21M.542 Interdisciplinary Approaches to Musical Time

As taught in: January IAP 2010

Photo of an ornate clockface with sun and moon hands, adjacent to statues of a skeleton and musician.

The medieval Prague Astronomical Clock has dials for astronomical details and calendar months, and an hourly show of the biblical Apostles and other figures. (Photo courtesy of Jorge-11 on Flickr.)




Dr. Martin Marks

Prof. Marcus A Thompson

Dr. Charles Shadle

Course Description

This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of three broad topics concerning music in relation to time.

  1. Music as Architecture: the creation of musical shapes in time;
  2. Music as Memory: how musical understanding depends upon memory and reminiscence, with attention to analysis of musical structures; and
  3. Time as the Substance of Music: how different disciplines such as philosophy and neuroscience view the temporal dimension of musical processes and/or performances.

Classroom discussion of these topics is complemented by three weekend concerts with pre-concert forums, jointly presented by the Boston Chamber Music Society (BCMS) and MIT Music & Theater Arts.