Graduate Courses 2021-22

A current listing of the graduate courses for 2021-2022 is available below (subject to change). For further information on course content, please consult the instructor directly.

Fall 2021

Music 505: Bibliography and Methods of Research
Fall 2021: Friday 1:00-3:50 pm
Instructor: Maryam Moshaver

This course combines exploration of a range of research methods with the practical problems of defining and expressing a research topic or constructing and presenting a creative activity or program as research. In addition, we will learn the conventions of citation and discuss how various citations styles convey information in academic contexts. Emphasis is on a variety of writing genres including grant proposals, program notes, and annotated bibliographies, as well as on individual textual elements such as footnotes, abstracts, etc., through writing exercises and analysis of examples from the literature. The course will focus on research apparatus and development of research questions, but not on the production of a research work or final paper as such. Emphasis is on bibliographical resources, critical reading, discussion, and collaborative learning.

Music 365/565:  Topics in Ethnomusicology: Persian Art Music
Fall 2021: Tuesday, Thursday 2:00-3:20 pm
Instructor: Nasim Ahmadian

This course is an introduction to topics in ethnomusicology with a special focus on the art music of Iran, also known as “Persian classical/art music”. This combined course, MUSIC 365 (Topics in Ethnomusicology) and MUSIC 565 (Area Studies in Ethnomusicology), explores the musical sounds and traditions of Iran as one of the central cultural regions of the Persianate world and Central Asia. The course aims to familiarize students with many fundamental themes and topics of ethnomusicology through combining critical reading on the diverse and vast dimensions of cultural, lingual, socio-political, historical, and musical contexts of Iran as a selected area of study.

This course will extend from the question of "What is ethnomusicology?" in general and its frameworks toward various aspects of musical practice, concepts and expressions, history, aesthetics, and topics such as music and emotion, identity, religion, music and media, music education, ritual and urban life, and gender issues. The course will focus on Persian/Iranian art and classical music, along with interesting intersections with other genres such as folk music, ritual, and Iranian pop music.

This is a lecture-based course, also including class discussions, collaborative music activities, and audiovisual material. No formal knowledge of music, ethnomusicology, Persian language, Iran, Islam, or the Middle East is a prerequisite for taking this course. As a combined section, the readings and assignments will be adjusted based on the undergraduate and graduate requirements and levels of students.

Music 487/587: Cultures of Romanticism
Fall 2021: Wednesday 1:00-3:50 pm
Instructor: Fabio Morabito

“Romanticism” is a contested term. For someone with an English degree, it tends to refer to literature from the 1780s to the 1830s. But in music unambiguous uses of “romantic” are harder to come by. Neither when conceived as a set of stylistic features, nor as an era of Western art music does the term provide a precise, adequate characterization. Indeed, it would be a stretch to say that most music from that period is about or “has the tone of medieval epics”, which is the original meaning of “romantic”. How can we use the term meaningfully, then? Cultures of Romanticism is a seminar that investigates critically the interests and innovations (technological, social, political, etc.) that instigated new ways of writing/reading literature, creating/watching spectacles or composing/listening to music in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. We will focus on the popular fascination with travel and wandering; nature, science and medical imaginaries; animated statues and the limits of the human; sexual power, irrational desires and vulnerability; urban nightmares; the gothic (watch this short video to get a taste!), uncanny and supernatural; antiquarianism; notions of artistic labor and copyright; poetics of decline, disability and depression; and more. Many of these themes, such as the appeal of fantastic worlds or superpowers, have survived long after the nineteenth century (one need think only about the success of the Harry Potter franchise). Exploring cultures of Romanticism is thus an opportunity to make sense not of a historical period, but of the ways that still make us experience music as an alternative, fabled reality.

Music 645: Special Topics in Applied Music Technology:  Electronic Music Hardware, the Arduino
Fall 2021: Tuesday, Thursday 3:30-4:50 pm
Instructor: Mark Hannesson

This course will focus on the Arduino microprocessor.  The Arduino allows the physical world to be connected to your computer.  Input comes in through sensors, and output can be used to control anything from sound to light to robotics.  We will go through a series of projects beginning with “push a button, turn on a light” to designing our own controller for computer music.  No previous experience with soldering or programming is necessary. 

Music 665: Proseminar in Ethnomusicology

Fall 2021: Monday 1:00-3:50 pm
Instructor: Julia Byl

This course will introduce you to the fundamentals of the academic study of world music (broadly concieved), ethnomusicology. We aim to understand how ethnomusicology has developed into its current diverse forms, incorporating popular, traditional, and court music; music of individuals and music of communities; sounds and structures as well as instruments; political and historical as well as cultural contexts. This course moves through some of the major developments in ethnomusicology, including forays into anthropology, linguistics, musicology, and area studies, and pays attention to the different methodological tools used in this field of research. You should develop both a familiarity with some major ethnomusicological thinkers and ideas, and an idea of how to employ their insights within your own research endeavors.

Winter 2022

Music 548: Middle Eastern and North African Music Ensemble
Winter 2022: Thursday 6:30-9:30 pm
Instructor: M. Frishkopf

The University of Alberta Middle Eastern and North African Music Ensemble (MENAME; is a University of Alberta course and a community group for the study and performance of music from Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Berber, Hebrew, Nubian, Kurdish, Armenian, and other musical-linguistic communities of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as fusions thereof. Our aim is to learn and appreciate these musical traditions, to use music as a gateway towards broader intercultural understanding, and as a means of forming and maintaining a harmonious intercultural musical community here in Edmonton, bridging all divisions, especially those of ethnicity, nationality, language, and religion. The course combines academic and performance components. Our repertoire covers various gamuts, from specialized "high art" to participatory folk, from local to regional, from old to new. Besides studying pieces from the region (mostly songs), we also focus on regional musical concepts (tonal and rhythmic) in theory and practice, through a series of in-class exercises developing the ears in new directions. The group gathers diverse members: musicians interested in traditions of the region; university students studying the region's culture, society and history; members of language communities; and anyone else who wishes to participate. Neither musical training, nor knowledge  musical notation, nor the ability to play an instrument, nor fluency in regional languages is a prerequisite. Besides regular meetings, there will be a final concert.  Graduate students will also prepare a term paper on a relevant approved topic of their choice.

Music 495/595: The Business of Music
Winter 2022: Wednesday 6:00-8:50 pm
Instructor: Guillaume Tardif

Across the world, people engage with and consume music in one way or the other. As musicians create, notate, perform, and record music, the product of their labor is assigned value in the marketplace. How is this consumption organized, how is this value assigned? What are the mechanisms and who are the intermediaries bringing music and musicians into the marketplace? How do artists protect distinctive work or products – and ultimately continue their work and pursue a rewarding career in music? In this course, we take a tour of the possibilities of the music industry, by describing the mechanisms, actors, and technologies that allow music to reach and find value in the market. We also take a look at how musical organizations work and the roles people play in them. How can one become better prepared to ‘face the music’ and leverage existing resources -i.e., create value and make strategic decisions? Through lectures, readings, assignments (individual and in groups), discussions and other class activities, the course introduces business concepts and music-related contexts. The overall objectives are to develop a greater understanding of both fields (Music and Business) and to develop skills that may become useful in the world of music today.

Music 581: Special Topics - Playing with Sound: Video Games, Sound, and Music
Winter 2022: Tuesday, Thursday 9:30 - 10:50 am
Instructor: Scott Smallwood

In this seminar, we will explore topics surrounding the use of audio and music in video games through readings, films, and the games themselves. In exploring sound, we will interrogate the many uses of sound in games, from sound effects, dialog, and music to sound puzzles and experimental audio mechanics. We will also look at trends in 3D sound, including binaural and ambisonic sound. Students will be expected not only to read about games, but also to play them! A games list will be distributed early in the semester, along with readings and other forms of media discussing games and game theory.  Note:  this course is also available to upper-level undergraduates as MUSIC 481.

Music 614: Proseminar in Musicology
Winter 2021: Monday 1:00-3:50 pm
Instructor: Fabio Morabito

This is a proseminar studying current debates in musicology. It sets out to survey the history, issues, methodologies and latest directions of research in this field. One of the proseminar aims is to study methodology and epistemology, asking what the study of music should do and be. Another aim is to ensure familiarity with a wide range of approaches and tools used in research on music today. Topics will include: the beginnings of the discipline in the nineteenth century with projects of complete editions of music by a selected group of white-male-European composers of the past; questions of historiography, such as what is a fact of music history; questions of materiality and ontology, such as what is a musical object; debates on the role of (Western) musical literacy in higher education today; methods to study the act of performance – or that of listening – rather than just that of composition; postcolonial perspectives and the project of a global music history; issues of gender, sexuality, race, ecocriticism and social justice; and the future of music studies.

Music 633: Seminar in Choral Literature I
Winter 2022: Monday, Wednesday 9:30-10:50 am
Instructor: Gregor Kokorz

This seminar focuses on choral music from the Medieval to early Classical periods (ca. 1800); representative works from each period are studied, with a view to placing them in historical context, as well as tracing musical influences and the emergence of particular forms (both sacred and secular). Admission is open to all graduate students, and this course is required along with Music 634 (Graduate Choral Literature II, offered in alternating years) by graduate students in the choral conducting program. A variety of seminar presentations and written papers are required, but no examination is given at the end of the class.

Music 651: Time and Form
Winter 2022: Wednesday 1:00-3:50 pm
Instructor: Maryam Moshaver

The enigmatic character of time as the dominating medium of musical works, and the reciprocal relation between time and form (as transformation, process, interruption, continuity, repetition, structure, etc.) has been the locus of wide-ranging philosophical, aesthetic, and theoretical speculation. This course will focus on the expressions of this intersection through texts in philosophy and aesthetics (Hegel, Husserl, Adorno, Mann, Deleuze, Merleau-Ponty), and the theoretical writings of modernist composers including Schoenberg, Webern, Messiaen, Boulez, Stockhausen, Ligeti, and others. The repertoire we examine in the course of the semester will correspond to the musical works discussed in the readings.

Music 666: Field Methods in Ethnomusicology
Winter 2022: Tuesday, 9:00-11:50 am
Instructor: M. Frishkopf

This course centers on ethnographic fieldwork, as applied to the study of society and culture, with a focus on sound and music. While geared especially for ethnomusicologists, its broad coverage of theoretical and ethical issues, fieldwork techniques, inclusion of multimedia technology, and a pedagogy of learning-by-doing (from proposal writing, to fieldnotes, to shooting video) will prove useful to students in a wide variety of disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, education, and political science. Ethnomusicology may be defined as "the meaningful social practice of studying music as a meaningful social practice" (Frishkopf 2011). Within music studies, ethnomusicology's most distinctive practical feature is fieldwork, the principal component of the ethnographic enterprise upon which most ethnomusicological (and cultural anthropological) research is based. This course aims to provide you with strategies for the acquisition of field methods -- including theoretical, critical and practical dimensions (related to declarative, critical, and procedural (method) knowledge)-- enabling you to perform critical ethnographic fieldwork, to gather ethnomusicological data, and to develop musical ethnographies.