"Classical" Music Then and Now: Style, Culture, and Stakes
In this class, the opera house serves as our guiding image as we explore the modern history of Western music (roughly 1800 - present). First, as we enter the grand entrance hall — meeting ground for audiences before, during and after the concert — we’ll touch on topics ranging from social class to geo-politics, and from ideology to the birth of the music industry as we know it today. Next we’ll visit the pit and stage, where music and the arts hit the limelight together, as we delve into the intersections between music, literature, cinema, poetry, theatre and philosophy. Finally, we’ll sneak backstage to glimpse the hidden wheels and cogs of technological innovation, and consider how a handful of innovations affected classical music specifically, and the "culture industry" more generally.
Through a transdisciplinary approach, the ultimate goal of this class is to see how musical style has evolved since the early 19th century, how a specific "classical music culture" came into being and then fragmented, and what the broader social, artistic, historical and political stakes of these developments have been.
1. To practice oral/written comprehension, and further develop speaking and writing fluency
2. To explore the evolution, culture, and stakes of classical music since 1800.
3. To situate these developments within a broader socio-historical and artistic context.
4. To develop appropriate vocabulary in accordance with these objectives.
5. To enjoy doing it.