Humans have been making music for tens of thousands of years to bond with one another and to articulate social values and cultural identities. Ethnomusicology is the study of why, and how, human beings are musical. This course will introduce the field of ethnomusicology and explore traditional and popular musics from our various ports of call as a prism through which to investigate broader dynamics of social, cultural, technological, and ecological change.
Students will become familiar with basic musical and anthropological concepts, learn to compare musical practices from different regions of the world, and explore how contemporary media and technology influence music production and consumption on a global scale. In addition to course readings, audio-visual materials, and occasional on-ship music-making opportunities, field classes present students an intimate opportunity to interact with diverse musical culture-bearers, to experience music and dance firsthand, and to consider one’s own role as an ethnographic observer. While no previous technical knowledge of music is required, students will be expected to develop active listening skills alongside critical thinking and writing skills.