Interdisciplinary Approaches to Musical Time

Photo of an ornate clockface with sun and moon hands, adjacent to statues of a skeleton and musician.

The medieval Prague Astronomical Clock has dials for astronomical details and calendar months, and an hourly show of the biblical Apostles and other figures. (Photo courtesy of Jorge-11 on Flickr.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

January IAP 2010



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Course Features

Course Description

This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of three broad topics concerning music in relation to time.

  1. Music as Architecture: the creation of musical shapes in time;
  2. Music as Memory: how musical understanding depends upon memory and reminiscence, with attention to analysis of musical structures; and
  3. Time as the Substance of Music: how different disciplines such as philosophy and neuroscience view the temporal dimension of musical processes and/or performances.

Classroom discussion of these topics is complemented by three weekend concerts with pre-concert forums, jointly presented by the Boston Chamber Music Society (BCMS) and MIT Music & Theater Arts.

Martin Marks, Marcus Thompson, and Charles Shadle. 21M.542 Interdisciplinary Approaches to Musical Time, January IAP 2010. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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