This is a course for students who are passionate about classical music and eager to learn more about it, but who have not necessarily had any advanced technical training or taken any college-level music courses. The only prerequisite is a basic knowledge of how to read musical notation. Otherwise, no prior experience is needed; all concepts will be explained in class, and musical terms will be defined as they arise. This course will focus on Western classical music of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, music that exemplifies tonality, the system of major and minor keys, including pieces composed by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Wagner, Brahms, Richard Strauss, and others. This course will tell two competing stories about tonal music and try to reconcile them. On one hand, we will explore what all tonal pieces have in common, the shared musical language that makes them intelligible and allows them to communicate; on the other hand, we will try to discover what makes each piece unique, how composers bend the common language to say something new. Although the course will incorporate historical perspectives, it will not be a chronological survey. Instead, it will combine music theory with aesthetics, balancing principles of structural organization with insights into the aesthetic meaning and effects of these principles. By illustrating his lectures with his own performances at the keyboard, Professor Korsyn will bring the music to life.
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No prerequisites for this course.