Chamber Music as Conversation - Noam Sivan
(Chamber Music (Spring 2018))

Across history, many authors have described chamber music as a form of stylized conversation, in which each instrumental part is an independent character, interacting with the others: one can present a musical thematic statement, another one would follow happily, but the third one disagrees and develops an accompaniment pattern into a new theme that directs the music in a surprising new direction. Scores of chamber works are abundant in examples of such conversations, which are occasionally mentioned in rehearsals but rarely discussed in the classroom.


In this course, students will learn to analyze chamber works from this perspective, referring along the way to other aspects of music – form, harmony, rhythm, thematic development, melody, texture, and so on – but always in relation to conversational elements. Class discussions will be combined with in-class performances of repertoire that will be chosen together with the students.