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MUS 99 — Joni Mitchell: A Deep Dive into Six Classic Albums

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Oct 5—Nov 9
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Oct 7
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $405
Instructor(s): Timothy Hampton
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Oct 5—Nov 9
6 weeks
Refund Date
Oct 7
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Timothy Hampton
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Over the past five decades, Joni Mitchell has created a body of songs and recordings that defies definition. Her influence on subsequent generations of musicians, from Prince to Taylor Swift to Diana Krall, is almost unmatched. She is the bridge between the rise of the folk singer after World War II and the current generation of multimedia musical artists. In this course, we will study six recordings that marked Mitchell’s transition from an ethereal folk performer to a badass jazz/rock innovator who collaborated with such major figures as Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. We will look closely at her lyric style and her unique approach to musical composition, tuning, and sound. The instructor will present perspectives and insights into Mitchell’s writing, and together we will discuss the following albums: Ladies of the Canyon, Blue, For the Roses, Court and Spark, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, and Hejira. The instructor will circulate some reading about Mitchell’s work, focusing on a different theme each week.

No knowledge of music is required.

Aldo Scaglione and Marie M. Burns Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and French, UC Berkeley

Timothy Hampton writes about literature, music, and education. He is the author of Bob Dylan: How the Songs Work and Cheerfulness: A Literary and Cultural History, and he is at work on a study of Leonard Cohen. A recipient of UC Berkeley's highest honor for teaching excellence, Hampton received a PhD in comparative literature from Princeton.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.