Pomona College Classes

Following are some of the courses that I typically teach. See the college catalog for current offerings and more detailed descriptions.

Music 96a (fall semester) Music 96b (spring semester) – Electronic Music Studio
Goals include gaining familiarity with electronic music equipment and the principles behind its functioning, primarily in order to make music.

Selected musical works will be examined in light of their historical and technological contexts.

Weekly assignments will generally consist of focused sound sculpturing and composition exercises, most of which will be presented in class, so attendance is essential. There will likely be ample studio time available beyond the assignments (each student is assigned 3-4 hours of lab time), and independent musical creation is encouraged. The studio will be available only when the library is open and only to people on the access list (principally people in this class.)

Attendance is mandatory. Grades will be based on weekly assignments, quizzes on voice architecture or general principles behind current synthesis techniques being studied, a listening quiz, class presentations, and a final project to be performed in Lyman Hall.

The first semester begins with general principles of acoustics, additive and subtractive synthesis, FM synthesis, sequencing, and multi-track recording. Primary tools used include ARP 2600 and Mac-based software: Digital Performer MIDI/audio sequencer and Kontakt sampler/synth.

The second semester delves more deeply into all of the above, as well as sampling, digital recording, patch editing of software synthesizers, and interactive electronics. Primary tools used include Mac-based software: Digital Performer MIDI/audio sequencer, Kontakt sampler/synthesizer, and MAX/MSP.

Music 80 Music Theory I
This is the first semester of the three-semester Music Theory Sequence required of music majors. It assumes that you already can fluently read at least treble and bass clefs, and are familiar with music fundamentals, including key signatures, scales, intervals, and triads. Its purposes are to develop a clear mental connection between notation and sound, and to discover how at least some music works, by means of writing and analysis. We will investigate mostly diatonic tonal music from various perspectives, but with a special emphasis on harmony and counterpoint.

Daily assignments will include writing, analysis, elementary keyboard work, ear-training, and listening. There will be two or three short analysis papers, occasional quizzes, 2 concert reports, and a final project, which will consist of an original composition using some of the skills acquired during the semester.

Attendance is mandatory. Manuscript paper, a pencil, and likely an eraser will be needed in every class.

Course requirements:
Homework is assigned for most class meetings. The final assignment will be a compositional project to be presented to the class during the final exam period. The midterm quizzes will cover material from class meetings, the textbook, homework assignments, and listening assignments. Musicianship lab is required; it may have its own exams.

Music 81 Music Theory II
The second semester typically addresses more chromatic harmony and short pieces from 1700 to 1900.

Music 82 Music Theory III
The third semester explores the limits of tonality in music from the late 19th century.

Music 184 Twentieth Century Music History and Theory
This course is meant to follow both the theory and history sequences (Mus. 80, 81, 82; Mus. 120a, 120b.) It assumes familiarity with much Western European music through the beginning of the twentieth century, and some acquaintance with non-Western music.

Weekly work will consist of reading, listening, and writing.

Reading will be primarily from Twentieth Century Music by Robert Morgan (WW Norton, 1991.) Several scores will be required as well.
Listening will be available on CD’s in the music library, as will many scores.
Writing will consist of short technical exercises employing techniques relevant to the music we are studying, and some analysis.

Class time will be spent presenting historical background concerning composers and compositional trends, and looking at some specific pieces in detail.

Music 118 Music Composition
Composition in various styles. Prerequisite: Theory I, II, III.