Music Humanities

Awakening an appreciation of music in the Western world and engaging students in the debates about the character and purposes of music.

illustration depicting students outside of a concert hall

Explore the Music

The focus of Music Humanities is on the many forms of the Western musical imagination in art music, through works studied in their historical and cultural contexts. The specific goals of the course are to awaken and encourage active, critical, and comparative listening practices, to provide tools to respond verbally to a variety of musical idioms, and to create engagement with the debates about the character and purposes of music that have occupied composers and musical thinkers since ancient times. The extraordinary richness of musical life in New York is an integral part of the course.
The course moves chronologically from the Middle Ages to the present, examining the choices and assumptions of composers, their patrons, audiences, and performers, and exploring what we can and can’t know about how music of the past may have sounded. Students’ critical perceptions and articulate responses to the music, and to the source readings that are a hallmark of the Core, will be a vital part of the class.

Scroll through each section of the syllabus below, where you'll also find links to hear the music. 

The full Music Hum playlist on Spotify can be heard HERE.