Students will learn about global aspects of music and its meaning with connections to the environment, sound, and world cultures.
This course offers an introduction to the field of ethnomusicology and introduces various traditional and popular musics from around the world, with special emphasis on the countries we will visit on our voyage. In addition to expanding our own musical horizons, the course offers insight into the complex relationship between musical practices and cultural understandings as they are embedded within overarching dynamics of historical, social and ecological change.
We will explore ancient court and folk musics from China, Japan, Vietnam and Myanmar; nuanced art music traditions from India and popular songs from Bollywood; multilayered dance-drumming ensembles from Ghana; popular and spiritual traditions in Morocco and South Africa; and much more!
Through surveying selected musical traditions and practices from around the world, this course explores the ways in which music both reflects and affects social, cultural, and ecological relationships. Students will become familiar with basic musical and anthropological concepts while also considering their role as ethnographic observers. In addition to course readings, audio-visual materials and occasional on-ship music-making opportunities, field classes will present students an intimate opportunity to experience music and dance firsthand and to interact with diverse musical culture-bearers.
While no previous technical knowledge of music is necessary in order to succeed in this course, students will be expected to develop critical listening skills alongside critical thinking skills, and will be expected to identify certain musical aspects of listening examples. More broadly, however, the course highlights the ways in which music often articulates and shapes important political and social issues, and how mass media influences musical production and consumption on a global scale.
Field ClassCountry: Hawaii, United States
Date: January 12, 2019
Hula is a Polynesian dance form that was developed by the original settlers of Hawaii. In its ancient form (kahiko), Hula dance is accompanied by chant (oli) and traditional instruments, including various gourd drums (Ipu) and rattles (ʻUlīʻulī), and bamboo rhythm sticks (Pūʻili and Kālaʻau). In its more contemporary Westernized form (‘auana), hula dance is often accompanied by song (mele) and instruments such as the guitar, ‘ukelele, and double bass. Hula dance dramatizes through hand and body gestures the chants that were memorized and passed down, telling sacred stories of creation and mythology, as well as recounting historical and social events. The Twentieth century saw a decline in Hawaiian language and customs, including Hula, which was often stereotyped in the media, but more recently hula has re-emerged as an important expression of Hawaiian culture and identity.
In this field class, students will learn about the poetics of Hula, and the relationship between text, accompaniment, dress, and hand and body movement. Students will visit cultural sites, such as the Queen Emma Summer Palace, will learn firsthand hula techniques along with other local students, and will discuss the successes and challenges of sustaining Hula and Hawaiian language and culture more broadly. Students should take thorough notes in preparation for writing a field class reflection paper on return to the ship.
- Learn to appreciate the history of Hula, including its marginalization and subsequent resurgence
- Learn about the relationship between oli (chant), hula (dance), and mele (song), and about the corresponding body movement vocabulary
- Learn aspects of hula performance through first-hand participation