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Visual Sounds: Exploring the Landscape and Architecture of Musical Notation
MUSC 240
Spring 2024
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: COL 233

This course examines a diverse range of musical works seeing their notation as a process of translation, transformation, provocation, and imagination. Tracing a thread from medieval notations through to contemporary scores, we investigate the shifting tensions between the sonic and the visual over the long arc of music history. Why were sounds inscribed in the 9th century? How do 1960s scores reflect the radicalism of their era? Connections across centuries help shed light on musicians for whom the creative potential of notation surpasses its descriptive and prescriptive functions. Featured composers will include Hildegard of Bingen, Guillaume de Machaut, La Monte Young, George Brecht, Earle Brown, John Cage, Cornelius Cardew, Cathy Berberian, Yoko Ono, Pauline Oliveros, Mark Applebaum, and Claudia Molitor. Complementary materials comprise visual art, concrete poetry, and live theater.
One of the reasons composers started to experiment with open scores in the 1950s and '60s was to develop a kind of musical notation that could be read, and therefore performed, even by those who did not identify as musically literate. This course is, accordingly, open to all students. No prior knowledge of musical notation or instrumental expertise is required. Meetings will involve discussion of a wide range of readings with the goal of expanding understanding of multiple relationships between music and visual materials.

Learning Objectives:
To gain familiarity with the diversity of forms of musical notation.
To recognize the variable relationships between inspiration, transcription, performance, and recordings.
To consider musical notation as a form of design, a language code, and a form of translation.
To develop creative processes and understand the creative processes of others.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA MUSC
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUN-20-2024
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