Devised Music Performance "The deeper we delve into the nature of things, the looser our structure may seem to become." Don DeLillo, from White Noise
The creative act of adaptation has a long a fertile history, including musicians creating covers of other artists' music, filmmakers adapting literary works into screenplays, film remakes of older films, or classical composers adapting plays into operas.
In this course, students will adapt a work of fiction- Don DeLillo's White Noise- into musical works. The course will be roughly divided into three parts: 1.We will begin by reading and analyzing the novel. This part of the course will also include the examination and analysis of representative adapted works of various media.
2.The creation/composition of the actual musical works, adapted from the novel.
3.The collaborative rehearsing and performance of the individual pieces of music, and the large-scale performance work they create. This course will culminate with a public performance of the music we create.
This course is not just interdisciplinary in topic, but in process: we will read and analyze written prose, we will write music, and we will play music.
Don DeLillo's White Noise Students will engage with thematic material from the novel and use it as a springboard for the creation of original musical works. White Noise contains a near bottomless well of themes ranging from environmental catastrophe, the effects of rampant consumerism and American capitalism, the modern pharmaceutical-industrial complex, to a biting critique of academia.
White Noise is satire that is often painfully real. It is dark comedy, and at the same time laughterinducing comedy. It is a story about complex, often conflicted characters, and a story about modern American culture at large.
The specific relationship between the musical adaptations we create, and the novel will be determined by students. Adaptations may be literal, being a retelling or reinterpretation of a scene, or specific plot point. They may be inspired by a specific character. Or they may be more abstract adaptations, perhaps a song that is a response to a theme from the novel.
Who is this class for? This class is open to all instrumentalists, singers, songwriters, composers, lyricists, etc. (Singers are especially encouraged to join). Those interested in creating/editing video are also encouraged to join, as there will likely be a strong video component to the final performance.
For this course there is no particular or advanced musical experience required. However, students will need to have enough confidence and willingness to collaborate on the creation and performance of music. If you play an instrument well, or know how to write a chord progression, or can read music, great. If not, that is also great! For those who feel they have less musical experience, participation in this course can mean collaborating on adapting or writing lyrics for songs, or playing tambourine.
Requirements/Evaluation: Students will be expected to read the novel and participate in discussion and analysis. Students will also need to successfully collaborate with others to firstly develop, and then perform the music. Evaluation will be based on successful collaboration, participation and engagement with the material and classmates.