The Music of Frank Zappa

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This course has been offered in the summer sessions annually from 2001-2007, and every three years during the long semesters beginning in 2009.  The course will next be offered in the spring of 2018 (MWF 1:00-1:50 pm); please contact Dr. Klein for details.

Students interested in this course should be aware of the fact that it is challenging and will require a lot of time and effort. Don't be deceived by the course title: this is not a blow-off course. If you are looking for an easy course to take based on the information found on or similar sites, you would be well advised to consider other options.

Course Objective: to explore the musical, political, social, and cultural aspects of the life and work of American composer Frank Zappa (1940-1993). This 3-credit course may be used to fulfill an MUCP elective requirement for undergraduate composition majors, as well as upper division elective credits for other undergraduate majors (including Bachelor of Arts students). Graduate students should consult their area advisors to determine how this course may be applied to specific degree plans.

Course History: Since 2001, over 250 undergraduate and graduate students have enrolled in this course, representing a variety of majors including Music (Composition, Theory, Ethnomusicology, Music Education, Jazz Studies, Performance), Sociology, Art History, Architecture, Economics, Philosophy, Psychology, English, Creative Writing, Anthropology, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Radio/TV/Film, and Journalism. Information about past student projects is included in the Archive section of this course website.



During the Spring 2012 semester, guest artists and Zappa alumni Arthur Barrow and Tommy Mars were in residence (April 12-16).  Their residency culminated in an all-Zappa program with students in the Music of Frank Zappa course on Monday, April 16 at 8:00 pm in the College of Music Voertman Hall.  This program may be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.

Required text for the course is The Real Frank Zappa Book by Frank Zappa and Peter Occhiogrosso (First Touchstone Edition 1999 ed.)