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Music

The Department of Music offers courses in the history, theory, technology, and performance of music that cover topics reaching back through history and around the globe. Small classes, individual instructions, interdisciplinary opportunities, and a vibrant co-curricular performance program and concert schedule foster an interconnected environment of dynamic teacher-student interaction and collaboration both inside and outside of the classroom.

Majors: Students considering a music major should enroll in either Music Theory 1 (MUSC 201) and the corequisite lab (MUSC 202) or History of Western Music 1 (MUSC 211). Students with no formal training in music who might be interested in the major (but do not feel ready to take Music Theory 1) are encouraged to take Fundamentals of Music (MUSC 103) to get started. All students interested in music performance are encouraged to enroll in one of the department’s performance ensembles and/or sign up for individual instrumental or vocal lessons. Contact Alice Resker, Music Office Coordinator, for more information about ensemble and lesson opportunities. aresker@holycross.edu

Advanced Placement: A score of 4 or 5 earns college credit and counts toward the arts common area requirement. Students with AP credit in Music Theory, prior coursework in, or knowledge of music theory may earn advanced placement in the department’s theory sequence, but AP credit will not count toward the minimum number of courses (10) required for the major.


 

MUSC 101
Introduction to Music
Common Area: Arts
    
This course is a one-semester introduction to Western art music and its forms and histories. Students will develop critical listening skills that they can apply to the music they listen to everyday. The works we will study in context begin in the Middle Ages and continue up to the present. From chant to ballet, and Beethoven to BeyoncĂ©, this course offers students the opportunity to engage with a wide range of musical styles, genres, and artists.  No prerequisite. One unit.
    
    
MUSC 103
Fundamentals of Music
Common Area: Arts
    
Introduction to the rudiments of music theory (notation, scales, intervals, chords, rhythm and meter) and basic musicianship (keyboard skills, sightsinging, score reading and ear training). For students with no previous musical knowledge. No prerequisite.  One unit.
   
   
MUSC 143
History of Rock
Common Area: Arts
    
This survey of the history of rock music spans from its beginnings in earlier styles of music to the end of the 20th century, with particular attention to 1) the relationship of rock music to surrounding cultural, political, and economic formations; 2) the use and influence of this repertory in the 21st century; and 3) the development of technology in the rock music industry. Students will become familiar with the forms and structures of rock music through listening and other forms of media engagement. The course material will include required readings from contemporary accounts and scholarly sources, recordings, and select films and music videos. No prerequisite.  One unit.


MUSC 150
American Music
Common Area: Arts
    
Surveys three main repertoires of music in the United States: folk and traditional music of urban, rural, and ethnic origin; jazz; and art music from Charles Ives to the present, with particular attention to the influence of science and technology on recent developments. No prerequisite.  One unit.
    
    
MUSC 155
Musics of Latin America
Common Area: Arts or Cross-Cultural Studies

An introduction to the rich and varied musical traditions of Latin America, this course will explore a range of issues including social function, political context, literature, and religion as they assist in understanding music in and as culture.  We will study the musics of several regions without attempting a comprehensive survey. The focus will be on listening critically and appreciating music as a vehicle through which to understand culture and society. Lecture and discussion will feature audio and visual performances of many genres.  No prerequisite. One unit.


MUSC 199
Intro to Audio Recording
Common Area: Arts

Designed for all majors, this course explores modern digital recording techniques of sound and music. Students will learn proper studio procedures, microphone theory and placement, digital audio workstations, audio manipulation through hardware and software, audio engineering, and audio production. Students will collaborate with musicians and artists to produce creative accurate representations of sound. No previous experience is required. One unit.


MUSC 201
Music Theory 1
Common Area: Arts
    
Ever wonder how music works? This course offers an integrated approach to music theory that is applicable to a broad range of styles from the classical symphony to popular song. Through analysis, musicianship exercises, and creative projects, students learn how composers and songwriters use common elements such as rhythm, scales, chords, melody, and counterpoint as building blocks to create unique musical styles. Music 201 is suitable for students from all majors and class years. Prerequisite: Ability to read one or more musical clefs (or permission of the instructor). Corequisite: Music Theory 1 Lab (Music 202). One unit.


MUSC 211
History of Western Music 1
Common Area: Arts or Historical Studies
    
Survey of the history of music, its notation, forms, and styles, in Western Europe from the development of music notation in the middle ages to the death of Bach in 1750. Topics include genres and composers of the medieval, renaissance, and baroque periods as well as the study of representative works from scores and recordings. Prerequisite: the ability to read music. One unit.


MUSC 236
From Blues to Rap
Common Area: Arts

A survey of African-American from the early 20th century to the present day.  This course will consider various musical styles, with special emphasis on developments since 1950, including blues, gospel, R&B, rock and roll, doo-wop, soul, funk, disco, hip-hop, and rap-from the rural south to the urban north; from the east coast to the west coast; from the live stage to the recording studio.  Though the primary function of the course will be to consider the development of musical style (that is, the music itself), we will also consider broader questions concerning the influences on and influences of African-American music, issues of cultural appropriation and race, issues of gender and sexuality as they relate to the repertories being studied, and the agency of such music in social movements from the civil-rights era to the present day. This course is for anyone interested in music and American history.  The ability to read musical notation is not required. One unit.
    

FULL-UNIT PERFORMANCE COURSES
    
MUSC 218
Jazz Improvisation 1
Common Area: Arts
    
Introduces students to the fundamentals of jazz harmony and improvisation. Topics include chord and scale construction, harmonic progression, symbols used in improvisation, jazz scales and modes. These theoretical concepts are applied to the analysis and performance of standard jazz tunes. A portion of the class is devoted to performance and improvisation.  One unit.
    

MUSC 231
Music of the Bali-Gamelan 1
Common Area: Arts or Cross-Cultural Studies
    
Introduces students to Balinese music through the performance of selected pieces from the Gong Kebyar repertory. Instruction provided in the technique of playing the instruments that make up the Gamelan. One unit.


OVERLOAD PERFORMANCE COURSES -- Do NOT count for credit toward graduation

MUSC 105, 106, 107, 108
Individual Instruction on an Instrument or Voice

Beginning/intermediate students enroll in a first semester of individual instruction on an instrument or voice with an appropriate instructor. Ten private lessons are given at a mutually convenient time to be arranged. This course is taken pass/no pass as an overload and does not count toward graduation. 0.25 unit.


MUSC 110
College Choir

Students attend all regularly scheduled rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and concerts during the period of enrollment. This course is taken pass/no pass as an overload and does not count toward graduation. Students may repeat this course and/or other ensemble courses. 0.25 unit.


MUSC 111
College Orchestra

Students attend all regularly scheduled rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and concerts during the period of enrollment. This course is taken pass/no pass as an overload and does not count toward graduation. Students may repeat this course and/or other ensemble courses. 0.25 unit.


MUSC 112
Jazz Ensemble

Students attend all regularly scheduled rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and concerts during the period of enrollment. This course is taken pass/no pass as an overload and does not count toward graduation. Students may repeat this course and/or other ensemble courses. 0.25 unit.


MUSC 113
Wind Ensemble

Students attend all regularly scheduled rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and concerts during the period of enrollment. This course is taken pass/no pass as an overload and does not count toward graduation. Students may repeat this course and/or other ensemble courses. 0.25 unit.


MUSC 114
Chamber Music

Students attend all regularly scheduled rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and concerts during the period of enrollment. This course is taken pass/no pass as an overload and does not count toward graduation. Students may repeat this course and/or other ensemble courses. 0.25 unit.


MUSC 115
Chamber Singers

Students attend all regularly scheduled rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and concerts during the period of enrollment. This course is taken pass/no pass as an overload and does not count toward graduation. Students may repeat this course and/or other ensemble courses. 0.25 unit.

 



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