Project Title

Broadening the Western Music Theory Canon

Academic department under which the project should be listed

COTA - Music

Faculty Sponsor Name

Peter Fielding

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Classical Music Theory practiced and taught around the world is built off an echo chamber of the same handful of prominent composers during the 1800s such as W.A. Mozart, Franz Schubert, and Ludwig van Beethoven. Consequently, those handful of men that decided how music should be written have been used as the premier examples of key concepts within undergraduate music theory, leaving little to no room for women and BIPOC composers spanning from the classical period to modern times to have fair representation. In recent years, large equality movements, such as Black Lives Matter and marches for gender equality, have brought these issues within the classical music world to light, creating a real need to discuss how musicians can improve their art and include people with more diverse backgrounds to participate and love the artform. This project aims to continue to focus on unrepresented groups of composers, giving them a platform to be heard and shared to growing students within the undergraduate Music Theory and Aural Skills curriculum. To achieve this, we have looked through numerous scores written by women and BIPOC composers within the KSU library and online music databases such as The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) and websites of current living women and BIPOC composers. Currently, each student has focused on a specific composer and studied their works and how they can be used as examples for different lessons used within these classes. Continued search of these compositions showed that they fell right in line with the studies of Music Theory and Aural Skills, giving the argument to push for a broadened spectrum of music theory within universities. This diversity not only expands the Music Theory Canon from its long use of the classical period but allows for the expansion of students’ admiration and knowledge towards BIPOC and women composers. We concluded that it is important to include these works of composers with diverse backgrounds to broaden and expand the repertoire that students face in the classroom as well as allow for a space for classical music to grow beyond the generic operas and symphonic works that most listeners hold dear. Without this change, classical music will continue to stay within a small group of individuals and cease to grow due to its image of lack of inclusivity.

Disciplines

Music Pedagogy | Music Theory

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

How will this be presented?

Yes, synchronously via Teams

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Broadening the Western Music Theory Canon

Classical Music Theory practiced and taught around the world is built off an echo chamber of the same handful of prominent composers during the 1800s such as W.A. Mozart, Franz Schubert, and Ludwig van Beethoven. Consequently, those handful of men that decided how music should be written have been used as the premier examples of key concepts within undergraduate music theory, leaving little to no room for women and BIPOC composers spanning from the classical period to modern times to have fair representation. In recent years, large equality movements, such as Black Lives Matter and marches for gender equality, have brought these issues within the classical music world to light, creating a real need to discuss how musicians can improve their art and include people with more diverse backgrounds to participate and love the artform. This project aims to continue to focus on unrepresented groups of composers, giving them a platform to be heard and shared to growing students within the undergraduate Music Theory and Aural Skills curriculum. To achieve this, we have looked through numerous scores written by women and BIPOC composers within the KSU library and online music databases such as The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) and websites of current living women and BIPOC composers. Currently, each student has focused on a specific composer and studied their works and how they can be used as examples for different lessons used within these classes. Continued search of these compositions showed that they fell right in line with the studies of Music Theory and Aural Skills, giving the argument to push for a broadened spectrum of music theory within universities. This diversity not only expands the Music Theory Canon from its long use of the classical period but allows for the expansion of students’ admiration and knowledge towards BIPOC and women composers. We concluded that it is important to include these works of composers with diverse backgrounds to broaden and expand the repertoire that students face in the classroom as well as allow for a space for classical music to grow beyond the generic operas and symphonic works that most listeners hold dear. Without this change, classical music will continue to stay within a small group of individuals and cease to grow due to its image of lack of inclusivity.

blog comments powered by Disqus