ENG480H1F - L0301

Advanced Studies Seminar: Writing About Music


Wednesday 1 pm - 3 pm


P. Downes

E-mail: paul.downes@utoronto.ca

Brief Description of Course

How do we describe music in words? What figures of speech do writers employ to convey the force or the beauty of musical compositions? What makes for a successful or effective piece of critical or creative writing about music? This course will try to answer these questions (and others) by looking at a wide range of essays, stories and poems that celebrate, evaluate, theorize, or otherwise attempt to translate the impact of classical, jazz and popular musical performances.

Required Reading(s)

Byrne, How Music Works; Jones, Black Music; Brith and Goodwin, eds. On Record: Rock, Pop and the Written Word; Ross, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century; Murakami and Ozawa, Absolutely on Music: Conversations; Rose, The Hip Hop Wars; and the Course Reader

First Three Authors/Texts

  • Byrne
  • Frith
  • Jones

Method of Evaluation

  • Review essays of recorded and live musical performances (2 x 40%)
  • Presentation (20%)