Symbolic Gestures


Course description

Classical music, like fine art, often relies on typical and recognizable gestures to help express the meaning and the message of the music. The gestures may be as simple as choice of instrument to set character or location, or as sophisticated as a pattern of notes packed with symbolic importance meant to connect musical ideas over time and space. Such symbolic gestures—when heard and understood—give the listener endless joy and delight, deepening the listening experience with every audition. In this class, we will consider a host of the most universal and memorable musically-symbolic gestures through some of history’s most remarkable pieces of classical music—unlocking the secrets that composers know and listeners learn, priming the ear, and sharpening the instinct to hear beneath the surface and beyond the obvious. No prior experience in music is required.

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