Seminar in Contemporary Music

MUSI 4397 (section 29417) / 6397 (section 30590)       Fall 2016       TuTh 10:00 - 11:30

Dr. Tim Koozin      MSM 112      (713)743-3318 

Course Description:  Analytical and historical studies in music of our time and of the past century. Class meetings will take the form of a seminar, without formal lectures. Preparation and readiness to contribute in each class discussion is the student’s responsibility.

A music theory elective for undergraduate and graduate students.

Selected readings on UH Blackboard:   

Glen Watkins. Soundings: Music in the Twentieth-Century (Schirmer Books, 1988)
Jonathan Cross. The Stravinsky Legacy (Cambridge University Press, 1998)
Elliot Antokoletz. Twentieth-Century Music (Prentice Hall, 1992)
Joseph Straus. Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory (Prentice Hall, 1990)


Antokoletz, Elliott. Musical Symbolism in the Operas of Debussy and Bartok (Oxford University Press, 2004). e-book 10103537
Linda K. Cummins. Debussy and the Fragment (2006) ebook 10380241
Burton Fisher. Berg's Wozzeck, Opera Journeys Mini Guide Series (2005) e-book 10188422
Danielle Fosler-Lussier. Music Divided: Bartók's Legacy in Cold War Culture (University of California Press, 2007). e-book 10190624
Steve Reich and Paul Hillier. Writings on Music, 1965-2000 (Oxford University Press, 2002) e-book 10084785
Robert Fink. Repeating Ourselves: American Minimal Music as Cultural Practice (University of California Press, 2005). e-book 10088445


(Subject to change; All items are available on UH Blackboard unless otherwise noted.)

Debussy, Impressionism and Symbolism; Bartok

Watkins. Ch 5: Debussy: Impressionism and Symbolism (list of selected Debussy works)
     Preludes, book 1, nos. 2, 3, and 10
     Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
     Danse sacre for harp and orchestra
Antokoletz. The Music of Bela Bartok, Ch 1
     Bartok: Fourth String Quartet
Antokoletz e-book on operas by Debussy and Bartok e-book 10103537
     Chapters 1 and 2
          Pelléas et Mélisand, Act 1 (download score)
     Pelléas et Mélisande:
Chapters 3-4
     Bluebeard's Castle: Chapter 9
Jann Passler article on Jeux
Debussy's Legacy: Messiaen, Takemitsu, and others
     Messiaen: Prelude, La Colombe; Quartet for the End of Time, mvt 1 and mvt 6 excerpt
     Takemitsu: Koozin CMR articles
     Saariaho and others
Techniques and Materials of Music Study Guide 11 (chord symbols, modes, scales and other basics)

Preview music for AURA contemporary ensemble concert, Monday, September 26, 7:30

Music by Clint Needham, Nick Omiccioli, Eamon Carmody, Ned Rorem, Rob Smith
TBA: assignments and guest presentation

FIRST PAPER due: Tuesday October 4

Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg

Rahn. Basic Atonal Theory, Analysis 1 on Webern, Symphonie, Op. 21
Antokoletz, Twentieth-Century Music, ch 3
Joseph Straus. Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory (Prentice-Hall, 1990). Chapter 1 and Analysis 1 & 2
Various scores by Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg
Techniques and Materials of Music Study Guide 12 (some basics of set theory)

Stravinsky; Developments in the United States

Edward T. Cone, PNM article, "Progress of a Method"
Antokoletz, Twentieth-Century Music, ch 16

Jazz Excursion

Henry Martin. Charlie Parker and "Honeysuckle Rose": Voice Leading, Formula, and Motive. MTO 18.3 (2012) (See here for listening links and a study question.)

Stravinsky’s Legacy; Approaches to Musical Form

Straus, Remaking the Past, Ch 5 on Sonata form
Cross, Ch 1, 2, and 5: Block forms, Minimalism
Works by Stravinsky, Varese, Messiaen, Stockhausen, and others
     Score for study: Petrushka excerpts
Jonathan D. Kramer. “Postmodern Concepts of Musical Time” Indiana Theory Review 17/2 (1996): 21-62.
Joseph Straus. Stravinsky's "Construction of Twelve Verticals": An Aspect of Harmony in the Serial Music

Preview music for AURA contemporary ensemble concert, Monday, November 14, 7:30. Guest composer: Kamran Ince. (Link for scores and audio in UH Blackboard)

SECOND PAPER due Thursday, November 10

Minimalism, Opera, Recent Music

Sean Atkinson. "Aspects of Otherness in John Adam's Nixon in China" (Blackboard)
Tim Johnson. "Minimalism: Aesthetic, Style or Technique?" (Blackboard)
Rebecca Leydon. "Towards a Typology of Minimalist Tropes," Music Theory Online 8/4 (2002).
Class discussion on seleced pieces by John Adams (China Gates, El Nino, Death of Klinghoffer)
Cross, Ch 5, "Minimal Developments"
Rob Smith. EP (2013) YouTube:

Recommended, but not required: Mervyn Cooke. Minimalist Opera - The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Opera
     Works by Cage, Reich, Glass, Adams, Torke, Andriessen, Zorn, and others

THIRD PAPER due Thursday, December 1

Possible items for discussion (as time allows):

Pop-Rock Excursion (study questions)

Allen F. Moore. The Persona-Environment Relation in Recorded Song. MTO 11.4 (2005)
Walter Everett. Making Sense of Rock's Tonal Systems. MTO 10.4 (2004)
Timothy Koozin. Guitar Voicing in Pop-Rock Music: A Performance-Based Analytical Approach. MTO 17.3 (2011)

Experimentation and New Music

Watkins, Ch 22, "The New Virtuosity."
Antokoletz, Modern Music, Ch 16, "Varied approaches to the twelve-tone principle and rhythmic formulization in the United States."
Readings on Carter by Schiff and Watkins
Works by Ives, Cage, Carter, Varèse, Ligeti, Penderecki, Berio, Stockhausen, Crumb
More music TBA

Antokoletz, Modern Music, Ch 19: Chance, Improvisation, Open Form, and Minimalism
     Readings and works by Morton Feldman, Steve Reich, and others
Julia Wolfe. Lick (1994)
Thomas Ades. Asyla, Op. 17 (1997): III. Ecstasio. Naxos:
David Lang. Sweet Air, mvt 2 (1999)
Missy Mazzoli. Magic with Everyday Objects (2007)
Kaija Saariaho. Lumière et Pesanteur (2009)


Papers (3 x 25%)                                                  75%    
Class participation, short assignments, and quizzes  25%

First Paper

A short analytical paper, about 5 pages in length (accounts for 25% of the grade).

Your analysis should focus on a specific analytical topic that could illuminate the performance of a selected musical work. Begin by choosing a single movement for detailed study. As you study the piece, hone in on a particular analytical issue that you believe has bearing on interpretation of the work.

Incorporate elements of the assigned readings and class discussion into your study. Plan to include a photocopied score with your analytical markings added. Other analytical charts or musical examples are also possible.

A piece composed by Debussy or another composer we’ve discussed in class is recommended. You might also wish to consider a more recent composition that displays the influence of Debussy's musical techniques and/or a relationship to symbolist and impressionist approaches.

You may consult other readings to develop your approach to the piece, but this is not required. Do include a bibliography of sources consulted.

Be prepared each day to informally discuss your work in progress.

Paper due at class time, Tuesday, October 4.

Second Paper

Same format as paper 1, but choose a topic focusing on a work by Stravinsky, Carter, or another composer from our readings (or another topic by approval). Due Thursday, November 10.

Final Paper

Again, same format. Select a piece for analysis composed after 1950. Your essay should explain the most siginificant findings of your detailed analysis of the score. Also in the essay, position your analyis in an interpretive context that relates your selected piece to our class readings and other compositions we have studied. Due Thursday, December 1.

Selected articles and book chapters

Music and the Postmodern

Jonathan D. Kramer. “Postmodern Concepts of Musical Time” Indiana Theory Review 17/2 (1996): 21-62.


Watkins. Ch 5: Debussy: Impressionism and Symbolism
Jan Pasler. "Debussy, Jeux: Playing with Time and Form," 19th Century Music, vi.1 (1982), 60-75.
Lawrence Berman. "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Jeux: Debussy's Summer Rites," 19th Century Music, iii.3 (1980), 225-38.
James Hepokoski. "Formulaic Openings in Debussy," 19th Century Music, viii.1 (1984), 44-59.
Allan Forte, "Debussy and the Octatonic," Music Analysis, 10.1-2 (1991), 125-69.
Avo Somer. “Musical Syntax in the Sonatas of Debussy.” Music Theory Spectrum 27/1 (2005), 67-96.

Messiaen and Takemitsu

Anthony Pople. Quatuor pour la fin du temps: Cambridge Musical Handbook (1998)
      Introduction, Ch 1 (Liturgie), Ch 3 (Abîme)
Malcom Troup in The Messiaen Companion, p. 392-447( See especially parts on Chronochromie, Sept haïkaï, and Coleurs de la Cité celeste)
Jonathan Cross. The Stravinsky Legacy. (Cambridge University Press, 1998)
      Chapter on “Block Forms,” especially p. 46-63 (Turangalîla, Momente)
Tim Koozin. “Spiritual-Temporal Imagery in Music of Olivier Messiaen and Toru Takemitsu.” Contemporary Music Review  7/2 (1993).
________. “Toru Takemitsu and the Unity of Opposites.”  College Music Symposium 30 (1990). 
________. “Traversing Distances: Pitch Organization, Gesture, and Imagery in the Late Works of Toru Takemitsu.” Contemporary Music Review 21/4 (2003).

Stravinsky and his influence on recent music

Jonathan Cross. The Stravinsky Legacy. (Cambridge University Press, 1998)
Joseph Straus. Remaking the Past: Musical Modernism and the Influence of the Tonal Tradition. (Harvard University Press, 1990.)
________. “Stravinsky's Construction of Twelve Verticals: An Aspect of Harmony in the Serial Music,” Music Theory Spectrum 21/1 (1999).
Edward T. Cone, "Stravinsky: The Progress of a Method," Perspectives of New Music 1/1 (Fall 1962): 18-26.

Recent Music and Recent Scholarship

Susan McClary. Conventional Wisdom (University of California Press, 2000), Chapter 5.
Timothy A. Johnson, "Minimalism: Aesthetic, Style, or Technique?," Musical Quarterly 78 (Winter 1994): 742-73.
Michael L. Klein. Intertextuality in Western Art Music (Indiana University Press, 2005), Chapter 5.
Rebecca Leydon. “Towards a Typology of Minimalist Tropes.” Music Theory Online 8/4 (2002).
Charles Wilson. “György Ligeti and the Rhetoric of Autonomy.” Twentieth-Century Music 1/1 (2004), 5-28.
Sean Atkinson. "Canons, Augmentations, and Their Meaning in Two Works by Steve Reich" Music Theory Online 17/1 (2011)


Claude Debussy          

Preludes, Selections from Book 1 (CD535)
Jeux (CD1008)
Nocturnes, “Sirènes” (CD 1008)
La Mer (CD 1008,  1930)   score: M1002.D28M4 1970

Olivier Messiaen


Preludes (CD 3521)   (score: M25.M58P73 1930)
Mode des valeurs et d' intensite (CD 3521)
Catalogue d'oiseaux, book 1, “Le loriot” (CD 3538)
Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jésus (CD 2578)  (score: M24.M56V5 1947)


Les corps glorieux, “L'Ange aux parfums,” (CD 3430)

      piano, clarinet, violin, and cello

Quatuor pour la fin du temps, mvts. 1 & 3, (CD 901), (CD 4848) (score: M422.M48Q3 1942x)


Turangalîla-symphonie (CD 2751)
Coleurs de la Cité celeste (CD 3522)
Chronochromie (CD 5009)     score: M1045.M58C5 1963x
Sept haïkai for piano and orchestra (CD 3522)            score: M1010.M608H3

Toru Takemitsu

Quatrain II for piano, clarinet, violin, and cello (CD 5999)
Le yeux clos II for piano (CD 2080)
In an Autumn Garden for Gagaku ensemble (personal CD)
For Away, Rain Tree Sketch (CD 2230)
Riverrun for piano and orchestra (CD 6522)
Quotation of Dream for two pianos and orchestra (CD 5257)
Fantasma/Cantos for clarinet and orchestra (CD 5999)
Archipelago S for 21 players (CD 7093)

Discussed in the Jonathan Cross reading

Stravinsky. Petrushka (CD 8223)
Stravinsky. Le sacre du printemps (CD 8223)
Varése. Déserts, Poeme électronique, Amériques (CD 4371)
George Antheil . Ballet méchanique (CD 4618)
Messiaen. Coleurs de la Cité celeste (CD 3522)
Stockhausen. Klavierstsück IX (CD 2579)
Stockausen. Momente (CD 5982)
Tippett. King Priam (CD 3511), (video 1660)
Birtwistle. Carmen arcadiae mechanicae perpetuum (CD 849)

 Discussed in the Edward T. Cone reading

Stravinsky. Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Symphony of Psalms (CD 7825)


Reading: Timothy A. Johnson, "Minimalism: Aesthetic, Style, or Technique?

CD-853   Reich, Come Out
CD-3779  Reich, Drumming Music
CD-4556  Reich, Eight Lines
CD-3909  Reich, Violin Phase
CD-893   Reich, Tehillim
CD-5043  Reich, Different Trains
CD-5265   Reich, The Cave
CD-892 Riley, In C
CD-5013  Riley, Cadenza on the Night Plain
CD-5008  Glass, Einstein on the Beach
CD-5010  Glass, Songs from Liquid Days
CD-2553   Glass, Satyagraha
CD-2541  Adams, Grand Pianola Music
CD-3518  Adams, Phrygian Gates
CD-1835  Adams, Nixon in China
CD-3571 Torke, The Yellow Pages
CD-6767 Zorn, Spillane
Video:     Four American Composers: Philip Glass (video 1595)
Web site:

Watkins. Chapters 29 and 30

CD-3703  Luciano Berio: Circles, Sequenza 1 for flute
CD-239    Luciano Berio, Sinfonia
CD-341    Peter Maxwell Davies, Eight Songs for a Mad King
CD-4773  George Crumb, Ancient Voices of Children
CD-779     Rochberg, Music for the Magic Theatre
CD-4515   Rochberg, String Quartet No. 3

More recommended works, some discussed in our readings:

CD-7093 Takemitsu, Archipelago S for 21 players  
CD-5999 Takemitsu, Fantasma/Cantos for clarinet and orchestra
CD-852    Arvo Pärt: Misere, Festina Lente
CD-5045  Frederic Rzewski, Four North American Ballads
CD-4785  Frederic Rzewski, The People United will Never Be Defeated!
CD-656    John Corigliano, Sonata for Violin and Piano
CD-4511  David Del Tredici, Acrostic Song from Final Alice
CD-327    David Del Tredici, Steps
CD-3538  Olivier Messiaen, Catalogue dí Oiseaux (Books 1-3)
CD-5009  Olivier Messiaen, Chronochromie
CD-2751  Olivier Messiaen, Turangalila Symphony
CD-5012  Harry Partch, The Bewitched
CD-1449  Ben Johnston, Fourth String Quartet: Amazing Grace
CD-859    Krzysztof Penderecki, Threnody
CD-855    Krzysztof Penderecki, Cello Concerto
CD-1031  Witold Lutoslawski, Concerto for Orchestra
CD-3679  Witold Lutoslawski, String Quartet
CD-851    Gyorgy Ligeti: Atmospheres, Lontano
CD-4823  Luciano Berio, Linea
CD-3438  Luciano Berio, Points on the curve to find
CD-851    Luigi Nono, Liebeslied
CD-2554  George Crumb, Macrocosmos 1