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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jonathan W Bernard
MUSIC 485
Seattle Campus

Topics in the Analysis of American Music

Includes close analytical study of specific repertoires of American music.

Class description

Music 485 is a new course this year, intended to treat a different topic each time it is offered. In Spring 2013, it will be devoted to a study of the music of FRANK ZAPPA, following a generally chronological path from his earliest days as an R&B musician through his development into a virtuoso guitarist and bandleader, songwriter of a remarkably original bent, and composer in both orchestral and digital realms.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The working plan for this course is to teach it as a small lecture with plenty of time for interjected discussion; depending upon size of enrollment, it may be possible for it to function more like a seminar.

Recommended preparation

I would urge ANYONE with an interest in Zappa's music, ranging from casual to passionate, to consider taking this course. If you haven't taken or completed the history and theory core for music majors--usually prerequisite for 400-level courses--come and talk to me anyway. For this particular course, depending on your background, I am prepared to be quite lenient about this requirement, since traditional theory background and historical study are not of great relevance to most of the contents of this course.

Class assignments and grading

A lot of listening; some reading. Actual sheet music or scores are often unavailable for Zappa's music, so analysis through listening will be all the more important.

Two shorter analysis and/or writing assignments evenly spaced over the first 6-7 weeks or so; one longer paper due at the end of the quarter. Class participation will also count as part of the grade.


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 Jonathan W Bernard
Date: 02/03/2013