TIPPING POINTS: THE EVOLUTION OF MUSIC
Grant Innes McLachlan, composer, Department of Music, University of Cape Town
Monday 16–Wednesday 18 January
COURSE FEES R330
In the last five hundred years of European music history, music has been transformed in a series of tipping points – moments when large or dense complex structures give way to new forms which emerge from a desire for simple and accessible musical forms: high Renaissance polyphony gives way to the clarity of the sung word and the birth of opera; the intricate counterpoint of Bach gives way to simple Rococo forms; the unwieldy orchestras and hour-long Mahler symphonies give way to the intimate miniatures of Satie and Webern. It has an analogy in evolution, where long periods of stability reach a tipping point and are followed by short periods of rapid change, after which the cycle returns. In this three-lecture course we will discover which pieces of music spark these tipping points.
1. The age of discovery: from the Renaissance into the Baroque
2. The age of enlightenment: from the Baroque to the Classical; the Classical to Romanticism
3. From the complex to the concise: from Romanticism to Modernism; the avant-garde to Minimalism