I am taking a class in 20th century atonal harmony this quarter.
When I was last taking music classes, theory, history, etc. it still was the 20th century. In those days, 20th century music was considered “modern” or “contemporary.” (Even 1910 Stravinsky. Whatever.) We didn’t think to question it.
Our professor is quite young, with that brilliant-nerdy aura coming off him in waves; he has a definite vibe of really being in this academic thing for the research but once the teaching starts he doesn’t really hate it. (You know the guy? I think there are several of him in most music departments of most research universities…and he is way more fun to get for class than the one who is in it for the research but does hate teaching…)
What I find sort of amusing in my own mind is that he does everything via handouts, using Blackboard very little, and doing everything By Hand With Pencil In Print. He uses an overhead projector in class. To complete the first assignment, we had to check the study guide, which sent us to the book but had another handout of more specific directions for each exercise, and another sheet with the answer key…
I find myself thinking, “wow, my 20th century music professor is stuck in the 20th century.”
Makes me giggle a little.
I take my small amusements where I can find them. Certainly 20th century atonal expressionism isn’t going to provide many.