Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Music Portal

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A Brief Intro to Opera

This is a brief introduction to a centuries-old art that has been throughout history vulgar and epic, scandalous and high-brow, cultured and plebeian. Experience the funniest and most ridiculous stories you’ve ever heard, or wallow in the blood and horror of the dark and dramatic. Spend an hour enjoying light entertainment, or have your view of the world changed forever by the deepest human sympathies. If you’ve always wondered about opera, or wanted to try and like it, if you still remember Bugs Bunny in a Valkyrie dress and want to see the source material, come encounter opera in its many forms and journey through this whirlwind of music, lights, glamor, and extravagance.
Precepted by Sarah Monnier

African Musicology for Beginners

There are a lot of misconceptions and misrepresentations about African music. This module analyzes the complex linkages between the art of African music and its connections with culture, heritage, politics, and the environment. In this module you will learn about the different rhythms, multiple instruments used, their meaning, and the impact they have on social relations, identity, and politics. The course also touches on the use of song in folktales, meaning, and impact.
Precepted by Ishmael Bhila

Bach’s Goldberg Variations

The Goldberg Variations is a keyboard work by J. S. Bach considered by many to be one of the greatest musical compositions of all time. In this module, we will listen, analyze and discuss our way through the piece. We will begin with the background to the composition, and study the initial aria and the ground bass that underlies the entire piece. We will then work our way through each of the thirty variations, listening to a couple of performances of each and studying the score. Along the way we will discuss the basics of harmony and counterpoint. Our goal is that you come away with a deeper understanding of this remarkable piece of music and a greater appreciation of the genius of Bach.

Note: Ability to read music is not required for this module!
Precepted by James Tauber

Midst: Adventures in Unusual Storytelling

The Midst podcast (which can be found at http://www.midst.co) is a strange and compelling space western horror science fantasy. . . hmmm. Let me start again.

Midst is a planetoid revolving in a cosmos very unlike our own, one that contains strange creatures bred from The Fold, a supernatural phenomenon that. . . no that's not it either.

This module will be a discussion guide to one of the most compellingly weird podcasts I've run across ever. I'm talking Welcome to Nightvale weird. The story is told by three anonymous and quite probably unreliable narrators, does not stick to usual story structures, veers off on tangents, and lands everything in a series of climactic episodes that are simply stunning. What we will be doing is experiencing season 1 of this podcast together and looking at how they are using various tools to tell this story, and whether they really are abandoning a lot of conventional storytelling wisdom. (Spoiler alert, I don't think they are.)

You will listen to all nineteen episodes over the course of the class. In class, we will discuss the episodes you've heard, using the frame of questions I will give you ahead of time. Our goal will be to tease out the various storytelling tools the writers used in the creation of their remarkable story. Some of these will be familiar literary tools, others will involve how they use sound and effects to heighten their narration. As each episode is on the order of half an hour long, you will have heard nine to ten hours of audio by the time the class ends.

I love this story and the way the writers have chosen to tell it. I would love to share that with you.

Japanese Through Lyrics

The goal of this course is to study Japanese by analyzing song lyrics. While there will be an initial list of songs, students will be invited to either choose or vote on songs they would like to analyze (depending on number of students), and then we will spend each class studying the vocabulary and grammar contained in those songs.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Music Theory for the Mathematically-Inclined

Music is often described as mathematical but music theory is rarely taught from this perspective. This course will cover traditional basic music theory but will explore some of the underlying mathematical reasons why music works the way it does. Nothing beyond high school math is required.

Scottish Gaelic Song

Using Scottish Gaelic songs to gain a deeper understanding of the language and culture. Covering mouth music, religious music, working music, and ballads.

This course does not require any past experience with Scottish Gaelic. Open to all.

The History of the Symphony: After Beethoven

This module will be a chronological listening tour of the history of the symphony after Beethoven. We will explore the symphony’s subsequent development in the romantic era, and its rethinking in the 20th century. We will listen to some key works together and discuss some of the innovations introduced in those particular works.
Precepted by James Tauber

The History of the Symphony: Beginnings to Beethoven

This module will be a chronological listening tour from the precursors of the symphony in the baroque era to the birth of the symphony in the classical era culminating in the works of Beethoven. We will listen to some key works together and discuss some of the innovations introduced in those particular works.
Precepted by James Tauber

The Music of Middle Earth

In this module we will explore the musical storytelling of works related to the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. This discussion-based course is not targeted to musicians, and no prior musical knowledge or skill set is required. Rather, the course seeks to discuss how music can tell stories, and how music interacts with text, poetry, and adaptation. A familiarity with the work of Professor Tolkien is very helpful.

This course will study three types of musical adaptation: music inspired by Tolkien’s writing, work that has taken Tolkien’s poetry and put it to music, and music written for adaptations of Tolkien’s work. Each of these types of composition comes with their own unique storytelling approaches and outcomes.

Session 1: Johan de Meij, "Symphony No. 1: The Lord of the Rings"
Session 2: Martin Romberg, "Symphonic Poem, Telperion and Laurelin"
Session 3: Paul Corfield Godfrey: “The Tolkien Cycle”
Session 4: John Sangster, "The Hobbit Suite"
Session 5: The Tolkien Ensemble, "An Evening in Rivendell"
Session 6: Donald Swann: “The Road Goes Ever On, a Song Cycle”
Session 7: Howard Shore, "The Fellowship of the Ring"
Session 8: Bear McCreary, "The Rings of Power, Season One"
Precepted by Jack Schabert

Video Game Studies

Inviting students to share their delight in, and deepen their appreciation of, video games, we will discuss examples of the art, music, gameplay, and story from a range of influential titles. We will introduce and experiment with some of the theoretical frameworks that have been applied to video games as media objects and cultural artifacts. But mostly, we will enjoy learning more about the medium and the games we already love. Aside from links and selections shared throughout the module, Gabrielle Zevin's novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. will be the only required reading.
Precepted by Wesley Schantz
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].