This is my book chapter on teaching, as the title says, Perry’s Homunculus C. F. with an emphasis on presenting it in the music theory classroom. It is from Expanding the Canon: Black Composers in the Music Theory Classroom, ed. Melisa Hoag, Routledge. (2022)
Composer Julia Perry (1924-79) is often mentioned in discussions of Black American musicians active in the middle of the twentieth century, but because of the relative lack of access to her music, her works are rarely performed, much less taught in the classroom. Her 1960 chamber work Homunculus C. F. for percussion and harp, however, has been published and anthologized and is thus available for study and performance. Written in four sections, each using serial and minimalist techniques and approaches in different ways, Homunculus C. F. is an example of serial minimalism, a compositional approach Perry used frequently starting in the late 1950s. While we often associate minimalism with white, male composers based on the East Coast of the United States, it is worth noting that Perry was ten years older and thus composing in a minimalist style well before the composers who are currently associated with the origins of minimalism: Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and La Monte Young were all born in 1935; Philip Glass was born in 1937. Homunculus C. F. was composed four years before Terry Riley’s In C and 15 years before Glass’s Einstein on the Beach. Here I offer analyses of Homunculus C. F. in the context of Perry’s career and provide information for teaching the work in the theory classroom.