Smith’s music department is a lively center of musical activity, with faculty members who offer a broad array of classroom courses in musical composition, western music history and literature, ethnomusicology, music theory, popular music and gender-feminist studies in music. Smith faculty offer performance courses in voice and a wide variety of instruments, and members of the department direct performance ensembles. The department boasts extraordinary practice facilities and a remarkable number of notable graduates who have led distinguished musical careers in performance, scholarship and the practical world of music.
Spring '20 Featured Courses
*One-time offering!* MUS 205 Topics in Popular Music The Sacred Harp: A 19th C. American "Shapenote" Tunebook
This course will examine the vibrant music, singing traditions, and cultural history of the American shape-note tunebook The Sacred Harp. First published in Georgia in 1844, the book is significant as both a repository of early American vernacular hymnody and as the focus of a continuing musical tradition. We will examine the ideas that shaped it, its early history in the primarily rural South, and the “pre-history” of shape-note music in Northampton. Assignments will be supplemented with group singing and archival research on local music history. The ability to read western notation is not required (prior experience with music making would be helpful).
Instructor: Timothy Eriksen
*New course!* MUS 222 World Music Theories
Each musical tradition is best explained and understood by its own system of theory. This course introduces four musical traditions and their corresponding theories: Tuvan Throat Singing, Dagomba Dance Drumming, Javanese Gamelan, and Hindustani classical music. Topics include theory fundamentals, listening methods, compositional approaches, and aesthetics. Learning about these traditions will open doors to new modes of listening and to hearing familiar music in a brand new way.
Instructor: Philip Acimovic
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