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Music Performance Electives


The String Quartet

(Repertoire to be based on the all-school project.) The most celebrated type of chamber music ensemble in the past three centuries, the string quartet has given rise to numerous masterpieces that have become staples of the repertoire. Many composers dedicated to this intimate medium their most personal and inspired ideas, and for many performing groups presenting a complete cycle of the Beethoven or Bartók quartets is a major artistic statement. This course will combine a historical survey of the string quartet literature with a practical discussion of the necessary ensemble skills for playing in a quartet, including in-class demonstrations by the participants. More than any other medium, the string quartet in the eighteenth century symbolized the emergence of a new chamber music tradition, entirely independent from Baroque-based reliance on basso continuo, and displaying four active instrumental parts. This attention to the meaning of each of the four parts at any given moment in the music will inform both the historical and the practical components of the course, emphasizing the conversational nature of chamber music making. Among the pieces studied, special place will be given to those that relate to the all-school project.

Context: All Curtis violinists, violists, and cellists play in string quartets. Exploring this literature while addressing practical skills of ensemble playing will put their chamber playing in a broader context.

Advanced Conducting

Description to come.

Interpretive Analysis and Musicianship: Tonal Music

For advanced students. This course employs music theory and analysis in tonal music to develop practical principles of interpretation for the performer and listener. Listening assignments, discussions and written exercises will help students connect intuitive impressions of music with an objective understanding of the music's construction and design as found in common practice.

Introduction to Improvisation

This course introduces the concepts of improvisation, one of the most essential skills for the performing musician. Students will explore the uses of improvisation in various eras throughout history. The ability to improvise develops confidence, freedom of expression, and the use of imagination in music making. The range of activities in this workshop includes solo and chamber improvisations in various styles from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries while incorporating a composer’s point of view.

Improvisation

For students with some improvisation experience, this workshop concentrates on mastering one of the most essential skills for the performing musician. The ability to improvise develops confidence, freedom of expression, and the use of imagination in music making. The range of activities in this workshop includes solo and chamber improvisations in various styles from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries while incorporating a composer’s point of view. Topics include cadenzas, ornaments, creating variations, free improvisation, and more. Open to advanced instrumentalists with instructor’s permission.

Interpretive Analysis and Musicianship: Atonal Music

For advanced theory students. This course employs music theory and analysis in atonal music to develop practical principles of interpretation for the performer and listener. Listening assignments, discussions and written exercises will help students connect intuitive impressions of music with an objective understanding of the music's construction and design as found in common practice.


KEY TO THE COURSE LIST

Odd-numbered courses generally meet in the fall and even-numbered courses meet in the spring.

The designations "s.h." (semester hours) and "g.c." (graduate credits) indicate credit-hours given per term for undergraduate and graduate courses, respectively.

Yearlong, two-semester courses are designated by hyphenated course numbers. Students must successfully complete both semesters of required yearlong courses to satisfy the graduation requirement.

The symbol * indicates a course that is not offered every year.

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