This course is divided into three distinct units —the first introduces the concept of musicking and the basic elements of music and challenges the common concept of music as a "universal language" through exploration of differences in how basic elements of music are discussed, taught, and conceptualized around the world; the second focuses on the music of Ireland and Egypt; and the third and final unit focuses on the music of Central Java and West Africa.
Depending on COVID-19 regulations this fall, part of the course work may include participation in (possibly) two different events over the course of the semester, after which students will write a reflective response to each (writing usually is due 7 days after the event): everyone should plan to attend the NACA Powwow, usually held in the Granite State Room of the MUB on the first Saturday in November, if it is able to happen this fall. If not, we will move forward with a different plan.
More flexibily, if these events restart, the other participatory musicking activities will be either participation in one of the monthly drum circles held, pre-COVID-19 at the Waysmeet Center on the first Friday of each month or in one of the local contra dances held in the Durham UU Fellowship on Madbury Road or one of the almost weekly Friday gatherings of the Seacoast Set Dancers, also at the Durham UU Fellowship on Madbury Road. These may not happen in the fall of 2021.
The trailer linked below from the Silk Road Project documentary The Music of Strangers (2017) offers a taste of both our course goals & central ideas the underpin both the course & what can be gained from listening to and studying musicking around the world.
Because this is a world cultures course, you can expect that the content will include a variety of foreign terms and each region that we study will have different terms for concepts related back to the basic elements of music.
Course work will include a semester-long mini fieldwork project exploring a topic of your choosing that will take you through the process of crafting a field-work oriented research question, locating and working with secondary sources, creating a bibliography, and planning your research, whether it involves qualitative methods —interviews, crafting a survey or surveys-- or a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, and creating a virtual presentation to be uploaded to the class discussion board. This is a project for which students have the option to work in pairs or small groups (3-4 students) or alone, as works best for individuals.
Note: Syllabus is the Spring 2021 syllabus; structure will be similar, but dates will, of course, be updated to match those of the Fall 2021 calendar; there will also be changes to adapt to impacts or lessening of impacts due to COVID-19, and I am also evaluating new (less expensive) textbook materials for the first two units and so have not updated those materials yet. The new textbook material will most likely be in the form of an electronic textbook purchased through Perusall.