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This course examines Western art music in various political, economic, and aesthetic contexts and seeks to teach listening skills, a critical vocabulary for discussing music, and an appreciation for the complex roles of music in society. We will look at changing genres and styles of music and discuss composers’ choices and assumptions, as well as those of patrons and audiences, moving chronologically from the Classical through the Romantic eras. Students’ critical perceptions and responses to the music and the readings are an integral part of the course.

Instructor: John Smalley holds an MPhil in Historical Musicology from Columbia University, where he taught for six years. He has performed as a vocal soloist throughout the Bay Area and was awarded a prestigious Shenson Performing Arts Fellowship in 2009. He regularly lectures on music and the arts.

Location and time: Koret Auditorium, Main San Francisco Public Library, Lower Level, 100 Larkin St. (at Civic Center BART). Sundays, 12:15–2:30 p.m., November 18 - December 23 (no class 12/9).


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  • John

    We discussed Haydn's approach to sonata form and minuets in his string quartets, as well as Rousseau's ideas on music as expressed in his Confessions and his Essay on the Origin of Languages. We also saw clips from Ingmar Bergman's film version of Mozart's Magic Flute. Great discussion after class at Gyro King across the street from the library.

    November 28, 2012

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