What is music? Why do people make music? What can it mean? And why, in the layered political contexts of today's world, does it matter?
In this course, we'll dive deep into these and other questions by exploring the fundamentals of music in multiple sociohistorical contexts, bringing together sound-making and active listening as we compose and perform our own songs, hone our ears with critical listening sessions, and embark on discussions with world-class musicians and musicologists from Stanford and beyond. We'll launch into our investigation via an immersion in participatory musical frameworks and compositions, which will allow us to explore and interrogate different building blocks of musical experiences and their relationships with specific social and historical contexts. We'll create our own compositions or improvisations inspired by the work of saxophonist, composer, and multidisciplinary artist Matana Roberts. Then, an examination of the development of Viennese musical salon culture will prepare us for our collaboration with a renowned string quartet in residence at Stanford. Landing back in a present enriched by historical knowledge and new technical and critical skills, we'll end with a creative project that reorients this framework to comment on or create a musical experience that is significant to you.