From the unconscious borrowing of established pitch and rhythmic patterns, to the deliberate sampling of fragments of older songs, intertextuality is ubiquitous in the world of popular music. This seminar will focus students' attention to musical details that raise issues of influence, quotation, and allusion. Readings from literary theory and musicology will set the stage for the exploration of songs from all over the popular-music repertory. Starting with music of the 1950s, we will listen to artists such as Ray Charles, Elvis, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Spinal Tap, Beastie Boys, Bjork, Radiohead, Jay-Z, and Lady Gaga, and we will study musically intertextual musicals and films such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and The Royal Tenenbaums. Assignments will include listening to a large body of music, watching videos and films, and reading scholarship. Classes will consist of lectures, discussions, and student presentations. The semester will culminate with students writing a substantial research paper. No musical training is required.
CHRISTOPHER DOLL is a theorist-composer specializing in recent popular and art music, particularly in tonality and intertextuality. He earned degrees at Columbia University (PhD with distinction, 2007), the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (MM, 2000), and Case Western Reserve University (BA, 1998). He was a graduate council fellow at Stony Brook University from 2000-2002. Prior to his arrival at Rutgers in 2007, Doll led courses at all of his graduate institutions and served additionally for four years as an instructor of popular music in the Barnard College Pre-College. In 2008, he was a fellow at the “Jazz Meets Pop” Mannes Institute for Advanced Studies in Music at the Eastman School of Music, where he also received the Miles Levin Musical Essay Award. His other awards include the Graduate School of the Arts and Sciences Endowment Fellowship from Columbia University and the Society for New Music's Brian M. Israel Prize for his piano piece “Borrowed Time.”