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MUS 41 — Songs of Love, Songs of Loss

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 29—Dec 8
Time: 5:00—6:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Oct 1
Units: 2
Tuition: $520
Instructor(s): Charles Kronengold
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class on November 24
Live Online(About Formats)
5:00—6:50 pm (PT)
Sep 29—Dec 8
10 weeks
Refund Date
Oct 1
2 Units
Charles Kronengold
Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class on November 24
What can songs teach us about the experience of love and loss? This course is a critical exploration of songs that engage with two main sets of themes: love, sex, intimacy, and romance; and death, loss, absence, and loneliness. It reaches back several centuries but focuses on the past hundred years and tries to get us thinking about how these songs might help us deal with love and loss in our present moment. The course will encourage us to listen for ways that ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, and ability become part of the musical experience.

We’ll hear art songs by composers like Franz Schubert and Clara Schumann, blues records by Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, classic songs like “Night and Day” as performed by Billie Holiday, and records by Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, Luther Vandross, Kendrick Lamar, and Mitski, among others.

Throughout the course, we’ll attend to the complex interactions between words, music, voices, genres, histories, technologies, and sound. We will pay close attention to the ways that songs convey emotion and provoke thinking. And we’ll seek to gain a sense of how songs are made: how they’re structured, written, performed, and recorded.

No musical training is required.

Assistant Professor, Department of Music, Stanford

Charles Kronengold writes and teaches about 20th-century music, film, and aesthetics. He is the author of Living Genres in Late Modernity: American Music of the Long 1970s and, with Adrian Daub, The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism. His just-finished second monograph, Crediting Thinking in Soul and Dance Music, concerns the ways that ’60s and ’70s soul depicted, embodied, and helped transform the activity of thinking.