Institute for Popular Music

Undergraduate

Courses

Though the Institute for Popular Music does not confer degrees, many of the classes it crosslists can be taken to fulfill the requirements of the bachelor of arts with a concentration in music, especially but not limited to the pop music/jazz track, offered through the Department of Music, as well as to fulfill elective credits throughout the College and Eastman School.

Classes listed below can also be taken to help fulfill requirements for clusters such as Popular Music, Music and Society, the Listener's Experience, and Music, Culture and Understanding.

Courses currently being offered:

Fall
Spring
Summer

Check the course schedules/descriptions available via the Registrar's Office for the official schedules for the widest range of terms for which such information is available.

All Courses

Below you will find a list of all undergraduate courses that have been offered.

NOTE: Not all of these courses are offered in any given year.

MUR 122 HISTORY OF JAZZ

This study of Jazz, as an American musical art form. Less a strictly chronological approach, focusing on jazz titans, by their seminal and permanent influences, such as Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker. Blues, ragtime, swing, bebop, cool, progressive, and free jazz are terms that will help define that landscape.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites.
Last Offered: Fall 2012

MUR 122B HISTORY OF JAZZ II

This course will focus on Jazz music and musicians in the latter half of the 20th century (ca. 1955-2000). We will investigate the relationship of Jazz to the following topics: new musical styles, other art forms, changes in American society, technological developments, and the evolution of recording, broadcast, and news media. In doing so, we will consider not only musicians who first emerged as leaders during this period (Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, John Scofield), but also those whose careers began earlier (Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Gil Evans) and continued into the 1950s and beyond. We will also examine how repertoire from previous historical periods came to be viewed by subsequent generations. The instructional format includes lectures and discussion along with in-class viewings/listenings of recorded performances. This course is designed for students with little to no musical training.

Last Offered: Spring 2016

MUR 123 MUSIC OF BLACK AMERICANS

Study of Black American Christian musical beginnings, including forms of worship, early musical practices, the Spiritual, evolution of Gospel. An examination of ante-bellum musical activities follows including secular song types, character of the folk music with respect to poetic and musical form, language and themes. Attention will be given to significant literary and aesthetic developments, especially during the Harlem Renaissance and the poetry of several writers of that era will be surveyed. The course will treat Blues, its origins evolution through the 1940s. Surveys of classical music forms from the 18th to mid-20th century; music of the theater from minstrelsy to Broadway; precursors of jazz, the syncopated dance orchestra and brass bands; early jazz to bebop round out the course offerings.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

MUR 124 SIGNED SEALED & DELIVERED: Deals & Innovations that Changed the Music Industry Forever

A look at the historical deals and innovations that have impacted the music business between 1877 to present. From ground breaking inventions to brilliant marketing initiatives to hushed back-room deals, this course will expose the key moments where the record industry changed forever, both for good and bad. ** NOTE: This is a 6 week course**

Last Offered: Fall 2016

MUR 125 HISTORY OF ROCK

This course explores the history of rock music, emphasizing primarily the period between 1955-1990. Discussion and reading focusing on identifying a variety of rock-music styles within the historical context of the development, transformation, and interaction of pop styles. Issues of technological development, social, political, and cultural context, race and gender, and music-business practices will also be considered. No prerequisites for this course.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of technical musical terms and an ability to read music are NOT required for this course.
Last Offered: Summer 2016

MUR 127 THE BLUES

The origins of the Blues in the context of African-American culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it's rapid rise to becoming the dominant popular music in the African- American community, and the discovery of blues by white audiences.

Last Offered: Spring 2016

MUR 129 THE ROLLING STONES and BRITISH BLUES-ROCK

The music of the Rolling Stones is examined, starting with the earliest music from 1962 and extending to the early 1970s. Emphasis will be on the band's stylistic development, as well as on the British blues movement of the early to mid 1960s. The music of other blues-based British groups, including Blues Incorporated, the Yardbirds, the Animals, the Bluesbreakers, Cream, and Led Zeppelin, will also be considered. No previous training or ability to read music is required.

Last Offered: Fall 2014

MUR 130 THE BEATLES, BRITISH INVASION, PSYCHEDELIA

The history of the Beatles career and music is explored in the context of the band’s stylistic development, as well as against the backdrop of social, cultural, technical, and music-business events and issues of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. No background in music theory or ability to play a musical instrument is required.

Last Offered: Spring 2014

MUR 131 ROCK MUSIC IN THE 1970'S

This course surveys rock music in the 1970s, paying special attention to ways in which 70s styles developed out of 60s styles. Artists considered will include Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Yes, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Allman Brothers, The Eagles, Black Sabbath, The Cars, Tom Petty, The Sex Pistols and Elvis Costello, plus many more. No prerequisites.

Prerequisites: NONE

MUR 132 STARMAKERS: INSIDE THE PUBLICITY MACHINE

Will include a historical overview of music stars and the publicity campaigns used to promote their careers. From Frank Sinatra-1940s; through Elvis Presley;-1950s; through The Beatles & The Rolling Stones in the 1960s, up through self-indulgent 70s with acts like Elton John, Kiss, and Prince, up to today's high profile campaigns for Justin Bieber, Rhianna and Lady Gaga. Students will be versed in the art of writing an artist bio, press releases, and in the various types of PR events staged to gain publicity, Starmakers will also look at the various types of publicity such as career launching; crisis management(scandals; sudden death of celebrity)and tour press. We will also look at how social media has become a game changer for music publicity.

Last Offered: Spring 2016

MUR 133 MUSICAL THEATER WORKSHOP

Intensive practical experience with scene-and-song work in the repertory of popular musical theater genres. Weekly rehearsals and critique sessions, with emphasis on characterization, technical skills, sub-textual dimensions, and stylistic considerations. Some reading assignments, but emphasis is on performance preparation. Initial and concluding videotaping of "audition piece." Prerequisite: One year of voice instruction; permission of instructor (by audition).

Prerequisites: One year of voice instruction; permission of instructor (by audition).
Last Offered: Spring 2016

MUR 135A AMERICAN MUSICAL THEATER

A historical and critical survey of the Broadway musical, with a focus on its so-called Golden Age (from Oklahoma! to Cabaret). Weekly listening, reading, and video assignments with analysis of dramaturgy, lyric and musical forms, process of adaptation and production, modes of performance. Offered alternate years.

Prerequisites: Ability to read music or strong background/interest in musical theater. (alternate years)
Last Offered: Spring 2012

MUR 135B SONDHEIM AND THE MODERN MUSICAL THEATER

A historical and critical survey of the American musical theater from roughly 1960 to the present, as reflected principally in the works of composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim and/or producer/director Harold Prince. Analysis of lyrics, musical forms and idioms, process of adaptation and production, modes of performance. Although prior completion of MUR 135A is recommended, students with a strong background in musical theater will be admitted as well. (Fall, alternate years)

Last Offered: Fall 2013

MUR 140 RELIGION & HIP HOP CULTURE

This course considers an often overlooked element in the study of hip hop culture, religion. Specifically, the course offers students the opportunity to examine the variety of ways that religion finds expression in the dynamic cultural medium of hip hop. Class format includes lectures, discussions, films, and video/music presentations.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

MUR 141 INTRO TO AUDIO MUSIC & ENGIN

Last Offered: Fall 2016

MUR 145 HIGH VOLTAGE: HEAVY METAL MUSIC AND ITS HISTORY

Behind the screaming guitars, thundering pulse, and soaring vocals of heavy metal music lies an impressive history of censorship, rebellion, and redemption. Emphasis on musical structure and the fascinating social/cultural history of hard rock and metal. Over 40 years of hard rock and metal trends will be discussed— Sabbath to Stryper to Slipknot—and several guest musicians and lecturers will complement the course materials with performances and anecdotes.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

MUR 157 JAZZ ENSEMBLE

The Jazz Ensemble is open by audition to all U of R community, and performing a wide variety of music. Occasional guests artists and clinicians. (Fall and Spring) (1 credit)

Last Offered: Fall 2016

MUR 157A JAZZ COMBO

Small group playing of selections from the jazz repertoire, with an emphasis on improvisation. Admission is by permission of instructor only. (1 credit)

Last Offered: Fall 2016

MUR 158 GOSPEL CHOIR

One rehearsal per week. Two concerts per semester. In addition, there may be off-campus performances in local colleges, churches, and other venues in the greater-Rochester community. The Gospel Choir performs a varied repertoire of sacred music -- spirituals, hymns, traditional and contemporary Gospel, music of the praise-and-worship genre. (Fall and Spring) (1 credit)

Last Offered: Fall 2016

MUR 180 ROCK REPERTORY ENSEMBLE

The Rock Repertory Ensemble is devoted to performing accurate versions of songs from the rock music repertory, with selections ranging from the early 1950s to the present day. Open to guitarists, bassists, drummers, keyboard players, and singers, with consideration given to winds players depending on repertory for a given semester. Audition required.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

MUR 191 ART AND TECH OF RECORDING

This course covers the acoustical and psychoacoustic fundamentals of audio recording including the nature of sound, sound pressure level, frequency and pitch, hearing and sound perception, reflection, absorption and diffusion of sound, sound diffraction, room acoustics, reverberation, and studio design principles. The course also provides practical experience in audio recording including an introduction to recording studio equipment, microphones and microphone placement techniques, signal flow, amplification, analog and digital recording, analog to digital conversion, digital processing of sound, multi-track recording and an introduction to mixing and mastering. Each student is required to complete a substantive recording project at the end of the course. (AME 191)

Last Offered: Fall 2016

MUR 192 LISTENING AND AUDIO PROD

This course is a continuation of AME191. Emphasis is on the development of critical listening skills and proficiency in audio mixing and mastering. Fundamental topics covered include the human auditory system, theories of hearing and audio perception, perception of loudness and pitch, critical bands and auditory masking, beats and roughness, temporal and pitch acuity, binaural hearing. Listening skills development include hearing “width” and “depth” in audio, mixing techniques in various musical genres, recognition of various effects including reverb, delay, compression, phasing and distortion. Production skills development includes equalization and achieving spectral balance, the use of compression and dynamic range control, achieving depth and dimension in recordings, panning and auditory scene control.

Prerequisites: AME 191
Last Offered: Fall 2016

MUR 193 SOUND DESIGN

The course is intended to provide students a basic understanding of sound design, audio recording, and working with sound for picture. The emphasis is on demonstrations and hands-on experience to enable students to gain a practical knowledge of sound and music production using computers. Fundamental topics include synthesizers & samplers; recording and editing with Pro Tools; sound effect creation; field recording; foley & ADR; basic soundtrack composition; and working to picture. Many techniques are explored using hardware, software, and state of the art workstations throughout the course. Students will complete a major sound for picture project at the conclusion of the course. (AME 193)

Last Offered: Fall 2016

MUR 201 BASIC JAZZ THEORY & IMPROVISATION I

Rudiments of jazz, including chord and scale spellings, chord scale relationships, jazz/pop chord symbol nomenclature, basic forms, chord substitutions, piano voicing; strong emphasis on ear training and vocalization and transcription from records of jazz solos.

Prerequisites: MUR 111 or permission of the Instructor
Last Offered: Fall 2016

MUR 202 JAZZ THEORY & IMPROVISATION II

Continuation of MUR 201.

Prerequisites: MUR 201 or permission of the instructor.
Last Offered: Spring 2016

MUR 214B TOPICS IN MUSIC THEORY: ANALYSIS OF POPULAR MUSIC

Many people love pop music for its simplicity, but this course will reveal that pop music can often be surprisingly complex in the ways it projects structure and creates musical relationships. Many dimensions of pop music will be analyzed, including harmony, melody, rhythm and meter, texture, form, recording technique, and text-music relationships. Prerequisites: MUR 112.

Prerequisites: MUR 112 (TH 202).
Last Offered: Fall 2016

MUR 233 ADVANCED MUSICAL THEATER WORKSHOP

Continuation of MUR 133.

Prerequisites: MUR 133 and permission of the instructor.
Last Offered: Spring 2016

MUR 234 MUSIC ANALYSIS: THE BEATLES

This course is designed for upper-level undergraduate music majors and graduate students in music. We will analyze the music of the Beatles in detail, focusing on issues of form, harmony, textural coordination/stratification, lyrics, instrumentation, rhythm/meter, and production.

Prerequisites: MUR 211, TH 201, or the equivalent.
Last Offered: Spring 2012

MUR 235 PROGRESSIVE ROCK IN THE 1970S

Seminar course designed for graduate/advanced undergraduate music students having a strong background in music history and analysis. Closely examining music of 1970s progressive rock bands, with emphasis on Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Gentle Giant. Students will transcribe passages, closely analyze, and consider music in terms of issues of form, texture, harmony, melody, instrumentation, as well in relation to a variety of music-historical and aesthetic contexts.

Prerequisites: By permission of instructor only.
Last Offered: Fall 2011

MUR 434 MUSIC ANALYSIS: THE BEATLES

This course is designed for upper-level undergraduate music majors and graduate students in music. We will analyze the music of the Beatles in detail, focusing on issues of form, harmony, textural coordination/stratification, lyrics, instrumentation, rhythm/meter, and production.

Prerequisites: MUR 211, TH 201, or the equivalent.
Last Offered: Spring 2012

MUR 435 PROGRESSIVE ROCK IN THE 70S

Seminar course designed for graduate/advanced undergraduate music students having a strong background in music history and analysis. Closely examining music of 1970s progressive rock bands, with emphasis on Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Gentle Giant. Students will transcribe passages, closely analyze, and consider music in terms of issues of form, texture, harmony, melody, instrumentation, as well in relation to a variety of music-historical and aesthetic contexts.

Prerequisites: By permission of instructor only
Last Offered: Fall 2011