Spring 2018 course: Music, Folklore & Tradition in Irish Cultural History

Spring 2018 course:

Music, Folklore & Tradition in Irish Cultural History

MUHL4338-001 / MUHL5323-001Professor: Dr Christopher J Smith (

Course Facebook Page, with extensive annotations:  

Course page at TTU Study Abroad:

Google Map of typical itinerary;  

By permission of instructor ONLY

This seminar is an intensive, topics-oriented survey of the styles, practices, and cultures of music and oral tradition in Ireland since St. Patrick. Drawing on lectures, reading, listening, audio/visual sources, in-class performances, and individual research, this course provides students with an enhanced learning experience combining approaches from folklore, ethnomusicology, cultural and literary history, performance studies, anthropology, geography, and more.

Exploring the interaction between music and other aspects of cultural expression—talking, reading, listening, playing, and singing together—we will discover Irish influences from and to the other Celtic nations and to global communities; the interaction of morality, memory, texts, music, dance, and the sacred; and the impact of the Irish Diaspora on music and culture worldwide.

Tracing the Irish tradition’s histories, influences, and modern permutations, and examining them on recordings, video, and in live performance, we will expand our own artistic and intellectual insight and cross-cultural sophistication. Our theme will be the complex combinations of social, historical, political, colonial, economic, biographical, and artistic factors which have shaped Irish culture and identity over the last two millennia.

LIMITED TO TEN STUDENTS ONLY. May be contracted for Honors Credit.

Intersession study abroad: A final component will be a spring intersession trip (approx. May 21 – June 5) to the West of Ireland, immediately following Spring graduation, during which Dr Smith and Dr Angela Mariani will lead day trips, musical expeditions, and roaming seminars on music, folklore, and cultural history in the Irish countryside. Participation in this trip is a mandatory part of the course and Study Abroad scholarship assistance is available.

Meets Mon 6-7:20pm / Wed 5-6:20pm M218 School of Music.

Open to undergrads and grad students from across the TTU campus. Permission of instructor required. Fulfills upper-level Music History requirement for music majors.

Requirements include mid-term and final essay exams, a research or creative project, attendance, and participation.

Cost of the trip, which includes air-fare, accommodations, all transport (coach, ferries, rental vehicles, etc), all event fees and tickets, and 1 meal per day, is estimated at $3100 maximum. This cost is assessed as a course fee (like a lab fee) by SBS and can be paid using financial or other monies. Any surplus not spent on the trip is returned to students during the course of the trip.

Additional funding is available through the Study Abroad Competitive Scholarship (deadline Jan 2017), applications for which we can help coach.

Priority for enrollment in the course is given to (1) graduating seniors and graduate students and (2) music majors.




School of Music

Event Information
Time: 6:00 PM - 7:20 PM
Event Date: 1/22/2018

M218 School of Music