Peter Row
Teaching

Courses taught by Peter Row at New England Conservatory

Rudra Vina

Graduate School:

Introduction to Ethnomusicology

Introduces students to the discipline of ethnomusicology through readings and discussion of Bruno Nettl’s Studies in Ethnomusicology. In conjunction with the text, the course also examines in some depth the music of Edo Period Japan, the music of the Navajos and the classical instrumental tradition of North India. (Department of Music History and Musicology)

Music of India

The classical traditions of North and South India are explored extensively, focusing on instrumental and vocal styles, repertoires and improvisation with special reference to the concepts of raga and tala. (Department of Music History and Musicology)

Traditions of Music Drama in Asia

Examination of important traditions of music drama in Asian cultures, with special attention to: Kathak, Bharatanatyam and Kathakali dance forms in India; Wayang Kulit (Shadow puppet theater), Wayang Wong (music drama) and Topeng (masked dance) in Indonesia; Peking Opera in China and Taiwan, and; Noh Drama, Kabuki Theater and Bunraku (puppet theater) in Japan. (Department of Music History and Musicology)

Asian Modal Systems

Based, in part, on Harold Powers’ profoundly important contribution to the study of modal concepts, this course explores the nature of modality across and within several musical cultures: Arab, Persian, Indian, Javanese, Chinese and Japanese. The theoretical systems of each culture are studied and area applied analytically to pieces within the repertoire of each culture. (Department of Graduate Theoretical Studies)

Ragas and Talas

A close examination of the concepts of raga and tala as a generative grammars for composition and improvisation in North Indian (Hindustani) music. Many types of ragas and talas are analyzed in the context of various performance traditions drawing, in part, from descriptive models developed by Bharatamuni (Natyasastra, c. 200 AD), Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande (Kramik Pustak Malika, 1954-9), Walter Kaufmann (The Ragas of North India, 1968), and Nazir Jairazbhoy (The Rags of North Indian Music, 1971). (Department of Graduate Theoretical Studies)

Indian Modal Improvisation

A course designed to offer introductory instruction in Indian musical performance to western musicians on western instruments. Alap and gat forms are studied in the context of several complex ragas and talas. Special attention is given to the rendering of Indian melodic ornamentation on western instruments. (Department of Contemporary Improvisation)

Issues and Trends in American Music

Through presentations from many voices within and outside the Conservatory, readings and group discussions, the class will explore the dimensions of American music, learn something about various streams of musical activity in America, attempt to understand what is “American” about American music, consider the impact of regional and ethnic musical subcultures and “world music,” grapple with the potential impact of technology and consider today’s trends as indicators of the future. (Department of Contemporary Improvisation)

Third Stream Methodology

Through guided and independent student projects, the class will study pieces from the repertoires of a variety of Asian music traditions. These study projects will involve the development of specialized analytical skills which, in turn, will lead to increasingly challenging creative work. In particular the process will involve successive stages of study for each piece: contextual frames of reference (repertoire, style, performing forces, creative process, etc.), transcription, deconstruction, analysis, reconstuction and recomposition. (Department of Contemporary Improvisation)

Studio Instruction in sitar and modal improvisation

Weekly hour or half hour lessons are available through the Improvisation and Contemporary Improvisation programs

Offerings available to both Graduate and Undergraduate students:

Indian Modal Improvisation

A course designed to offer introductory instruction in Indian musical performance to western musicians on western instruments. Alap and gat forms are studied in the context of several complex ragas and talas. Special attention is given to the rendering of Indian melodic ornamentation on western instruments. (Department of Contemporary Improvisation)

Issues and Trends in American Music

Through presentations from many voices within and outside the Conservatory, readings and group discussions, the class will explore the dimensions of American music, learn something about various streams of musical activity in America, attempt to understand what is “American” about American music, consider the impact of regional and ethnic musical subcultures and “world music,” grapple with the potential impact of technology and consider today’s trends as indicators of the future. (Department of Contemporary Improvisation)

Studio Instruction in sitar and modal improvisation

Weekly hour or half hour lessons are available through the Improvisation and Contemporary Improvisation programs

Undergraduate School:

Introduction to World Music

A survey of the music cultures of Native America, Africa, the Middle East, India, Indonesia, China and Japan. Areas of emphasis include performance practice and repertoire, theoretical systems, and music in its cultural context. (Department of Music History)

Music of India

The classical traditions of North and South India are explored extensively, focussing on instrumental and vocal styles, repertoires and improvisation with special reference to the concepts of raga and tala. (Department of Music History)

Cultural History of India

A study of Indian culture from the pre-Vedic Indus River Valley Civilzation to the present, with emphasis on religious and philosophical systems (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam), literature (Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Purana), arts (music, dance, miniature painting, sculpture), and architecture (Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic). (Department of the Liberal Arts)

The Buddha

This course explores the life and teachings of the Buddha through the study, primarily, of significant parts of two major and very early Buddhist writings (composed in the 1st century A.D.), Ashvagosha’s Buddhacarita and the Sanskrit Dharmapada, as presented in English translation by Edward Conze in his Buddhist Scriptures. Students will work directly with these primary texts as well as consider the writings of other significant (20th century) explicators of Buddhist thought, particularly D.T. Suzuki and Walpola Rahula. (Department of the Liberal Arts)

Hindu Myths

This course focuses on the extraordinarily rich mythology of India. The gods, men, women and demons who populate these myths wield prodigious and unusual powers and, through their conduct and interactions, demonstrate many of the inordinately profound philosophical ideas of Hinduism. The colorful characters and epic tales of Hindu mythology have engaged the imagination, intellect and intuition of Indians since the 2nd millennium BCE and offer an intriguing and powerful experience for non-Indian readers as well. The course is designed to develop critical reading, writing and speaking skills, and will rely, as the primary text, on Wendy O’Flaherty’s Hindu Myths with secondary readings from Gavin Flood’s An Introduction to Hinduism.

The Travels of Marco Polo

The Travels of Marco Polo is an extremely important text in the history of western civilization because it is the earliest first-hand account by a European of the cultures of China, Central Asia, and parts of India.  At the time of its initial publication (c. 1300) most European readers thought of it as a fable, and indeed, some controversy regarding the authenticity of Polo’s accounts still exists.  Yet, despite some curious “omissions” of observation, the accuracy of detail (historical, cultural and geographical) turns out to be exceptional. Prince Henry the Navigator, Christopher Columbus and European cartographers of the 14th and 15th centuries made use of the text; and European travelers on the silk road in the 18th and 19th century found Polo’s measurements of distances, topographical and climate observations to be incredibly accurate.

For students, a close reading of The Travels of Marco Polo will be a journey of discovery. Not only will they relive Polo’s travels and see much of Asia through his eyes, but they will also explore recent literature (history, cultural anthropology, geography and cartography) that describes these cultures as they are today. Through this process students will learn about the nature of cultural discovery and interaction, just as potent a topic today as it was 700 years ago.

Indian Modal Improvisation

A course designed to offer introductory instruction in Indian musical performance to western musicians on western instruments. Alap and gat forms are studied in the context of several complex ragas and talas. Special attention is given to the rendering of Indian melodic ornamentation on western instruments. (Department of Contemporary Improvisation)

Issues and Trends in American Music

Through presentations from many voices within and outside the Conservatory, readings and group discussions, the class will explore the dimensions of American music, learn something about various streams of musical activity in America, attempt to understand what is “American” about American music, consider the impact of regional and ethnic musical subcultures and “world music,” grapple with the potential impact of technology and consider today’s trends as indicators of the future. (Department of Contemporary Improvisation)

Studio Instruction in sitar and modal improvisation

Weekly hour or half hour lessons are available through the Improvisation and Contemporary Improvisation programs.

Copyright © 2010 Peter Row | Photos: © 2005 by Carol Reck

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