Jazz Studies Minor
As a jazz studies minor, you will explore and gain a deepened understanding of jazz—a genre of music essential to our understanding of American history, and to the broader context of musical history as a whole. Through a variety of course requirements, ranging from theory classes to applied music classes to historical analysis, you will explore jazz music from the lens of multiple disciplines. In this sense, you will gain a truly comprehensive understanding of jazz music and its significance through this minor.
Introduction to the jazz music language as a preparation for the study of improvisation. The course of study consists of basic music theory including music-reading skills and notation, scales, intervals, and triads. An introduction to extended tertian chords as derived from the twenty-one modes of the major, melodic and harmonic minor scales forms the basis of the jazz harmonic language. The study of chord progression and chord substitution, song form, and the blues prepares the student for a detailed study of the modern jazz language.
This course will address the role of jazz within the context of twentieth-century African American and American cultural history, with particular emphasis on the ways in which jazz has shaped, and has been shaped by, ideas about race, gender, economics, and politics. We will make use of recordings and primary sources from the 1910s to the present in order to address the relationship between jazz performances and critical and historical thinking about jazz. This course is not a survey, and students should already be familiar with basic jazz history.