Music Resources - DANC-GT 2043 - Spring 2012 Syllabus

Revised January 22, 2012

Instructor: Allen Fogelsanger, adjunct faculty
alf431 [at] nyu [dot] edu
Department of Dance, Institute of Performing Arts
Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

Course Objectives

The goal of the course is to improve the student's understanding of music in practical ways that will help in building a successful career as a dancer and choreographer.

The course will continue the study of the elements of music (rhythm, melody, harmony and timbre) begun in DANC-GT 2042, as well as provide fundamental training in analyzing musical form in pieces ranging from small-scale folk and popular tunes to large-scale orchestral works. This will involve practice in listening, score-reading, performing, composing, choreographing, analytical writing, and oral presentation.

The course uses Aaron Copland's book What to Listen for in Music, but it is organized around engagement with a series of musical works. These pieces may be characterized as leading through two threads of ideas. The first builds on the emphasis on rhythm in DANC-GT 2042 by following a sequence of percussion scores, providing examples of mixed meter and polyrhythm and introducing timbre as a musical element. The second thread leads through more traditional works and their classical formal structures. Adjustments in both threads may be made as the course progresses.

Course Requirements

The major projects of the term will be:
  1. Performance of a movement of John Cage's Quartet for percussion.
  2. Composition of short musical works
  3. Analyses of musical pieces.
    1. A five-minute in-class presentation of a one-minute piece
    2. A five-to-eight page paper analyzing two four-minute pieces
    3. A choreography to a three-minute piece of music with a five-to-eight page paper analyzing the work and how the dance fits it.
  4. A listening journal of term-long on-line listening in a wide variety of styles.
Additionally there will be work in class and smaller projects.

Grading Percentages

Academic Integrity

Each student in this course is expected to abide by the New York University Policy on Academic Integrity. Any work submitted by a student in this course for academic credit will be the student's own work.

Class Attendance and Participation

Participation means being prepared by having read or listened to the assigned materials and engaging in conversation (if not debate) with other students and the instructor. It means having a movement assignment or project ready to show the class.

Only two absences of any kind are allowed (excused or unexcused). Any absence above two will result in a reduction of the final grade. Only in extreme situations will there be exceptions to this policy. Two latenesses will constitute one absence.


The timetable for projects and lectures remains flexible and is set week by week, depending on the needs of the class. The pace of the class and the particular assignments remain dependent on how fast the class learns and what would expedite learning of the material. In general the pop analysis will be completed early in the term, the classical analysis will be due later in the term and the listening journal will be due at the last class of the term.

The course will always be attacking many subjects at once--in any class meeting a number of works will be examined--so of necessity students will need to multi-task. Taking notes is essential because there is no single text to which to refer.


I. Textbook II. Thread on percussion and timbre III. Thread on structure and forms