Music

The Hamilton College Music Department is devoted to offering an enriching and invigorating musical education that challenges and engages students in ways they may not realize are vital to a liberal arts education while addressing a broad spectrum of student interests in musical performance, composition, theory, and history, taking into account a wide variety of social and cultural contexts. Whether through individual study or collaborative work, our department’s curriculum offers students many ways to address all of the College’s educational goals: intellectual curiosity and flexibility; analytic discernment; aesthetic discernment; disciplinary practice; creativity; communication and expression; understanding of cultural diversity; and ethical, informed, and engaged citizenship. The Department''s aim is to ensure that each student has access to a music education of the highest quality.

As part of a liberal arts education, the study of music at Hamilton incorporates the examination of theoretical concepts and historical contexts of various styles of music with opportunities for performance, both on-campus and off. The curriculum includes a wide range of courses in music theory and history; solo and ensemble performance; world music; jazz history, improvisation, and arranging; composition; conducting; contemporary music technology; gender in music, music and film, and popular music.

Courses that provide a good introduction to the college-level study of music include:

MUS 100 - The Art of Active Listening
MUS 104 - Masterpieces of Western Music
MUSIC 106 - Music and Resistance
MUS 108 - From Words to Song
MUS 110 - Music Theory for Non-Majors
MUS 117 - Roots Music to Country Music
MUS 160 - History of Jazz
MUS 210 - Theories of Music: Fundamentals and Chromatic Harmony

PERFORMING OPPORTUNITIES
Hamilton has several performing ensembles as well as a program for private study in a variety of instruments and voice. If you have participated in a music ensemble in high school and/or if you intend to study an instrument or voice at Hamilton please complete the Music Activities Questionnaire.

Hamilton College Choir - Jace Saplan, director
The Hamilton College Choir continues a long tradition of choral excellence that dates back to the founding of this ensemble in 1867. Its annual spring concert tour has in recent years ranged as far west as Chicago and Milwaukee, as far north as Montreal, and as far south as Atlanta. The Choir has also toured in Europe eight times, most recently to Italy in 2017. This ensemble consists of approximately 60 singers. Open to all students by audition during Orientation. Full-year participation is required.

Hamilton College Orchestra - Heather Buchman, director
The Hamilton College Orchestra, made up of 50 to 60 Hamilton College students and community members, performs in Wellin Hall four times a year. The HCO has recently performed works of Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Dvorák, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Stravinsky, Charles Ives, and Philip Glass, and regularly commissions and premieres new works for orchestra. HCO presents its interdisciplinary Brainstorm program each spring. Advanced student performers may be offered the opportunity to perform as concerto soloists with the orchestra. Open to all students by audition at the beginning of both Fall and Spring terms.

Hamilton College Jazz Ensemble, Michael E. (Doc) Woods, director
The Hamilton Jazz Ensemble is a full big band with 5 saxes, 4 trombones, 4 trumpets, and 4 rhythm section players. The music covers style periods from the mid 1930s to the present. A 7-piece combo, comprised of members from the Jazz Ensemble, performs as well. Auditions are held at 4 pm on Tuesday of the first week of classes each fall.

College Hill Singers - Jace Saplan, director
The College Hill Singers is a chamber vocal ensemble drawn from the College Choir. Its repertoire ranges from Renaissance madrigals to Brahms part-songs to contemporary works.

Chamber Music Program - Heather Buchman, director
Chamber Ensembles are an extension of the orchestral program, providing additional opportunities for members of the Orchestra to study and perform, as well as giving ensemble experience and training to less advanced students who are not yet ready for the Orchestra. Regular chamber ensembles include the Brass Ensemble, Flute Ensemble, Saxophone Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and String Quartet; other woodwind groups are formed based on student interest. In addition to formal concerts and more informal appearances on campus, the Chamber Ensembles perform frequently at churches and other off-campus venues. Auditions for the chamber ensembles are held concurrently with Orchestra auditions during Orientation each term.

Hamilton College and Community Masterworks Chorale - G. Roberts Kolb, director
The Hamilton College and Community Masterworks Chorale, which numbers approximately 100 singers, brings together Hamilton students, faculty, staff and their families with members of the surrounding community to sing choral masterworks, accompanied by some of the finest orchestral musicians and vocal soloists in the area. The Masterworks Chorale, which is open to all members of the community, performs at the end of each semester. Audition is not required, but is encouraged for purposes of voice placement. Single-semester participation is permitted.

A CONCENTRATION IN MUSIC
Students considering a concentration in music are strongly advised to complete the following courses during their first two years. This is especially important for students who anticipate a double-concentration or who are considering spending the junior year in an off-campus program.
MUS 100 - The Art of Active Listening
MUS 201 - Music in Europe Until 1800
MUS 202 - Music in Europe and America Since 1800
MUS 210 - Theories of Music: Fundamentals and Chromatic Harmony
MUS 310 - Theories of Music: Counterpoint and Musical Forms
Potential concentrators should also strive to complete proficiencies in aural and keyboard skills within the first two years. This may be done through coursework (180-280 and 181-281) or independently. While only one credit in performance is required, students are also expected to participate in department ensembles in each semester.

[100F,S] The Art of Active Listening.
A study of how to listen to music and get the most out of it. Consideration of approaches to listening to Western art music, film music, jazz, popular music, and selected gamelan and African musics. Focus on strategies of active listening and learning a vocabulary for discussing musical perceptions in various kinds of music. Does not include study of musical notation. Open to seniors.

Courses in Literature and History of Music

104S Masterpieces of Western Music.
A listening course based on the study of selected masterpieces of Western music in their historical context. Emphasis on listening skills and the evaluation of cultural and musical meanings. Includes instrumental and vocal works by Monteverdi, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi and Stravinsky. No ability to read music is assumed or required. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 16. Hopkins.

108F From Words to Song.
An exploration of the relationship between words and music — of the many and different ways in which the meanings and emotions of the words have (and have not) been expressed through music in the last millennium. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) No previous knowledge of music required. Open to first-year students only. Maximum enrollment, 16. G Kolb.

117S Roots Music to Country Music: The Making of an American Sound.
Study of country music from its roots in cowboy songs, fiddle tunes, blues, bluegrass, and gospel hymns to current artists like The Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift, and Brad Paisley. Artists include the Carter Family, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Lynyrd Skynyrd, & Garth Brooks. Study of the musical elements, social class, gender roles, and cultural contexts of styles such as Western Swing, Honky-Tonk, Rockabilly, the Nashville Sound, Southern Rock, and Alt-country. Includes films such as Coal Miner’s Daughter, Nashville, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Same as American Studies 117.) Hamessley.

160/260F History of Jazz to the 1950s.
A study of jazz from its origins (its African heritage, blues and ragtime) to 1950. A survey of jazz styles, including New Orleans and Chicago styles, boogie-woogie, swing, bebop and cool jazz. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Open to seniors with consent of instructor. (Same as Africana Studies 160.) Woods.

201F Music in Europe Until 1800.
A study and analysis of major stylistic developments in Western music to from 800 to 1800, including the rise of notation and polyphony, the relationship between music and text, and the rise of opera and the symphony. Composers studied include Palestrina, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and early Beethoven. Consideration of the influence of political, economic, technological, and cultural environments upon musical styles. Prerequisite, Music 100. Hamessley.

202S Music in Europe and America Since 1800.
A study and analysis of major stylistic developments in Western music since 1800, including the rise of program music and nationalism, the dissolution of tonality, and the proliferation of styles in the last two centuries. Composers studied include Schubert, Wagner, Brahms, Debussy, Stravinsky, Bartók, Varèse, and Adams. Consideration of the influence of political, economic, technological, and cultural environments upon musical styles. Prerequisite, Music 100, 109, 210, or 211. Hopkins.

206S Music and Resistance.
Exploration of the ways that music is used as a framework for resistance and liberation in the U.S. The course draws on case studies of the Indigenous struggles of Native Americans and Native Hawaiians, the contemporary anti-prison movement, Black and Latino Power movements, the resistance of Japanese internment camps, LGBTQIA activism, and the women’s rights movement. Materials include readings, guest lectures, discussions, music-making, and guest performances with visiting scholars, artists, and activists. No musical background is required. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (Same as American Studies 206.) Saplan.

245/345S Music in American Film.
An examination of music in American film from silent films to the present with an emphasis on the golden age of Hollywood. Topics include the development of musical conventions in film, different approaches of film composers (Steiner, Tiomkin, Rózsa, Herrmann, Newman, Bernstein, Williams), and the meanings that music brings to the films' narratives. Includes films such as Casablanca, Citizen Kane, To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, A Streetcar Named Desire, West Side Story, Bonnie and Clyde, American Graffiti, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Hours. Special attention to films of Hitchcock Prerequisite, two courses, in any combination, in music, film, or literature. Three hours per week for film viewings in addition to class time. Music 345 has an additional independent project. Registration at the 300-level only with instructor's permission. (Same as American Studies 245/345.) Hamessley.

254F Studies in World Music.
Examination of selected non-Western music cultures with primary emphasis on West African drumming and Javanese gamelan traditions. Focus on musical procedures as well as cultural uses of the music and corollary arts. Includes hands-on performance in the traditions studied. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (Proseminar.) Prerequisite, One course in music or consent of instructor. Offered every other year. Maximum enrollment, 16. Hamessley.

255S The Piano in the Classical Era.
An examination of the development of the piano and of music for the piano as it matured in the second half of the eighteenth century and the early years of the nineteenth. Consideration of technological innovations and how these affected the music that could be written for the piano. Exploration of the social contexts in which this music was created and performed. Team analysis of individual works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. Field trips to instrument collections and off-campus events. Prerequisite, 201, 202, 210, 211, 225, or 226 (or consent of instructor). (Offered in alternate years.) S Pellman.

[258/358S] Opera.
Study of literary and musical dimensions of operas by major composers from Monteverdi and Mozart to the present. Emphasis on the transformation of independent texts into librettos and the effects of music as it reflects language and dramatic action. Includes such works as Orfeo, The Marriage of Figaro, Otello, The Turn of the Screw and Candide. Prerequisite, two courses in music or two in literature, or one in each field, or consent of instructors. Music 358 has an additional independent project. Registration at the 300-level only with instructor's permission. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 258/358.) Maximum enrollment, 24.

[259S] History of Jazz Since the 1950s.
A study of the life, times and music of selected jazz musicians from 1950 to the present. Emphasis on the range of jazz styles from that era including funky, fusion and free jazz. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Offered in alternate years. (Same as Africana Studies 259.)

262/362S African-American Popular Music.
A study of the music of selected popular African-American artists, including rhythm-and-blues artists, black gospel soloists and performers of soul music and rap music. Focus on the social issues, musical modes of expression and cultural importance of the artists. Prerequisite, one full-credit course in music. Music 362 has an additional independent project. Registration at the 300-level only with instructor’s permission. Offered in alternate years. (Same as Africana Studies 262/362.) Woods.

[264] Music, Gender, and Sexuality.
Investigation of the intersection of gender, sexuality, and music through the perspectives of feminist and queer studies, ethnomusicology, and performance. Explores how music and performance can be used to understand and critique gender and sexuality. Genres surveyed include hip-hop from the 1970s, pop anthems of the queer community, women composers' music from antiquity to present day, reggae, disco, opera, Bollywood, and J-pop. No musical background is required. Prerequisite, One course in music, literature, or history. Will be offered in alternate years starting in 2018-19.

[420S] Seminar in American Studies: American Folk Revivals.
Study of the folk revivals that marked 20th-century U.S. cultural life. Topics include African and Native-American origins, 19th-century minstrels, Stephen Foster, the Appalachian ballad collections of Cecil Sharp, the legacy of the Lomax and Seeger families, bluegrass and hillbilly music, Woody Guthrie and union songs, the freedom songs of the Civil Rights Movement, the Washington Square scene in Greenwich Village, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Grounded in the study of music and its circulation, examines the impact of these revivals on dance, film, literature and politics. Prerequisite, two courses in literature, history or music (in any combination), or consent of instructor. (Same as American Studies 420.) Maximum enrollment, 12.

Courses in Performance

125F,S Applied Music.
The study of music through lessons in voice, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, piano, organ, harp, percussion, acoustic guitar, jazz guitar, violin, viola, 'cello and contrabass. Half-hour tutorial for one-quarter credit. Based on evaluation of Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. Prerequisite, consent of instructor. Students may repeat courses for credit in Applied Music. Student are encouraged to advance to Solo Performance for further study when they are ready, with consent of the instructor. The Department.

126F,S Applied Music.
The study of music through lessons in voice, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, piano, organ, harp, percussion, acoustic guitar, jazz guitar, violin, viola, 'cello and contrabass. Hour tutorial for one-half credit. Based on evaluation of Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. Prerequisite, consent of instructor. Students may repeat courses for credit in Applied Music. Student are encouraged to advance to Solo Performance for further study when they are ready, with consent of the instructor. The Department.

141/142F,S Group Performance.
The study of music through performance in one or more of the following: Orchestra, Brass Lab, Woodwind Lab, College Choir, Masterworks Chorale, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Improvisation, Percussion Ensemble, and Piano Ensemble. Prerequisite, consent of instructor. (Masterworks Chorale is graded S/U and is open to seniors by audition only. Jazz Improvisation is graded S/U.). One-quarter course credit each semester.. May be repeated. Students may count up to four credits from among 141, 142, 241 and 242 toward graduation. Maximum enrollment, Other. The Department.

225F,S Solo Performance.
The study of music through lessons and performance in voice, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, piano, organ, harp, percussion, acoustic guitar, jazz guitar, violin, viola, 'cello and contrabass. Half-hour tutorial for one-half credit. Students must participate in at least one public performance per semester as specified in the Music Department Handbook. Prerequisite, consent of instructor. Successful completion of Music 110 or 210 or the music theory placement exam must occur within three semesters of Solo Performance study. May be repeated for credit. A fee is charged. The Department.

226F,S Solo Performance.
The study of music through lessons and performance in voice, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, piano, organ, harp, percussion, acoustic guitar, jazz guitar, violin, viola, 'cello and contrabass. Hour tutorial for one-half credit. Students must participate in at least one public performance per semester as specified in the Music Department Handbook. Prerequisite, consent of instructor. Successful completion of Music 110 or 210 or the music theory placement exam must occur within three semesters of Solo Performance study. May be repeated for credit. A fee is charged. The Department.

241/242F,S Advanced Group Performance.
The study of music through chamber performance in one or more of the following: Instrumental Chamber Ensembles (Buchman), College Hill Singers (G. Kolb), Jazz Combo (Woods). Co-requisite, concurrent registration in the corresponding Group Performance ensemble required; i.e., Orchestra, College Choir or Jazz Ensemble respectively, and consent of instructor. One-quarter course credit each semester. May be repeated. Students may count up to four credits from among 141, 142, 241 and 242 toward graduation. The Department.

316S Conducting.
The elements of conducting, including baton technique, aural perception, rehearsal techniques and score study (both instrumental and choral). Prerequisite, any 200-level full-credit music course. Concurrent participation in a conducted college ensemble required (Choir, Masterworks Chorale, Orchestra). Buchman and Saplan.

326F,S Advanced Solo Performance.
The study of music through lessons and performance in voice, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, piano, organ, harp, percussion, acoustic guitar, jazz guitar, violin, viola, 'cello and contrabass. Hour tutorial for one-half credit required for and open only to students who are preparing half or full recitals approved by the Music Department. Prerequisite, successful completion of at least two semesters of Solo Performance, 110 or 210, and consent of instructor. Students may only enroll in Advanced Solo Performance upon completion of or co-registration in 110, 210, or 211. May be repeated for credit. A fee is charged. The Department.

Courses in Theory and Composition

110F Music Theory for Non-Majors.
An introductory survey of the most important aspects of music theory necessary for an intelligent performance, from reading notes and chord progressions to interpreting music. No previous knowledge of music required. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) .

[175F] The Physics of Musical Sound.
An exploration of the physics that underlies the production of musical sounds. Covers issues ranging from the nature of musical sound, units, some physical principles, theory of wave propagation and mode formation, physical mechanisms of how instrument families work and their implications for musical use of those families, acoustics of halls, digital simulations of musical instruments and performance spaces. Algebra will be used. Four hours of class/laboratory per week. May count toward a concentration in physics. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) (Same as Physics 175.)

180F Basic Aural Skills.
Introduction to aural understanding through sight-singing, dictation and the rudiments of music notation. Diatonic major scales and keys, diatonic intervals, diatonic melodies, tonic and dominant arpeggiation, an introduction to minor scales and keys, cadences, rhythms in simple and compound meters. One-quarter course credit. May be repeated for credit with consent of instructor. Prerequisite, ability to read music in one clef. Hamessley.

181F,S Basic Keyboard Skills.
Introduction to keyboard skills including note identification, intervals, major and minor scales, triad identification, 7th chords, simple chord progressions and basic sight-reading. One-quarter course credit. May be repeated for credit with consent of instructor. Prerequisite, concurrent or previous registration in 210 or consent of instructor. Not open to seniors. Best.

210F Theories of Music: Fundamentals and Chromatic Harmony.
Intensive training in the elements of music, with an emphasis on the study of melody, intervals, chords, rhythm and meter, and basic musical forms. Special attention devoted to harmonic progressions and chromatic harmony. Regular written assignments, including computer assignments aimed to develop musicianship skills. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, the ability to read music in both treble and bass clefs, and basic knowledge of (1) key and meter signatures, (2) major and minor scales, and (3) simple rhythms. Not open to students who have taken Music 109. Hopkins.

211F Theories of Music: Chromatic Harmony.
(Same as second half of MUS 210.) Regular written assignments, including computer assignments aimed to develop musicianship skills. One-half course credit. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Not open to students who have taken Music 210. Hopkins.

213S Jazz Arranging.
The theoretical designs used in combo, big band and third-stream writing. Coverage of jazz scales, chords, voicings, ranges and tonal properties. Students are expected to compose and copy the parts to three compositions, one of which will be read and recorded. Prerequisite, 210 or 211. Woods.

277F Music for Contemporary Media.
Experience with the aesthetics and techniques of the modern recording studio, including the uses of sound synthesizers, digital samplers and MIDI. Creative projects using these techniques. Prerequisite, ability to read music in at least one clef. Three hours of class and three hours of studio. Maximum enrollment, 14. Department.

280S Intermediate Aural Skills.
A continuation of 180. Development of aural understanding through sight-singing and dictation. Tonic and dominant arpeggiation in inversion, diatonic melodies with simple modulation, further work in minor keys, introduction to alto and tenor clefs, chromatic intervals, harmonic progressions, rhythms in mixed meters, modal scales. May be repeated for credit with the consent of instructor. One-half course credit. Prerequisite, 180 and consent of instructor. Hamessley.

281F,S Intermediate Keyboard Skills.
A continuation of 181. Four-part chord progression reading, alto and tenor clef, melodic transposition, introduction to figured harmony, chord progressions, intermediate sight-reading. One-half course credit. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite, 181 and consent of instructor. Best.

310S Theories of Music: Counterpoint and Musical Forms.
A study of counterpoint and of analytical techniques applied to common musical forms from many traditions, emphasizing Western classical music but also including popular, jazz, and other world music. Prerequisite, 210, or 109 with permission of instructor. Hopkins.

368S Seminar in Musical Composition.
Contemporary techniques of musical composition, including notational practices and score preparation. Emphasis on developing the ability to structure musical ideas in a series of short pieces in a variety of media, culminating in the presentation of selected works in a studio recital. Prerequisite, Music 110, 210, 211, or consent of instructor. (Offered in alternate years.) Maximum enrollment, 12. R Carter.

369F,S Advanced Musical Composition.
A continuation of 368. Students work on individual projects involving more extended musical forms. One-quarter course credit. May be repeated for credit with consent of instructor. Prerequisite, 368, or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 6. R Carter.

[377S] Digital Arts Workshop.
Emphasis on collaborative work among computer musicians and videographers in the creation of visual/sound works. Projects will include fixed media works, installations, and/or performance art pieces. Prerequisite, Art 211, Art 213, or Music 277. (Same as Art 377 .) Maximum enrollment, 16.

380F,S Advanced Aural Skills.
A continuation of 280. Development of aural understanding through sight-singing and dictation. More extensive modulation of melodies and harmonic progressions, aural analysis of small binary forms, further work in alto and tenor clefs. One-half course credit. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite, 280 and consent of instructor. Instructor’s signature required. Hamessley.

381F,S Advanced Keyboard Skills.
A continuation of 281. May include continued work in alto and tenor clef, reading open scores, more advanced figured harmony and advanced sight-reading. One-half course credit. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite, 281 and consent of instructor. Best.

Third-year Seminars and the Senior Project

452S Senior Project.
Supervised work on a specific topic chosen from among those offered by members of the department. Prerequisite, Consent of department. Open to seniors only. The Department.

550F Honors Senior Project I.
Supervised work on a specific project based on proposal submitted to the department by the end of the student’s junior year. Prerequisite, Consent of department. One-half credit. Open to seniors only. The Department.

551S Honors Senior Project II.
Completion of senior honors project. Prerequisite, Music 550 and consent of department. One-half credit. The Department.