Course Modules

It’s About Time

Paula Matthusen, assistant professor of music, lectured in three class sessions of Professor of Physics Lutz Hüwel's "It's About Time" course in the spring of 2013. The course explored ideas and tools that help us conceptualize and quantify time. Matthusen spoke about specific aspects of the role and notion of time in music. The juxtaposition of specific concepts and their application in physics versus their equivalent role in music was utilized to bring these notions into sharper focus. In particular, the module addressed the idea of cyclic time represented by the repetitive motion of pendulums and oscillators in physics and its resonance with musical systems; the concept of randomness as evidenced in certain physical processes, the questioning of linearity, and the conceptualization of “the moment;" and the role of the observer and the notion of relativity in physics, questions of perception and the flexibility of musical time, and contemporary uses of quantization of pitch and duration.

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