Music Courses

ISM Music Courses, 2017-2018

See the bulletins of the School of Music and the Divinity School for full course listings and degree requirements. Courses listed here may be cross-listed in other schools or departments. 

The letter “a” following the course number denotes the fall term; the letter “b” denotes the spring term.

Courses fulfilling the distribution requirements for Institute students pursuing the M.Div. are indicated with a letter representing the subject area: W (Worship), M (Music), and/or A (Visual Arts or Literature). In the School of Music, courses designated NP are nonperformance courses. Courses designated P/F will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis. See the Schools’ respective bulletins for full explanation.

MUS 506a–b, 606a–b, Lyric Diction for Singers 2 credits per term. A language course designed specifically for the needs of singers. Intensive work on pronunciation, grammar, and literature throughout the term. French, German, English, Italian, Russian, and Latin are offered in alternating terms. Required. Faculty

MUS 507a–b, 607a–b, Vocal Repertoire for Singers 2 credits per term. A performance-oriented course that in successive terms surveys the French mélodie, German Lied, and Italian, American, and English art song. Elements of style, language, text, and presentation are emphasized. Required. Faculty

MUS 509a–b, 609a–b, 709a–b, Art Song Coaching for Singers 1 credit per term. Individual private coaching in the art song repertoire, in preparation for required recitals. Students are coached on such elements of musical style as phrasing, rubato, and articulation, and in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish diction. Students are expected to bring their recital accompaniments to coaching sessions as their recital times approach. Faculty

MUS 510b, Music before 1700 4 credits. NP. Group B. An overview of music before 1700 within its cultural and social contexts. The goal of the course is knowledge of the repertoire representing the major styles, genres, and composers of the period. Course requirements include six short essays, a final research project, and a final exam. Markus Rathey

MUS 515a,b, Improvisation at the Organ I 2 credits. This course in beginning organ improvisation explores a variety of harmonization techniques, with a strong focus on formal structure (binary and ternary forms, rondo, song form). Classes typically are made up of two students for a one-hour lesson on Mondays. The term culminates with an improvised recital open to the public. In this recital, each student improvises for up to seven minutes on a submitted theme. Jeffrey Brillhart

MUS 519a–b, 619a–b, 719a–b, Colloquium 1 credit per term. NP. P/F. Participation in seminars led by faculty and guest lecturers on topics concerning theology, music, worship, and related arts. Required of all Institute of Sacred Music students. Martin D. Jean

MUS 522a–b, 622a–b, 722a–b, Acting for Singers 1 credit per term. Designed to address the specialized needs of the singing actor. Studies include technique in character analysis, together with studies in poetry as it applies to art song literature. Class work is extended in regular private coaching. ISM students are required to take two terms in their second year. Ethan Heard (ISM), Christopher Murrah

MUS 531a–b, 631a–b, Repertory Chorus—Voice 2 credits per term. A reading chorus open by audition and conducted by graduate choral conducting students. The chorus reads, studies, and sings a wide sampling of choral literature. Marguerite L. Brooks

MUS 532a–b, 632a–b, Repertory Chorus—Conducting 2 credits per term. Students in the graduate choral conducting program work with the Repertory Chorus, preparing and conducting a portion of a public concert each term. Open only to choral conducting majors. Marguerite L. Brooks

MUS 535a–b, 635a–b, Recital Chorus—Voice 2 credits per term. A chorus open by audition and conducted by graduate choral conducting students. It serves as the choral ensemble for four to five degree recitals per year. Marguerite L. Brooks

MUS 536a–b, 636a–b, Recital Chorus—Conducting 2 credits per term. Second- and third-year students in the graduate choral conducting program work with the Recital Chorus, preparing and conducting their degree recitals. Open to choral conducting majors only. Marguerite L. Brooks

MUS 537b, Collaborative Piano: Voice 2 credits. A course designed for pianists, focusing on the skills required for vocal accompanying and coaching. The standard song and operatic repertoire is emphasized. Sight-reading, techniques of transposition, figured bass, and effective reduction of operatic materials for the recreation of orchestral sounds at the piano are included in the curriculum. Ted Taylor

MUS 540a–b, 640a–b, 740a–b, 840a–b, Individual Instruction in the Major 4 credits per term. Individual instruction of one hour per week throughout the academic year, for majors in performance, conducting, and composition. Faculty

MUS 544a–b, 644a–b, 744a–b, Seminar in the Major 2 credits per term. An examination of a wide range of problems relating to the area of the major. Specific requirements may differ by department. At the discretion of each department, seminar requirements can be met partially through off-campus field trips and/or off-campus fieldwork, e.g., performance or teaching. Required of all School of Music students except pianists who take 533, 633, 733. Faculty

MUS 546a–b, 646a–b, 746a–b, Yale Camerata 2 credits per term. Open to all members of the University community by audition, the Yale Camerata presents several performances throughout the year that explore choral literature from all musical periods. Members of the ensemble should have previous choral experience and be willing to devote time to the preparation of music commensurate with the Camerata’s vigorous rehearsal and concert schedule. Marguerite L. Brooks

MUS 561b, Johann Sebastian Bach in the 1730s 4 credits. NP. Group B. In the early 1730s, Johann Sebastian Bach’s understanding of his offce in Leipzig underwent a significant change. He had grown increasingly disappointed with the limitations of his position at St. Thomas, and, in 1729, he had taken over the Collegium Musicum, an ensemble of students from the university that performed in local coffeehouses. In 1730 he was also (unsuccessfully) seeking a position in Danzig, and between 1732 and 1736 he repeatedly contacted the Electoral Court in Dresden to award him the title of court composer. In this decade he almost completely abandoned the composition of cantatas for Sunday morning services and worked instead on such large-scale works as the Mass in B Minor and the Christmas Oratorio, as well as a number of secular cantatas for the Dresden court. He also targeted the music market more aggressively, publishing several editions of keyboard music. The seminar explores the reasons for this shift of interest and its compositional consequences. Markus Rathey

MUS 571a–b, 671a–b, 771a–b, Yale Schola Cantorum 1 credit per term. Specialist chamber choir for the development of advanced ensemble skills and expertise in demanding solo roles (in music before 1750 and from the last one hundred years). Enrollment required for voice majors enrolled through the Institute of Sacred Music. David Hill

MUS 594a–b, Vocal Chamber Music 1 credit. This performance-based class requires a high level of individual participation each week. Grades are based on participation in and preparation for class, and two performances of the repertoire learned. Attendance is mandatory. Occasional weekend sessions and extra rehearsals during production weeks can be expected. Students are expected to learn quickly and must be prepared to tackle a sizeable amount of repertoire. James Taylor

MUS 595a–b, 695b, Performance Practice for Singers 1 credit per term. Fall term: An introduction to the major issues of historically informed performance, including notation, use of modern editions, and performance styles. Spring term: Advanced exploration of notation, performance styles, and ornamentation in specific repertoire. Open to conductors and instrumentalists with permission of the instructor. Judith Malafronte

MUS 615a,b, Improvisation at the Organ II 2 credits. This course explores modal improvisation, focusing on the composition techniques of Charles Tournemire and Olivier Messiaen. Students learn to improvise five-movement chant-based suites (Introit-Offertoire-Elevation-Communion-Pièce Terminale), versets, and a variety of free works using late-twentieth-century language. Classes typically are made up of two students, for a one-hour lesson on Mondays. The term culminates with an improvised recital, open to the public. In this recital, each student improvises for up to seven minutes on a submitted theme. Prerequisite: MUS 515. Jeffrey Brillhart

MUS 617a/REL 643a, Music and Theology in the Sixteenth Century 4 credits. NP. Group B. The Reformation in the sixteenth century was a “media event.” The invention of the printing press, the partisanship of famous artists like Dürer and Cranach, and—not least—the support by musicians and composers were responsible for the spreading of the ideas of the Reformation. While Luther gave an important place to music within the liturgy, Zwingli and Calvin were much more skeptical, and even the Catholic church, in the Council of Trent, reconsidered the place and form of music within the liturgy. The course explores how music was viewed by the reformers and the Catholic church and analyzes the theological decisions that formed the basis for their views. Markus Rathey

MUS 656a, Liturgical Keyboard Skills I 2 credits. In this course, students gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for musical genres, both those familiar to them and those different from their own, and learn basic techniques for their application in church service playing. Students learn to play hymns, congregational songs, service music, and anthems from a variety of sources, including music from the liturgical and free church traditions, including the Black Church experience. Hymn playing, with an emphasis on methods of encouraging congregational singing, is the principal focus of the organ instruction, but there is also instruction in chant and anthem accompaniment, including adapting a piano reduction to the organ. In the gospel style, beginning with the piano, students are encouraged to play by ear, using their aural skills in learning gospel music. This training extends to the organ, in the form of improvised introductions and varied accompaniments to hymns of all types. We seek to accomplish these goals by active participation and discussion in class. When not actually playing in class, students are encouraged to sing to the accompaniment of the person at the keyboard, to further their experience of singing with accompaniment, and to give practical encouragement to the person playing. Prerequisite: graduate-level organ and piano proficiency. Walden Moore

MUS 657a, Liturgical Keyboard Skills II 2 credits. The subject matter is the same as for MUS 656, but some variety is offered in the syllabus on a two-year cycle to allow second-year students to take the course without duplicating all of the means by which the playing techniques are taught. Walden Moore

MUS 672a/REL 912a, Sacred Music: Unity and Diversity 4 credits. NP. Group C. What is “sacred music”? The answer depends on the individual perspective, denominational affliation, and also personal musical taste. The course takes an ethnographic approach and explores the use, understanding, and function of sacred music in different local congregations in New Haven. The work in the classroom provides the theoretical and methodological basis, while students each visit one local congregation from a denomination different from their own over several weeks. Students observe the musical practices and engage with members of the clergy and community about questions of “the sacred in music” and the function of music in worship and devotional life. A particular focus of the course is on music that does not represent the Western musical canon. Students conduct and evaluate their research during the term and present their results in a small symposium at the end of the term. Markus Rathey

MUS 715a,b, Improvisation at the Organ III 2 credits. This course explores the improvisation of full organ symphony in four movements, Tryptique (Rondo-Aria-Theme/variations), improvisation on visual images, text-based improvisation, and silent film. Classes typically are made up of two students, for a one-hour lesson on Mondays. The term culminates with an improvised recital, open to the public. In this recital, each student improvises for up to ten minutes on a submitted theme. Prerequisites: MUS 515 and MUS 615. Jeffrey Brillhart

MUS 815a,b, Improvisation at the Organ IV 2 credits. This course explores the improvisation of contrapuntal forms including partimento fugue, stylus fantasticus, fugue d’école, and choral preludes. Prerequisites: MUS 515, 615, and 715. Jeffrey Brillhart