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MUS 48 — The Beatles (“White Album”)

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 4 weeks
Date(s): Feb 14—Mar 6
Time: 6:00—7:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Feb 16
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $320
Instructor(s): Joel Phillip Friedman
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:00—7:50 pm (PT)
Feb 14—Mar 6
4 weeks
Refund Date
Feb 16
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Joel Phillip Friedman
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
The Beatles (aka the “White Album”) was a bold, unprecedented, and messy double album. While superficially the antithesis of 1967’s Sgt. Pepper extravagance, the album's stark white covers contained a veritable encyclopedia of songwriting style and structure and, like Pepper, was a tour de force of studio production. Its November 22, 1968, release signified a new Beatles chapter:

  • Their first album on their new Apple label
  • The end of their psychedelic period
  • The introduction of both Yoko Ono and 8-track recording
  • The increasingly adverse effects their growing businesses had on the band’s relationships and creative collaborative process
The stories of strife and unhappiness during the months-long recording sessions have impacted the album’s reputation. But recent scholarship and the release of the 2018 deluxe box set have prompted a reassessment of both the album’s artistic brilliance and the many previously unknown moments of warmth and collaboration during its creation.

This course will explore the making of The Beatles, including the band’s prolific pilgrimage to India, the remarkable Escher home demos, the intense recording process, resignations, and the initial triumph of Apple Records. As always, we will examine The Beatles work in its context amid an explosion of musical, cultural, and political influences. We will also discuss the studio process, equipment, techniques, and songwriting that are fundamental to illuminating this album’s excellence.

Composer; Music Scholar

Joel Phillip Friedman's concert, theater, and film music has been performed worldwide at such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, in London’s West End, and in off-Broadway theaters. He has taught courses in composition, theory, and history at Swarthmore, Georgetown, Stanford Continuing Studies, and elsewhere. He received a DMA from Columbia, where he was a President’s Fellow.

Textbooks for this course:

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