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Revolution in Music and Culture

First Year Seminar
Gregory Walker
Office: Music 108 (SJU)
Phone: 3376
E-mail: [email protected]

Welcome to the Revolution web site. This is the place to find information about the class, readings and schedules. I will be updating things as we progress through the semester to keep us all current. Plan on checking back periodically to stay up to date. Feel free to contact me any time during the semester if you have any questions about the course.

This course is built around the learning of communication skills - speaking and writing. We will have many different types of discussions and writing assignments during the semester. Due to numerous in-class activities, it is important that you attend every class. Let me know ahead of time if there is some unavoidable conflict or emergency. More than three unexcused absences will result in the lowering of your final grade.

I have established a public folder for this class for ongoing discussions at various times. I will let you know when you need to visit this space. The folder is under my name in the Music Department, under Academic folders.


Music mirrors the prevailing morals and thinking of any society. Using the concept of romanticism as a framework, this course looks at that relationship. Whether set in the early 19th century or the 1960's of this century, the spirit of revolution permeates any romantic time. Exploration of new ideas and changing social values lead a society to question its most basic values. In music, this often leads to drastic alterations of the current style. Understanding the spirit of romantic thinking through music and literature helps unravel the complexities of this social change.


Frankenstein Mary Shelley
Norton Anthology of Short Fiction (shorter 7th edition) Bausch and Cassill
The Bedford Handbook Diana Hacker



Your final grade will be computed in the following manner:

40% discussion

- Discussion is a major part of our Symposium experience and thoughtful participation is essential. Some discussions will be formally graded, by the instructor and/or your peers in the class. Please remember good discussion participation requires both listening and speaking.

60% writing

- Paper #1 (15%)

- Paper #2 (20%)

- Paper #3 (30%)

- Paper #4 (35%)

Attendance is crucial to your success in the Symposuim class. However, your grade will be determined by participation in class activities and not by compiling days of attendance. If you are not in class, obviously your participation will be missing as well, though merely showing up does not guarantee good participation.


We will be working through an on-line resource for learning more about research strategies, especially use of the internet. It is a program developed at the University of Texas, but available free to anyone with access to the web. You can find the program at The Texas Information Literacy Tutorial web site. Information about the program, and answers to many questions can be found at a "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) page. Log on using their registration instructions and choose "Other school" when prompted for the name of your institution. Each subsequent time you log on, you will be returned to where you left off before. There are quizzes at the end of each module, which can be e-mailed directly to me. You will need to type my e-mail address in the space provided ([email protected]) To be safe, also save a copy in your files in case there is a problem with the e-mailing. Choose "Save as" from the file menu and you can save a copy of your results on your drive.

Click here for the current list of results I have received.


Paper #1 (2 - 3 pages) - A description and telling of an event from your life closely associated with a piece of music. Tell facts and what you know, including the music and why you remember it so clearly. Details are important here, for that is what makes the story real.

Paper #2 (3 - 4 pages) - A short biography of a musician, artist, author or poet who embodies concepts of Romantic thinking. The individual can be from any time period, including this century. Be specific in details that support your description of the person as a Romantic. You must use one legitimate, outside source for your information, which should be described fully as part of the paper.

Paper #3 (2 - 3 pages) - A retrospective look at how Romanticism has had an effect on your life. Think of the various categories of thought we have discussed in class, and how they influenced the artists. What are your thoughts about exploration, environment, justice and equality, or even revolution. Use the various writings and musical examples from class as support for your writing.

Paper #4 (3 - 4 pages) - Take one single aspect of the Romantic Spirit (justice, exploration, dark/macabre, nature, revolution, etc.), and trace it through the work we have done this semester. Review the materials you have from class, plus use the novels for material. Your own search for appropriate support for your thinking can take advantage of the library resources as well as internet sites. Make connections among the materials cited and compare diverse elements/characters. For example, how do Victor Frankenstein and Sonny both exhibit exploratory traits? Use your creativity and imagination in drawing comparisons.

For help with your writing, the companion electronic guide which coordinates with the Bedford Handbook. You should also take advantage of the expertise of the Writing Centers at SJU (Phone #2711, Mary Hall) and CSB (Phone #5499, HAB).


August 29 Romantic spirit in the outdoors / TILT program
September 2 Read Frankenstein, Letters from Walton / Classical & Romantic music
September 4 Read NY Times article (link on web site)
September 8 Romantic Spirit / Music and memory
September 10 Read Frankenstein, Chapters 1 - 6 / Study Abroad
September 12 ATLAS presentation
September 16 Writing exercises
September 18 - 22 Draft of Paper #1 due (conferences)
September 25 Library presentation
September 29 Paper #1 due (e-mail attachment)

Read Frankenstein, Chapters 7 - 16

October 1

TILT results due (e-mail directly to me)

Read Symphonie Fantastique program notes, by Hector Berlioz

October 7 Read Darkness, by Lord Byron and finish Frankenstein
October 9 Draft of Paper #2 - bring to class
October 13 Writing exercises
October 15 Registration, core curriculum
October 21 Paper #2, final version due (e-mail to me)

Read Sonny's Blues in Norton Anthology

October 23 - 27 Class presentations of Paper #2 artists
October 29 Registration conferences
October 31 Draft of Paper #3 - bring to class
November 4 Read Stranger in a Strange Land, Chapters 1 - 13
November 6 Aqualung
November 10 Paper #3, final version due (e-mail)
November 12
November 14
November 18 Read Stranger in a Strange Land, Chapters 14 - 26
November 20
November 24
December 1
December 3 Draft of Paper #4 - bring to class
December 5 Finish Stranger in a Strange Land
December 9 - 11 Students' choice for music
December 11 Paper #4, final version due