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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

George S Bozarth
MUHST 509
Seattle Campus

Seminar in Nineteenth-Century Music: 1830-1890

Prerequisite: MUHST 500.

Class description

The image of the bearded, rotund old Brahms is well engraved in the popular imagination.

Was Brahms ever young? beardless? slight in build? Indeed he was!

So what kind of music did this handsome chap from Hamburg compose? How might he have played it? How did the progressive composers Berlioz and Liszt react to it? What were his literary interests? Why did he sign all of his compositions "Johannes Kreisler Jun.? What were his other youthful passions? Was he really put out to play in dives by his parents? How did he get along with girls?!

This seminar will explore the music Brahms composed in his teens, twenties, and early thirties, including a rich array of songs, piano music, choral works, and the chamber music compositions of his so-called "First Maturity." The context into which we shall place these works will include the rise of German cultural and political nationalism, the musical cross-currents in mid-century Germany, and the literary world of the fantasy writer E. T. A. Hoffmann.

MUHST 509 is a graduate-level seminar for music majors and other qualified students. Seniors are welcome to join this seminar upon permission of the instructor (see MUHST 497C). Members of the seminar will do smaller assigned projects in the first five weeks and undertake individual research guided by the professor and fellow students throughout the quarter, culminating in a seminar report to be delivered in class and as a final paper.

I am looking for a lively mix of singers, pianists, and instrumentalists to join this seminar, so that we all can bring a variety of backgrounds to the issues at hand. And is there a German major or two out there keenly interested in music who would like to join us?

Prerequisite: Completion of Music 500 or its equivalent (or permission of the professor).

Student learning goals

Improved skills in thinking and writing about music

How to prepare and present a seminar report—very good preparation for general exams and classroom teaching!

Increased confidence about presenting your historical and analytical finding to your colleagues

Heightened awareness of the cultural and historical contexts of classical music

General method of instruction

Seminar discussions, professor's presentations, individual student research projects leading to class discussion and seminar reports

Recommended preparation

Completion of Music 500 or its equivalent (or permission of the professor). Seniors and graduate students in other fields are also welcome, with the permission of the professor.

Class assignments and grading

Reading, listening, short preparatory assignments, group student presentations, individual seminar reports. The focus will be on the music and its context.

Quality of the short assignments, oral and written seminar report, and participation in seminar discussions


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by George S Bozarth
Date: 08/22/2013