Introduction: The Ingredients of a Masterpiece

Thompson, Daniel N.

I believe that the study of music can justifiably include the study of any aspect of musical behavior, including the study of the teaching of music as well as the study of the teaching about music. With this in mind, some time ago I had the idea that it would be an interesting departure for Current Musicology to examine the teaching of music survey courses, with particular attention paid to "masterpieces" courses-of the type that constitutes the music component of Columbia's undergraduate Core Curriculum. I wanted views from outside Columbia-indeed, from outside the research university setting-as well, so I solicited articles from scholar-administrators at a conservatory and at a liberal arts college. I am therefore pleased to present, in this special section of Current Musicology #65, the viewpoints of Peter Rojcewicz, from The Juilliard School in Manhattan, and of Sean Williams, from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Annalisa Swig Poirel, an early music scholar here at Columbia, provides a look at the issue from within the research university itself; my own contribution makes mention of some of the unspoken, and too often unexamined, musical "givens" that contribute to the production, dissemination, and consumption of the Masterpieces of Western Music.



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January 6, 2015