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Sacred Music in the Western Christian Tradition: from the Bible to Modernity
T 3:30pm - 5:20pm
An introductory survey of music’s changing place in Western Christianity. With attention to particular repertories and works, this course explores how musical creativity across the ages has responded to—and has been shaped by—theologies, liturgies, technologies, geographies, institutions and social groups, as well as practices from secular traditions. Students will gain an understanding of the various techniques, styles, and approaches to text setting historically employed by different Christian denominations, chiefly in Western Europe and America. Final projects on musical practices or repertories since 1900 will complete the survey, encouraging students to reflect on the relationship between recent developments in sacred music and those of the past.
No prior experience required.
30 minutes of listening per week (online via course website), to be discussed each week in class, plus background reading drawn from a survey textbook (c. 50 pages). Midterm essay of 6-8 pages on choice of topics and issues from first half of course. Final paper of 12-15 pages (double spaced, with bibliography) exploring a musical work, repertory, or practice (of own choice) from any Christian tradition between 1900 to present day.
Attendance and participation in discussion (20%); mid-term essay, due at end of Reading Period (30%); final paper (50%)