Fall 2019 course: Constructs in Ethnomusicology
TR 12:30-1:50 M209 School of Music
Dr Christopher J Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
MUHL 4300 - 001 (CRN TBA) / MUHL 5321 - 001 (CRN TBA)
OPEN TO STUDENTS FROM ACROSS THE TTU CAMPUS
This seminar is a detailed examination of topics in ethnomusicology; that is, the study of musical behavior in its original contexts, and that discipline’s history, philosophies, methods, and topics of study. We will seek to understand the root sources and goals of ethnomusicology, the theory and methods employed by working ethnomusicologists (especially in the context of “fieldwork”—the study of music in its originating contexts), and the particular strengths and insights that such approaches can provide: not only in cultures distant in space, but also those distant in time or experience from our own.
The course is strongly recommended as one possibility for fulfilling the upper-division MUHL requirement for all majors, including both performance and academic concentrations; it should be of particular interest to music educators, performers, and those interested in 21st century global culture.
In this course, we trace the history of the discipline: from its roots in 19th-century “comparative musicology” and the complicated social, political, and colonial context that surrounded it; through the seminal fieldwork of Western-trained academics in Native America, Central Europe, and Africa; the multiplication of methodological approaches after World War II; and through the revolutionary shift in disciplinary perspectives that ensued as native ethnomusicologists and informants began to critique the post-colonial attitudes from which the discipline originated. We will explore topics of ongoing debate, as well as various philosophies, methods, and goals of fieldwork; particular culture or geographic areas which have received particular focus (and why and how that focus may be re-examined); and applications of ethnomusicological perspectives and methodologies to new culture areas or music/cultural phenomena.
Our theme will be the complex combinations of social, historical, political, colonial, economic, biographical, and artistic factors which have shaped the discipline, its discussions, its topics of study, and its practical results, in shifting cultural and philosophical contexts. We will focus on ideas and processes that have shaped ethnomusicology’s study of musical-cultural behavior.
THIS COURSE FULFILLS THE UPPER-LEVEL MUSIC HISTORY REQUIREMENT.