The study of global music is never a benign act; no matter how we attempt to be objective, when we are studying the music of any culture we are always doing so from our own culture; we encounter ethnomusicological studies, we are experiencing cultures as shown through particular cultural lenses.
In addition,the development global culture industry sees cultural artefacts becoming detached from their source and exported into other markets where their contextual understanding is different. This presents challenges to how the role of the ethnomusicologist is perceived; are they observing or preserving musical cultures? How do the methods of observation or preservation affect the people and cultures which they study?
This course explores both how the traditional musical practices of different cultures interacts with the global culture industry, and the ethical issues around ethnomusicological understandings. This will be supported through undertaking field research at ports on Semester At Seas itinerary so as to actively explore the issues presented but to global music cultures and ethnomusicologists studying them.
Field WorkCountry: Japan
Day: 1 - Sunday, 24 January
The field lab will take place in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday January 28. It will focus on Kabuki theater, one of the traditional Japanese performing arts. Accompanied by an expert on Kabuki, the students will travel to the Ginza district of Tokyo where they will visit the famous Kabukiza theater. The students will then attend a performance of Kabuki. (Kabuki plays include English subtitle systems.) As is customary, a bento box dinner will be provided between the second and third acts of the play. After the play, a discussion session will center around issues involved in the production of Japanese performing arts in general and Kabuki in particular, the enduring traditions from the Edo period, and their influence on modern Japanese society. Through these activities, students will explore a theoretical and practical knowledge of Kabuki theater. They will learn issues of stage design, theatrical conventions, period costuming, canonical Kabuki scripts based on Japanese folktales, and the role of the musicians. Students will keep thorough notes of all aspects of the event, and then write a 1000-word reflection paper on the experience.
1. Explore a theoretical and practical knowledge of Kabuki theater
2. Learn issues of stage design, theatrical conventions, period costuming, canonical Kabuki scripts based on Japanese folktales, and the role of the musicians
3. Become acquainted with the production of Japanese performing arts in general and Kabuki in particular, the enduring traditions from the Edo period, and their influence on modern Japanese society