Music

“Music is the means by which the sage stirs heaven and earth, moves the spirits, shepherds the multitudes, and perfects the myriad things.” —Ying Shao

“Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, for rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” —Socrates

  • A student learning guitar

Musicality, developed through musical training, consists of skills, sensibilities, and knowledge used to understand, reflect upon, and respond to musical content and context. A sense of its significance is universal among cultures; yet approaches to understanding this significance are as diverse as the musics of the world. Students in DRBU’s Music strand draw such approaches from the world’s classics traditions and integrate them with an embodied engagement in each musical tradition in order to explore and develop their musicality.

Students begin this exploration of musicality through direct engagement with primary sources, reading and listening in order to broaden their musical horizons. As students gain familiarity with the symbols, language, and style of each work, they will also practice exercises drawn from each musical tradition. This combined engagement in practice and analysis is simultaneously deeply intellectual and emotional, revealing over time not only the interconnected relationships between one’s own feelings and ideas, but also opening up new understandings of others’ perspectives and experiences.

The yearly curriculum is organized around musical skills grouped into topics that develop and unfold as various musical approaches are applied to them. This exposes students to musical styles from across cultures and centuries through a pedagogical focus around specific musical skills. Students develop skills to listen, understand, and communicate in yet another “language” while also gaining an appreciation of the diversity of expression possible in musical languages.

The curriculum is organized around musical skills grouped into topics that develop and unfold as various musical approaches are applied to them. This exposes students to musical styles from across cultures and centuries through a pedagogical focus around specific musical skills. Students develop skills to listen, understand, and communicate in yet another “language” while also gaining an appreciation of the diversity of expression possible in musical languages.

Junior Year (LIBA 381)

The first course of the Music strand begins with the topic of common musical elements. We will examine correspondences between music and musical instruments, relationships with poetry and ritual, and perspectives on rhythm and pitch. Examples include uses in religious ritual, the human voice and other musical instruments, rhythmic patterns, repetition, intonation, and systems of musical notation. Tuning systems will be discussed from the perspectives of a number of musical traditions and their corresponding instruments. Students will develop basic musical skills in listening and performing, both through practice and through textual explorations of the significance of these skills in different traditions.

Senior Year (LIBA 481)

This second course will expand on the topics of melody and musical context to include such ideas as texture, musical form, and the organization of large-scale musical works. Examples include storytelling, repetition and variation, and functional harmony. Students will continue to develop basic musical skills with greater depth as they both broaden and deepen their musicality, allowing them to reflect on their own development in these skills. They will also begin to understand more deeply the significance of melodic voice and texture in various styles of music, which will enable students to apply critical thinking to each work, its context, and its potential significance.

Selection of composers and works explored in the Music strand:

Books:
  • Bharatamuni, Treatise on Performing Arts
  • Confucius, The Classic of Rites
  • Nicomachus, Manual of Harmonics
  • Rameau, Treatise on Harmony
 
Music:
  • Vedas
  • The Koran
  • Gregorian Mass
  • Metta Sutta
  • Lotus Sūtra
  • Traditional, The Great Ambush
  • Varimezovo, Makedonsko Horo
  • Traditional, Sala Kpa Kpa
  • Brubeck, Three to Get Ready and Four to Go
  • Shankar, An Introduction to Indian Music
  • Traditional, Gending Bortang Babar Layar
  • Josquin, Pange Lingua Mass
  • Traditional, Dikobo Damu Da Sombe
  • Bach, Fugue in C-Sharp Minor
  • Monteverdi, Orpheo
  • Mozart, The Magic Flute
  • Beethoven, Symphony No. 9 in D Minor
  • Smetana, Ma Vlast
  • Traditional, Jin Yuan Seeks Her Son