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.
This course is a survey of music in the United States from the time of European colonization to the present. Particular emphasis is placed upon the question of what makes music distinctively American.
Studies in World Music
A course designed to explore selected music cultures from North America, South America, Africa, India, Asia, East Asia, and Central and Southeastern Europe. The primary goal of the course will be to expand understanding of and perceptions about music both outside and within Western cultural traditions. In addition to class discussions, students will have opportunities for hands-on activities associated with the cultures studied.
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.
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.
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)
Medieval and Renaissance Music
The beginning of the Western tradition of art music can be traced to Medieval Europe ca. 600 CE, as systems of music notation began to develop in and disseminate through important liturgical text sources. This desire to preserve and disseminate certain musical-textual traditions grew and developed steadily throughout Christendom over the next millennium, in both sacred and secular contexts. This course examines this development of music and text during the Medieval and Renaissance periods (ca. 600-1600 CE), with attention drawn to specific aspects of cultural context and performance practices that offer modern musicians and music connoisseurs a solid basis for experiencing the music in live performance, both in active listening (concert/liturgy attendence) and in participating (in-class singing).
Bach, Handel, and the Baroque
European society experienced many changes during the late 16th through the early 18th centuries, and music's role and development within the context of these changes was varied, and profound. This course explores the creation and performance of music within the context of European cultural, religious, political and artistic ideals from 1580 to 1750, culminating in in-depth discussion of the life and works of J. S. Bach and G. F. Handel.
Era of Haydn, Mozart, & Beethoven
Many of the characteristics of art music up to the present day have their beginnings in the late 18th century. This course explores the creation and performance of music within the context of European cultural, political and artistic ideals from 1740 to 1825, with particular attention given to the works of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.
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.
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.
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.
World Music Ensemble*
The World Music Ensemble is a hands-on course, in which students learn the fundamentals of music as a sociological phenomenon and a variety of concepts and world views to answer the question, What is music? This is accomplished by introducing students to several music cultures, through learning fundamental instrumental and dance techniques, with African music being central to the study. Ensemble is coached four-to-six-times-a-year by professional musicians and dancers, including Ghanaian Master Drummer Martin Kwaku Obeng, and performs several times each school year, both on campus and in the community. 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. Auditions will be held to assess proper placement. Contact instructor for more information.
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.
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.
Music of the Romantic Era
Survey of the rise of romanticism from Beethoven to Strauss in the context of the development of 19th century musical styles in general. Topics of exploration include national trends in 19th century music, the rise of the general public as arbiters of musical taste, philosophical influences, and performance considerations.
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.
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.
Survey of African-American Music
This course is a survey of African American music through an examination of the major forms of music-making and dance developed among African Americans in the United States from the early 17th century to the present. A brief introduction to West African cultural characteristics, especially music and dance, as well as discussions of the African diaspora in the New World, will serve as background for this survey.
Sounds of Protest
This course is designed to explore the variety of ways music has served as commentary on and/or symbolic representation of social circumstances and events in America and throughout the world, historically and in the present. Students will research, listen to, analyze, and discuss music representing a variety of genres, styles, and cultures, ranging from various forms of European and American folk, popular, and concert music to selected non-western music. Topics will include race, gender, sexuality, economics, class, war, and politics, among others.
American Popular Song
This course will survey the development of the American popular song and its composers and performers, taking into account the political, social, and historical perspectives reflected in this commercial part of our vernacular music tradition.
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.
American Musical Theatre
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.
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.
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.
* 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.