MSC 1003 - Music in Civilization

Summer Session I: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:00-7:30 in Room 6-170
Class 12Thursday, July 05

document iconClass Notes for Session 12 document icon

This will be our Quiz Three day, and Assignments 10-11 are due as well. See the previous class blog for full details on all of that.

Quiz Four News

Our last class and our last quiz will be on Tuesday, July 10. (Then we'll hit all of our remaining presentations, hopefully only 4 or 5 of them.)

The study guide and complete notes are now gathered together on our documents page. Here are the playlists:

Jazz playlist: Youtube / Spotify / Youtube for Phones

Modern Classical playlist: YouTube / Spotify / Youtube for Phones

Assignment #13: Metric Subdivisions

We are throwing one last musical task into the mix for a little variety. This is just for homework, it won't be on the test.

Before you try this exercise, make sure you understand the concept of metric subdivisions (i.e. the little rhythmic divisions inside of each beat.) I have class notes on this. Also, don't forget that there is a free practice on it.

Then, Assignment #13 asks you to listen to a few tracks and indicate whether the beat is being divided in a duple subdivisions or a rolling triplet groove.

This one is due before the last class (Tues, July 10).

If you want even more examples, I do have a youtube playlist of rock and r&b with triple subs. Also, perhaps you will find this interesting: How Triplet Flow Took Over Rap. Even I know what this is about, though this would be my go-to reference.

Assigment #14: Journals

By now you probably know that I am supposed to be looking at everyone's journals, and that this will be a homework credit. I've inserted it into the sequence as #14. If you've given me your journal there is nothing left to do but wait for me to enter the grade.

Assignment #15: Roots of African-American Music

The very beginning of our unit African-American music is covered in another online lesson, and Assignment #15 asks you questions about it.

Due before the last class (Tues, July 10).

Assignment #16: Avant-Garde Classical Music

This used to be our very last lecture in class, and I've spun it off into cyberspace. It works pretty well as an online unit because (by definition) avant-garde music doesn't really rely on what came before. Thus, you can do this at any time, no need to wait.

First, read the online coverage of Avant-Garde music, and then our homework exercise asks you questions.

Due before the last class (Tues, July 10). I would recommend budgeting some time for this - remember that it really is an hour's worth of stuff in real life.

Assignment #17: Quiz Four Preview

All right, this is the last one! Assignment #17 gives you a randomized selection of real questions that may appear on Quiz Four.

Due before the last class (Tues, July 10).

New Orleans-Style Jazz (1900-1930)

Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five (with guest Lonnie Johnson on Guitar), "Hotter Than That" [1927] (Quiz piece)


This is a more recent recreation of the New Orleans sound by Wynton Marsalis and co. You can really hear the marching band influence in the drums here, and in general it just sounds a lot more exciting than these old scratchy records.

Swing Era (1930s and 40s)

Here we looked at how jazz becomes more slick and organized in the 30s and 40s, eventually becoming wildly popular, mainstream entertainment.

Louis Armstrong

Arstrong continues to be important throughout the swing era, though he doesn't really follow the "big band" trend like most other musicians do. In class we usually watch this performance of "Dinah" from 1933.

Duke Ellington

In general I emphasized how Duke Ellington is the most accomplished and "artistic" bandleader of the era. In class we listened to Mood Indigo [1930].

Spotify Link to the original 1930 recording.

We also usually spin "Take the A Train" [1941] which was actually composed by Billy Strayhorn (who worked as an assistant to Ellington.)

Spotify link, original record

But our quiz piece for Ellington and the Swing era is going to be the very moody and atmospheric Ko-Ko [1940].

Spotify Link

Bebop (Mid 40s to present)

Next we moved on to Bebop, which was a reaction against the poppiness of Swing. Basically bebop musicians wanted to take jazz out of the dancehalls and make it challenging again. It was played in small groups and featured a more complex take on harmony, melody, and rhythm.

In class we watched Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker performing "Hot House" in 1951.

and for the quiz we are going to learn this recording of The Charlie Parker Septet (with Miles Davis on trumpet) - "Yardbird Suite" [1946]

Spotify Link

Also in class I played the Miles Davis Quintet's "Four," from 1958. In this more modern studio recording you can really hear the aggressive and propulsive drums and bass.

Spotify Link

Thelonious Monk

We are going to look at one more bebop figure. Monk is a pianist whose playing style and compositions are valued for their fun "off-kilter" quality.

We'll learn this track for the quiz: Thelonious Monk Quartet, "Rhythm-an-ing" from the album Criss-Cross.


Bonus Post-Bebop Composer: Charles Mingus

Bonus Page: Charles Mingus

Mingus is another top-10 jazz figure that we don't have time for in this unit. Not on the quiz.

Cool Jazz (1950s onwards)

This is simply jazz that is much more smooth and laid-back than bebop. I started off by playing something from this TV special, which is very similar to the Miles Davis's album Birth of the Cool:

...and then we focused on Miles Davis, "All Blues" from Kind of Blue [1959] which is both cool and modal. This is a quiz piece.


Avant-Garde Jazz (50s to present)

While Miles was making very relaxed and accessible music others were trying to push jazz to challenging new places.

The most radical figure from this movement is Cecil Taylor, whose music is usually both "free" and "atonal."

The clip I play in class isn't on youtube any more, but here is another performance that you can watch IF YOU DARE

...and I also slipped in this performance from 2014, to show that some people are still doing pretty much the same thing.

Jazz-Rock Fusion (70s onwards)

We watched some more of Ken Burns' Jazz, which showed Miles Davis's conversion to "fusion." Some of the talking heads in the video had negative things to say about it.

For the quiz we will learn Miles Davis, "Spanish Key" from Bitches Brew [1970]