Bill Alves - Current Courses
- HSA 10 - Critical Inquiry: Minimalism.
This seminar course of the college Core introduces students to inquiry, writing, and research in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts, through focused exploration of a particular topic in each section. In the explosive 1960s, the mantra that "less is more" ricocheted across American culture, impacting visual arts, music, fiction, film, dance, and even fashion. Taken broadly, minimalist impulses have since resonated throughout the arts, their influences perhaps as profound as any artistic trend of the twentieth century and even the twenty-first. Rather than considering different types of art in isolation, this class will give you the chance to analyze and critique ways in which culture is reflected across multiple art forms. In addition to reading fiction, history, and criticism, we will also listen to music and view art and film (though no previous musical or artistic experience is expected). While exploring these topics, you will develop research skills, critical skills, and continue your development as a writer.
- Media Studies 127 - The Harmony of Sound and Light.
This course introduces the striking arts of abstract light and color, sometimes known as "visual music," from early "color organs," to musical theories of abstract artists, masters of the non-objective film animation such as Oskar Fischinger, early computer animators such as John Whitney, to 21st-century VJs. However, the emphasis in this class will be on the aesthetic background to this history and its application in students' own creative projects.
- Music 3 - Fundamentals of Music.
This course covers the basics of theory, notation, and composition of music of the European tradition. It is largely a skills based course, intended to give students tools to help achieve creative goals such as composition, reading music in performance, or analyzing scores. It is a prerequisite to more advanced music theory courses, such as MUS 101 and 102 at Scripps College. Although students come to this class with a variety of backgrounds, from no musical experience at all to some years of experience reading music, all can benefit from learning or reviewing a consistent sequence of skills and applying them analytically and creatively.
- Music 49 - American Gamelan Ensemble.
Rehearsal and performance of new compositions for instruments adapted from the gamelan, a Javanese orchestra of metallophones and gongs. No prior experience on these instruments is required, but some ability to read Western music notation is a prerequisite.
- Music 63 - Music of the Peoples of the World.
This course will cover the fundamentals of music and listening through a survey of traditional music around the world. Among those cultures covered will be those of sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Japan, China, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Neither an ability to read music nor any other background in music is required.
- Music 67 - Film Music.
An exploration of the history and aesthetics of the use of music in cinema, primarily the Hollywood film from the so-called silent era to the present. The course will include the development of skills of listening analysis and writing about music in the context of narrative film. No background in music or film history is required.
- Music 88 - Introduction to Computer Music.
This course will cover the basics of using a general purpose computer to generate and manipulate digital sounds. The primary software used will be Csound, though we will also make use of MIDI software and digital multitrack recording. A background in coding is helpful, but not required. We will also consider the artistic applications of computer music technologies, though a background in music also not required. Most of the coursework will consist of short hands-on projects as well as a major final project.
- Music 104 - Music Since 1900.
The explosive changes of the last hundred years have created one of the most
tumultous but exciting periods of the arts in history. Art music has matched the last
century's diversity and change, mirrored its excitement and tragedies. As we move into
the twenty-first century art music has continued to challenge as it has begun to break
down barriers between high and low art, between East and West, old and new. This course
is a creative look at these multifaceted styles, techniques, and expressions that
have made art music so powerful. Prerequisite: Ability to read scores.
- Writing 1 - Introduction to Academic Writing
A seminar devoted to effective writing strategies and conventions that apply across academic disciplines. The course emphasizes clarity, concision, and coherence in sentences, paragraphs, and arguments.
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Updated on January 10, 2018 by Bill Alves alves @ hmc.edu.