices and in the analyses that seek to characterize those practices. We will explore how practices of theory-based analysis can relate to, or interact with listener- or reception-oriented music criticism.

Drawing from the orientations of writers such as Theodor Adorno and Gilles Deleuze (with Félix Guattari), and feminist writers such as Luce Irigaray, Rosi Braidotti, Elizabeth Grosz, and Gloria Anzaldúa, we will think about connections between theoretical orientation, constructions of subjectivity, and historical and contemporary experience (e.g., discontinuity, hypertextuality and technology, forces of pluralism and globalization).

Readings, topics, music: The course will be organized around topics of music analysis/listening of particular works (rather than by chronology) and in relation to the cross-disciplinary interests of those participating. We will consider a range of music from classical and contemporary, to popular, operatic, and theatrical. The instructor has particular interests in the music of the 19th, 20th, and 21st-century composers.

Prerequisites: MUS-T551 or graduate standing and consent of instructor.

Coursework: readings, class discussion; short reaction papers or music analyses on issues arising in the readings; major seminar paper and class presentation.

Texts: Theodor W. Adorno. Essays on Music. Selected, with introduction, commentary, and notes by Richard Leppert. New translations by Susan H. Gillespie. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translation and foreword by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987. Luce Irigaray. To Be Two. Trans. Monique M. Rhodes and Marco F. Cocito-Monoc. New York: Routledge, 2001 [1997]. (Later work; further exploration of the question of difference and alterity.)