Music Immersion

Overview for Music Immersion

The immersion in music offers courses in the history, theory, and practice of music. Students with a background in music and/or a genuine desire to know more about the subject will have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of various theoretical and historical aspects, as well as participate in performing groups at RIT.

Notes about this immersion:

  • Students are required to complete at least one course at the 300-level or above as part of the immersion.

The plan code for Music Immersion is MUSIC-IM.

Curriculum for 2023-2024 for Music Immersion

Current Students: See Curriculum Requirements

Course
Electives:
Choose three of the following:
   PRFL-250
 Music History 1: Antiquity to Bach
This course explores the creation, performance, and reception of music within the context of Western cultural, religious, political and artistic ideals, and related non-Western traditions, from Greek antiquity to ca. 1750. Topics of exploration include the development of musical notation, musical instrument technology, the interrelationships of music theorists, composers, performers, patrons, and audiences, music as a communicative and expressive art, aesthetics, and musical analysis and criticism. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   PRFL-251
 Music History 2: Haydn to Stravinsky
This course explores the creation, performance, and reception of music within the context of Western cultural, religious, political and artistic ideals, and related non-Western and popular traditions, from ca. 1750 to ca. 1920. Topics of exploration include musical instrument technology, the interrelationships of music theorists, composers, performers, patrons, and audiences, nationalism, the influence of folk and non-Western music traditions on Western art music, popular music traditions, music as a communicative and expressive art, philosophy and aesthetics of the Enlightenment and 19th century, and musical analysis and criticism. (Prerequisites: PRFL-160 or PRFL-250 or PRFL-265 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
   PRFL-262
 Music & Global Cultures
Music & Global Cultures is an exploration of music from around the world drawing from the theoretical and methodological discipline of ethnomusicology. This field has been defined as the study of “people making music” (Titon) or of music “as” culture. Ethnomusicologists seek an understanding of the connections between musical expression and other elements of society. Music can reflect a community’s experience as well as becoming a catalyst for political and social change. In this course you will explore the ways different musics are created, performed, used and passed on to future generations. In class we will hone our listening skills, analyze musical and rhythmic structure, read ethnographic accounts of musical performances, as well as discuss and write about music. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
   PRFL-263
American Popular & Rock Music
This course examines the history and elements of popular and rock music in the United States from the end of the 19th century to current times. Emphasis will be placed on the music that was written and performed after WWII. Students will be introduced to various styles of this genre as well as an introduction to those musical elements necessary to define a rudimentary analysis of the music. Among the composers and performers to be studied are early Minstrel performers, Louis Armstrong, Scott Joplin, George Gershwin, Blues musicians, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, R and B musicians, country and western, Elvis Presley, Motown, Ray Charles, folk, Jimi Hendrix, disco, punk, metal, grunge, and pop. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   PRFL-264
Music & the Stage
A historical and cultural survey of collaboration between the arts of music and theatre, focusing on a selection of significant creative products that combine music and drama. Possible works studied include those by Shakespeare, Monteverdi, Mozart-Daponte, John Gay, Beethoven-Goethe, Wagner, Puccini, Brecht-Weill, and Bernstein, spanning the genres of Renaissance tragedy and comedy, opera seria, opera buffa, ballad opera, incidental music, romantic drama, Italian opera, music-drama, epic theatre, cabaret, vaudeville, and musical comedy. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   PRFL-265
 Music Theory 1
This course is designed for the student who has basic musical literacy (ability to read music notation). In addition to the writing of melody, two-part counterpoint and four-part harmony, some attention will be given to the analysis of form and style. Because it is important that theoretical understanding be coordinated with musical application, time will be devoted to the development of musicianship. Consideration will be given to individual skills and abilities, hopefully allowing for the maximum development of each student. (Elementary music reading ability) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   PRFL-280
RIT Singers*
The RIT Singers is an experiential-learning course in which students learn music theory and historical context by learning pieces from the 16th century to the present and performing them at three major concerts a year. Participation in learning and performing such music gives students an experiential appreciation and understanding of the role of music in modern society. In addition, students from the RIT Singers have opportunities to sing in a variety of small vocal ensembles. Auditions will be held to assess proper placement. Contact instructor for more information. (Auditions will be held to assess proper placement. Contact the instructor for information. Students who have previously participated in RIT Singers can enroll without further permission.) Studio 2 (Fall, Spring).
   PRFL-281
 RIT Philharmonic Orchestra*
The RIT Orchestra performs three major concerts a year of standard orchestral repertoire from the 16th century to the present. In addition, students from the RIT Orchestra have the opportunity to play in a variety of chamber music ensembles. Auditions will be held to assess proper placement. Contact instructor for more information. (Auditions will be held to assess proper placement. Contact the instructor for information. Students who have previously participated in RIT Orchestra can enroll without further permission.) Studio (Fall, Spring).
   PRFL-282
 RIT Concert Band*
The RIT Concert Band is an experiential-learning course in which students learn music theory and historical context by learning several works from the Concert Band literature including standard wind band literature, contemporary compositions, marches, and orchestral transcriptions. The ensemble prepares to perform three major concerts a year and participates in departmental performances. Participation in learning and performing such music gives students an experiential appreciation and understanding of the role of music in modern society. Auditions will be held to assess proper placement. Contact instructor for more information. (Auditions will be held to assess proper placement. Contact the instructor for information. Students who have previously participated in RIT Concert Band can enroll without further permission.) Studio 1 (Fall, Spring).
   PRFL-283
West African Percussion Ensemble*
The RIT West African Percussion Ensemble is a hands-on course, in which students explore the dynamic percussive traditions of Guinea. The ensemble combines the djembe hand drum with a trio of drums played with sticks, known as dunun, sangban, and kenkeni. The multi-part relationships established by this trio of drums provide a rhythmic foundation for the ensemble, enabling djembe players to develop technique in executing both accompaniment and solo parts. Enrollment is open to all interested students, faculty, and staff, regardless of musical proficiency. Developing cooperation and teamwork is a necessary outcome of participation in this ensemble. Studio 1 (Fall, Spring).
   PRFL-284
RIT Jazz Ensemble*
Preparing for and performing concerts of jazz repertoire offers students the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of and appreciation for music, and its role in society, through the careful analysis of musical forms and ideas, and the comparison of exemplary works from a variety of times, places and social/cultural necessities. The RIT Jazz Ensemble performs three major concerts a year of standard repertoire from the early 20th century to the present. Students from the RIT Jazz Ensemble also have the opportunity to play in a variety of informal performances both on and off campus. Auditions will be held to assess proper placement. Contact instructor for more information. (Auditions will be held to assess proper placement. Contact the instructor for information. Students who have previously participated in RIT Jazz Ensemble can enroll without further permission.) Studio 1 (Fall, Spring).
   PRFL-285
RIT Chamber Orchestra*
Preparing for and performing concerts of orchestral repertoire offers students the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of and appreciation for music, and its role in society, through the careful analysis of musical forms and ideas, and the comparison of exemplary works from a variety of times, places and social/cultural necessities. The RIT Chamber Orchestra is a select group of advanced players It performs concerts and engages in other activities, in particular the exploration of performing practices and stylistic considerations apropos to 17th, 18th, and 20th century music. In particular, the RIT Chamber Orchestra revives works from the 18th and early 19th centuries that have not been performed in modern times. Participation is by invitation of the music director, or by audition. Contact instructor for more information. (Auditions will be held to assess proper placement. Contact the instructor for information. Students who have previously participated in RIT Chamber Orchestra can enroll without further permission.) Studio 3 (Fall, Spring).
   PRFL-327
 American Musical Theater
This course is a survey of the development of the American Musical Theater, highlighting representative works, composers, librettists and performers of both the cultivated and vernacular traditions. It is further designed as an appreciation course, fostering the development of a greater appreciation for all types of stage music and the ability to better evaluate the quality of a work, the performance, and the performers. Lecture 3 (Spring).
   PRFL-352
 Russian Music and National Identity
Russia’s history contains a complex blend of indigenous artistic expression and artistic influences from beyond its borders. Given its large land mass and geographical position spanning Europe and Asia, Russian monarchs struggled with understanding who the Russian people were, but also how to best navigate the cultural and economic commonalities and differences among their neighbors, with whom they desired relationships. This course explores the many ways music in Russia reflected the cultural influences apropos to its complex history and national identity in the world. The focus will be on the political, social, and artistic aspects of Russian music nationalism emerging in the 19th century and continuing into the 20th-century Soviet Era, but will include a review of the cultural and historical background from the 9th through the 18th centuries which led to Russia’s own, unique musical and artistic language. This is a writing-intensive seminar-format course, encouraging students to develop their research and writing skills, and their abilities to analyze, argue and persuade within historic, cultural, artistic, and aesthetic fields. Seminar 3 (Fall, Spring).
   PRFL-371
 Music Since 1900
Survey of the cultivated traditions of music in the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly in the U.S., taking into account its political, social, and historical frameworks. (Prerequisites: PRFL-265 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
   PRFL-372
Survey of Jazz
This course will survey the development of American jazz music, highlighting representative composers and performers and significant works. Particular attention will be drawn to the multi-racial influences on the creation of jazz music and its relationship to American culture as a whole. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   PRFL-376
 History & Technology of Musical Instruments
The development of music in the Western art tradition had a mutually influential relationship with the changes in construction and manufacturing of musical instruments. Recent research into the various and special sounds of instruments from different historical periods has been pivotal in new approaches to performance over the past quarter century (Historically Informed Performance). This course explores the historical development of musical instruments commonly used in performing Western art music, including various technologies influencing manufacturing techniques and construction, performing techniques, historical audience expectations of musical sound, and comparative performance practices. Lecture 3 (Spring).
   PRFL-465
Music Theory 2
This course is designed for the student who has a knowledge of basic music theory and an understanding of four-part diatonic composition. In addition to the continuing study of melodic construction and development, thematic development in two-part counterpoint, four-part harmony, chromatic materials and modulation, and analysis of form and style, emphases will be placed on the development of individual music skills. (Prerequisites: PRFL-265 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
   SOIS-240
 The Harmonica & the Blues
From the mid-1800s to today, the harmonica has largely been learned informally, passed down by generations of musicians who have used it to play melodies, solos, and chord accompaniment. It was a natural for the blues because of its human voice-like quality and flexible way to play “blue” notes. Blues musicians developed a harmonica style that reverberates in many musical styles today. This interdisciplinary course focuses on the history and culture of the harmonica and the blues. Students learn about era-related harmonica styles, influential harmonica players, the basics of playing blues-style diatonic harmonica, and the fundamentals of sound. Students will attend a live music performance in the Rochester community. (This class is restricted to undergraduate students with at least 2nd year standing.) Lec/Lab 3 (Fall, Spring).

* Each of these ensembles is one semester credit hour. Three semesters of participation are required to complete one immersion course.

† At least one course must be taken at the 300-level or above.