This survey course explores global aspects of music and its meaning with connections to the environment, sound, and world cultures, with emphases on countries on the itinerary. The course presents music as an aspect of human culture, aids students in cross-cultural understanding, differentiates music styles within regions and cultures, and examines broad historical, cultural, and social contexts of music. Students become familiar with basic musical concepts and explore traditional, religious, folk, art, and popular musical styles of several countries. In addition to readings and clips, guided listening, and occasional music-making opportunities, contact with live music and dance will be encouraged through field opportunities and independent experiences. Students will be encouraged to examine music making in cultural context, while considering their role as ethnographic observers, and will gain the vocabulary and listening skills necessary to engage with music of the world. Student evaluation is based on in-class tests, two papers based on participation in field opportunities, and short reports on observed musical activities in three other ports-of-call.
Field WorkCountry: Hawaii, United States
Date: January 12, 2018
Hula, an indigenous and powerful art form of Hawai‘i, dramatizes or portrays the words of oli (chant) or mele (song) in visual dance, particularly using the hands to tell the story. The two basic styles of hula are kahiko (pre-Western contact), accompanied by Hawaiian instruments such as ipu (gourd), and ‘auana (post-contact), often accompanied by ‘ukulele, guitar and double bass. Once politically marginalized and then appropriated by popular American media (the ‘auana style), hula has become a strong expression of Hawaiian identity.
In this field class, students observe the relationship between text, accompaniment, dress, and hand and body movement vocabulary, and understand the poetics of the form. Students also experience dancing and learn hula movements, and visit institutes and cultural sites, such as the Bishop Museum and/or ‘Iolani Palace, to learn about the history, artists, culture, and challenges of sustaining hula (particularly kahiko). Hula, which has become an entertainment for insiders and outsiders instead of praising or honoring the traditional chiefs, underwent a renaissance in the latter 20th century, became more popular than ever, and is associated with Hawaiian ethnicity and expression. The teachers are the kumu hula, who often have schools or groups called hālau. The kumu hula for our class is Vicky Takamine; her hālau is Pua Ali’i ‘Ilima.
Field Class Reflection (3-5 pages). This paper should include some analyses of the music (song and accompaniment) and dance, instruments, and overall poetics. Ideas from the field class and from in-class readings should provide historic and cultural context of hula, its embodiment of gender, and its meanings in early and modern Hawai‘i. Personal reflections on the class experience, site visit, dancing, Hawaiian culture, and performance should be included.