Spring 2024 | Asia, Africa, and Europe Exploration

ANTH 232 - Soundscapes – Music as Human Practice

Overview of Course

What is a soundscape? Just stop and listen for a moment, what do you hear? Sounds in the foreground – voices, music, sounds of work – blended with “background” sounds – the natural environment, machinery, traffic – create what we call the soundscape, the immersive sonic experience of a place. Throughout our voyage, we will be immersing ourselves in vastly different soundscapes, providing opportunities to develop deep, inquisitive listening skills as we delve into the field of Acoustic Ecology, which examines the relationship humans have with their environments through sound. What does a soundscape reveal about a place and the people who live there, and how does it affect them? Why and how do soundscapes differ from one place to the next? How are soundscapes related to socio-cultural backgrounds and context, and how do they influence health and quality of life? How do soundscapes change over time, shaping our history? How are governments regulating soundscapes? We will delve into these questions and more as we examine the sonic cultures of our ports on this voyage. This course will demonstrate how the soundscape can express aspects of individual culture and tie into everyday lives. Students will learn to articulate the significance of soundscapes to social phenomena, such as cultural identity, personal and community memory, migration, cross-cultural influences, aspects of politics, and expressions of social power. Special focus will be placed on developing critical listening skills, written analysis of sonic examples, and principles of Ethnomusicology, ethnography, and field work.

This course is also offered as MU 232 through the CSU School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.