Listening to Music
Most of the music we encounter can be thought of as the organization of a very limited set of tones into distinct patterns of repetition, and it has been this way for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. And yet, music has come to mean infinitely more than its sonic surface: we study great works of music like we do great works of literature and art; we use our musical preferences to convey our social and political identities; we expect - and technology has enabled - our public and private spaces to be saturated in music; and certain musical works possess such power that they are sometimes altered, if not banned outright. But how has music acquired all of these meanings? How does it communicate? What is it that we are listening to when we are listening to music? In addition to serving as an introduction to the academic study of music, this course aims to deepen our musical appreciation and understanding by critically examining listening habits of the past and present. Knowledge of Western music notation and harmony is helpful but not required; the basics will be reviewed as needed.
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