Yale Listening to Music with Craig Wright

Yale Listening to Music with Craig Wright

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
Professor Wright introduces the course by suggesting that “listening to music” is not simply a passive activity one can use to relax, but rather, an active and rewarding process. He argues that by learning about the basic elements of Western classical music, such as rhythm, melody, and form, one learns strategies that can be used to understand many different kinds of music in a more thorough and precise way — and further, one begins to understand the magnitude of human greatness. Professor Wright draws the music examples in this lecture from recordings of techno music, American musical theater, and works by Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy and Strauss, in order to introduce the issues that the course will explore in more depth throughout the semester.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction to Listening to Music
03:23 – Chapter 2. Why Listen to Classical Music?
12:14 – Chapter 3. Course Requirements and Pedagogy
21:11 – Chapter 4. Diagnostic Quiz
33:56 – Chapter 5. Pitch
42:04 – Chapter 6. Rhythm
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu
This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
This lecture provides an introduction to basic classical music terminology, orchestral instruments, and acoustics. Professor Wright begins with a brief discussion of the distinctions between such broad terms as “song” and “piece,” briefly mentioning more specific terms for musical genres, such as “symphony” and “opera.” He then moves on to describe the differences between a “motive” and a “theme,” demonstrating the distinction between the two with the use of music by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. Following this, he calls upon three guest instrumentalists on French horn, bassoon, and viola to give a brief performance-introduction to each instrument. He concludes the session with a discussion of acoustics, focusing on the concept of partials, and then brings the lecture to a close with commentary on Richard Strauss’s tone-poem, Death and Transfiguration.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Distinguishing “Songs” from “Pieces”: Musical Lexicon
04:23 – Chapter 2. Genres, Motives, and Themes
16:51 – Chapter 3. Introduction to the French Horn and Partials
23:02 – Chapter 4. The Bassoon and the Viola
29:14 – Chapter 5. Mugorsky and the Basic Principles of Acoustics
40:30 – Chapter 6. Dissonance and Consonance in Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
In this lecture, Professor Wright explains the basic system of Western musical notation, and offers an interpretation of its advantages and disadvantages. He also discusses the fundamental principles of rhythm, elaborating upon such concepts as beat, meter, and discussing in some depth the nature of durational patterns in duple and triple meters. The students are taught to conduct basic patterns in these meters through musical examples drawn from Chuck Mangione, Cole Porter, REM, Chopin, and Ravel.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Advantages and Disadvantages of Musical Notation
14:41 – Chapter 2. Beats and Meters
23:09 – Chapter 3. Exercises Distinguishing Duple and Triple Meters
31:27 – Chapter 4. Conducting Basic Meter Patterns: Exercises with REM, Chopin, and Ravel
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
Professor Wright begins this lecture with a brief introduction to musical acoustics, discussing the way multiple partials combine to make up every tone. He reviews fundamental rhythmic terms, such as “beat,” “tempo,” and “meter,” and then demonstrates in more depth some of the more complex concepts, such as “syncopation” and the “triplet.” Professor Wright then moves on to discuss the basics of musical texture, giving detailed examples of three primary types: monophonic, homophonic, and polyphonic. The class is then taught the basics of rhythmic dictation — skill that entails notating the rhythm of a piece after listening to it. Each of these disparate threads is brought together in the conclusion of the lecture, in which Mozart’s Requiem is shown to weave different rhythms, textures, and pitches together to depict the text effectively.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction to Multiple Partials
04:30 – Chapter 2. Syncopation and Triplets
14:33 – Chapter 3. Basics of Musical Texture
21:57 – Chapter 4. Counting Measures and Musical Dictation
38:15 – Chapter 5. Mozart’s Requiem: Insights on Varying Textures and Pitches
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
This lecture explores the basic nature of melody. Touching on historical periods ranging from ancient Greece to the present day, Professor Wright draws examples from musical worlds as disparate as nineteenth-century Europe and twentieth-century India, China, and America. Professor Wright puts forth a historical, technical, and holistic approach to understanding the way pitches and scales work in music. He concludes his lecture by bringing pitch and rhythm together in a discussion of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
00:00 – Chapter 1. The Nature of Melody
02:37 – Chapter 2. The Development of Notes and the Scale
14:43 – Chapter 3. Major, Minor, and Chromatic Scales in World Music
33:03 – Chapter 4. Pitch and Rhythm in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
This lecture discusses melody and aesthetics; Professor Wright raises the question of what makes a melody beautiful, and uses excerpts from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro to explore this issue. Throughout the discussion, the foundations of classical phrase-structure and harmonic progressions are used to explain some of the choices these three composers made.
00:00 – Chapter 1. What Makes a Melody Beautiful?
05:39 – Chapter 2. Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi: Cadences and Sequences
13:27 – Chapter 3. Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde: Exploring Melodic Ascents and Descents
32:17 – Chapter 4. Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro: Melodic Sequence Analysis
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
Professor Wright explains the way harmony works in Western music. Throughout the lecture, he discusses the ways in which triads are formed out of scales, the ways that some of the most common harmonic progressions work, and the nature of modulation. Professor Wright focuses particularly on the listening skills involved in hearing whether harmonies are changing at regular or irregular rates in a given musical phrase. His musical examples in this lecture are wide-ranging, including such diverse styles as grand opera, bluegrass, and 1960s American popular music.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction to Harmony
03:36 – Chapter 2. The Formation and Changing of Chords
19:50 – Chapter 3. Harmonic Progressions
35:54 – Chapter 4. Major and Minor Harmonies in Popular Music
42:38 – Chapter 5. Modulation through Harmony
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
In this lecture, Professor Wright teaches students how to listen for bass patterns in order to understand harmonic progressions. He talks through numerous musical examples from both popular music and classical music, showing the way that composers from both realms draw on the same chord progressions. The musical examples are taken from Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, Wagner, Gene Chandler, the Beach Boys, Badly Drawn Boy, the Dave Matthews Band, and Justin Timberlake.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Review of Chord Formation
06:44 – Chapter 2. Chord Progressions and Harmonic Change
18:21 – Chapter 3. Popular and Classical Music Chord Progressions
31:12 – Chapter 4. Three-Chord Progressions
37:46 – Chapter 5. Four-Chord Progressions
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
A brief foray into the formal characteristics of contemporary popular music is used to launch this lecture on musical form. After a discussion of the “verse-chorus” form often used in popular music, Professor Wright proceeds to take students into the realm of classical music, focusing particularly on ternary form and sonata-allegro form. Throughout his detailed explanation of sonata-allegro form, he also elaborates upon some harmonic concepts describing, for example, the relationship between relative major and minor keys. This lecture draws its musical examples from ‘N Sync, Mozart, and Beethoven.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Verse-Chorus Form in Popular Music
05:56 – Chapter 2. Introduction to Form in Classical Music
12:18 – Chapter 3. Ternary Form
18:00 – Chapter 4. The Sonata-Allegro Form in Mozart’s “A Little Night Music”
36:19 – Chapter 5. The Sonata-Allegro Form in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
Professor Wright delves into sonata-allegro form in some depth in this lecture. He focuses especially on characterizing four types of music found within a sonata: thematic, transitional, developmental, and cadential. He then moves on to discuss a different form, theme and variations, which is accomplished through the use of examples from Beethoven’s and Mozart’s compositions. Professor Wright and guest artist Kensho Watanabe then conclude the lecture by demonstrating a set of theme and variations through a live performance of Corelli’s La Folia.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction
02:34 – Chapter 2. Parts of the Sonata-Allegro Form
08:18 – Chapter 3. Distinguishing Functional Types within the Sonata-Allegro
20:58 – Chapter 4. Theme and Variations
34:11 – Chapter 5. Examining Theme and Variations in Corelli’s La Folia
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
In this lecture, Professor Wright prepares the students for the upcoming concert they will attend, which will include pieces by Mozart, Brahms, and Beethoven. He discusses each of the pieces that will be on the program, paying special attention to form. Additional classical pieces are used to supplement the discussion of theme and variations and rondo form in the concert pieces. The lecture concludes with an example of rondo form found in a piece by the contemporary popular artist Sting.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction to the Concert Program
05:20 – Chapter 2. Analysis of Theme and Variations as a Form in Brahms’s Composition
24:53 – Chapter 3. Introduction to the Rondo
33:58 – Chapter 4. Rondo in Vivaldi’s Spring Concerto and Mozart’s Horn Concerto
45:10 – Chapter 5. Rondo Form in Sting’s Music and Conclusion
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
In this lecture, Professor Wright discusses the nature of a critical concert review, in preparation for the students’ assignment to review the Saybrook Orchestra’s upcoming concert. The students are also introduced to Bradley Naylor, one of Saybrook Orchestra’s conductors, who talks about what it takes to rehearse and lead an orchestra; Katie Dryden, the principal violist, who demonstrates some of the most interesting viola passages from the pieces on the program; and Elana Kagan, the principal flutist, who performs an excerpt from Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, which will close the concert.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction
03:53 – Chapter 2. Writing a Concert Review
13:45 – Chapter 3. Rehearsing and Leading an Orchestra
32:27 – Chapter 4. Viola Excerpts from the Concert Program
42:40 – Chapter 5. Balancing Solos in the Performance and Conclusion
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
In this lecture, Professor Wright briefly explores the manifestations of the fugue form in poetry, painting, and other disciplines, and then gives a detailed explanation of how fugues are put together in music. Though he uses excerpts by composers as disparate as Georges Bizet and Leonard Bernstein to illustrate his points, he draws his main musical examples from J.S. Bach.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction
02:13 – Chapter 2. The Structure of Fugues
12:31 – Chapter 3. Fugue Analysis in J. S. Bach’s Compositions
29:40 – Chapter 4. Fugue Structures in Excerpts of Bizet and Bernstein
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
This lecture begins with a review of all the musical forms previously discussed in class: sonata-allegro, rondo, theme and variations, and fugue. Professor Wright then moves on to discuss the final form that will be taught before the students’ next exam: ostinato. With the aid of music by Pachelbel, Purcell, and a few popular artists, Professor Wright shows the multitude of ways in which the ostinato bass has been used throughout the past several centuries.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Review of Musical Forms
05:19 – Chapter 2. Multiple Themes within Beethoven’s Third Symphony
22:57 – Chapter 3. The Ostinato Form in Purcell’s Opera
42:12 – Chapter 4. The Pachelbel Canon and Conclusion
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
This lecture begins the third part of the course, which looks at music from a historical perspective. Here Professor Wright focuses on the medieval period. He discusses chant, and its role in the lives of monks and nuns in medieval monasteries, convents, and cathedrals. He then moves on to briefly discuss polyphony. The lecture is supplemented by visuals of cathedrals, monasteries, and medieval illuminations, as well as recordings of monophonic chant by the eleventh-century polymath Hildegard of Bingen, anonymous polyphony, polyphony by the Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi Palestrina, and a recording of the last papal castrato, Alessandro Moreschi.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Gregorian Chants in the Medieval Period
07:14 – Chapter 2. Religious Influence on Early Music: The Roles of Monks and Nuns
16:56 – Chapter 3. Chant Analysis of Hildegard’s “O Greenest Branch”
26:56 – Chapter 4. From Monophony to Polyphony: A Cappella of the Sistine Chapel
46:22 – Chapter 5. Conclusion
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
In this lecture, Professor Wright discusses the Baroque period through a detailed look at the life and music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He first takes the students through the basics of Bach’s life, showing slides of the towns and buildings in which Bach and his family lived. Professor Wright then discusses Bach’s music, and techniques of Baroque music in general, within the context of the composer’s life. The lecture concludes with a discussion of the Advent cantata Bach wrote based on the chorale “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme.”
00:00 – Chapter 1. A Brief Biography of J. S. Bach
16:48 – Chapter 2. Bach’s Music and Characteristics of Baroque Style
28:08 – Chapter 3. Bach’s “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme”: Discussion and Analysis
46:15 – Chapter 4. Bach’s Legacy in Musical History
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
Mozart and the nature of his life and work make up the topic of this lecture. Professor Wright begins by discussing the basic ways in which classical music differs from Baroque music. He then launches an exploration of Mozart’s life and compositional process, making use of Mozart’s letters and compositional sketches to illustrate his points. The lecture culminates with a performance of select scenes from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, featuring guest singer Professor Richard Lalli.
00:00 – Chapter 1. From Baroque to Classical Music — An Introduction
04:25 – Chapter 2. Glimpses of Mozart’s Life in Letters
13:25 – Chapter 3. Musical Balance and Genius in Mozart’s Compositional Sketches
34:20 – Chapter 4. Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Conclusion
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
This lecture addresses the history of the modern piano and its music. Undertaking a detailed discussion of the different forms of the piano from the early eighteenth through twentieth centuries, Professor Wright also shows how the instrument evolved through a variety of photographs and paintings. He further supplements the lecture by playing recordings that were made on the pianos actually owned by such composers as Mozart and Beethoven. The lecture ends with a guest piano performance by Yale undergraduate Daniel Schlossberg, Jr.
00:00 – Chapter 1. The History of the Piano — The Harpsichord
02:25 – Chapter 2. Mozart’s Exploration of the Pianoforte
13:31 – Chapter 3. Beethoven’s Music for his Broadwood Piano
23:43 – Chapter 4. Increasing Range and Power — The Graf Piano, Liszt, and Wagner
35:30 – Chapter 5. Guest Piano Performance by Daniel Scholssberg, Jr.
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
This lecture focuses on opera and the operatic voice, from the Romantic period to the present. Professor Wright integrates a discussion of one of the most often-performed and famous operas in the Western canon, Verdi’s La Traviata, with a discussion of vocal performance practice. For the latter, he uses recordings of singers from the early to late twentieth century as examples of different types of voices and the ways in which aesthetic values about the voice have changed throughout the past hundred years.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction to Opera
05:08 – Chapter 2. Verdi’s La Traviata: The First Aria
19:36 – Chapter 3. The Scena in Opera
26:59 – Chapter 4. Critical Assessment of Vocal Performance
33:06 – Chapter 5. Major Opera Singers of the 20th and 21st Centuries
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
The history and development of the symphony is the topic of this lecture. Professor Wright leads the students from Mozart to Mahler, discussing the ways in which the genre of symphonic music changed throughout the nineteenth century, as well as the ways in which the make-up of the symphony orchestra itself evolved during this period. The changes in the nature of orchestral music are contextualized within the broader historical changes taking place in Europe in the nineteenth century. The lecture is supplemented with musical excerpts drawn from Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Wagner, and Mahler.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction to Symphonies
08:52 – Chapter 2. Historical Changes in Strings and Woodwind Instruments
15:27 – Chapter 3. The Development of the Brass Family
23:22 – Chapter 4. The Growing Orchestra: Capacities and Limits in the 19th Century
29:52 – Chapter 5. Accommodating Orchestras: The Advent of Concert Halls
35:27 – Chapter 6. Gustav Mahler, the Symphony Composer
47:33 – Chapter 7. Conclusion
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
In this lecture, Professor Wright teaches the students about musical Impressionism. While his discussion focuses on the music of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, he nonetheless draws examples from other composers, as well as painters and poets who worked with a similar aesthetic style during the same time period. The class concludes with a performance of Ravel’s “Ondine” by guest pianist Naomi Woo.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction to Musical Impressionism
09:00 – Chapter 2. Debussy’s Musical Responses to Mallarme’s Poetry
27:00 – Chapter 3. La Cathedrale Engloutie — Interactions between Impressionist Painters and Musicians
35:18 – Chapter 4. Ravel’s Ondine: A Violin Performance by Naomi Woo
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
In this final formal lecture of the course, Professor Wright discusses Modernism, focusing on Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. He explores several musical reasons why The Rite of Spring caused a riot at its 1913 Paris premiere. Professor Wright then goes on to share with the class one of his favorite pieces, by Gustav Mahler, the orchestral Lied “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen.” After an enumeration of this piece’s qualities, Professor Wright ends the class with a paean to classical music and an exhortation to all to preserve this great tradition.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction to Modernism: Elements in Stravinsky’s Ballet Scores
08:14 – Chapter 2. Creating the Dissonance and Irregularities in Rites of Spring
20:26 – Chapter 3. Mahler’s “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen”: An Exploration
46:43 – Chapter 4. The Values of Saving Classical Music and Conclusion
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Listening to Music (MUSI 112)
This review session teaches students how to identify the various time periods of Western music history, through careful listening and close attention to the musical-stylistic characteristics of a given piece. Professor Wright plays several musical examples culled from different historical periods, and then guides the students in identifying a variety of musical features that can be used to figure out approximately when the music was written.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction
03:49 – Chapter 2. Identifying Different Musical Styles
17:44 – Chapter 3. Review of Gregorian Chants
22:56 – Chapter 4. Listening Exercises for Modernist and Classical Music
32:25 – Chapter 5. Distinguishing Classical and Romantic Music
41:29 – Chapter 6. Final Exercise and Conclusion
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.