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Music and Art:



Greek Culture in the Ancient World, Western Heritage.



Literature I: Rome-Early Renaissance



The course investigates and traces aesthetic theories in art and music from antiquity to the modern age, and especially emphasizes familiarity with, and understanding and enjoyment of, actual artistic and musical productions. In addition, aesthetics and artistic creativity may be explored as the way in which a specific epoch addresses its problems and ideals, and expresses the sensibilities and culture of its people (e.g., the socio-economic conditions of a period, its achievement in philosophy and literature, and their cross-currents in art and music).


Possible sequence of topics:

The course can be divided into two sections: the first half could be devoted to the visual arts, and the second half could examine how theories in art in one particular period concur with compositional principles in music. For this, some reference to music theory is necessary. The following scheme is given here as a general guideline:
  • The Classical World:
    Principles of classical and post-classical Greek sculpture and architecture.
    Sculpture and architecture in the Roman world view.
  • The Middle Ages:
    Romanesque architecture and sculpture.
    Gothic architecture and sculpture.
    Late medieval painting (book illuminations and fresco) and the emerging concept of space/nature/man.
  • Italian and Northern Renaissance:
    Principles of perspective and colour (Flémalle, van der Weyden, Grünewald, Mantegna, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo). Development of sculpture: Greece/Florentine Renaissance/High (Roman) Renaissance.
  • Baroque, Rococco, Neoclassicism:
    Principles, theories of color, and themes of Baroque painting within disparate expressions of provenance and style; hence, examples from: El Greco, Poussin, Rubens, Caravaggio, Ruisdael, Rembrandt (to be studied in particular during museum visit), Watteau, David
  • Romantic Period:
    Principles of Romantic painting (nature/man/imagination) and their interpretation according to nationality: Germany/England/France
  • Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Expressionism:
    The aesthetic-theoretical significance of the suffix "ism" Color: its new interpretation and the influence of Asia Principles of Chinese and Japanese painting: nature/man; the medium of ink
  • The Emergence of Principles of Music in the West:
    Medieval monophony/polyphony
    The Lutheran hymn
    The Elizabethan ayre
  • The Formation of Music Theories:
    Key notations, dynamics, instruments and equal temperament, the concerto; case in point: Johann Sebastian Bach.
  • The Classical Style:
    Principles of the classical style: the classical concerto vis-à-vis the Baroque concerto; case in point: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  • The Romantic Style and Late Romantic Dissolutions:
    Expansion of dynamics, instruments, orchestra, exploration of keys; case in point: Ludwig van Beethoven; also, Brahms, Berlioz, Debussy, Wagner
  • The Operatic Tradition (Italian, German, and French)
  • Modernism in Music (atonality, etc.)
    Schönberg, Busoni, Stravinsky, Bartok, Shostakovich
Required Texts: Recommended: Dennis J. Sporre, The Creative Impulse (Prentice Hall, 1990).