Global Music (Section 1)

Discipline: Music
Instructor: Merrill
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1425
End: 1540
Field Work: Day 2 - Friday, 23 October | Morocco Download Syllabus

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 Work

Country: Morocco
Day: 2 - Friday, 23 October

Visa for Music is the first professional market for African and Middle-Eastern musics. Held every November, it is one of the largest festivals in these regions and attracts artists from many countries. It s a key festival for African, Middle-Eastern and European record labels, with different motivations and outlooks, to identify new artists. This field lab presents an opportunity to meet with one of the festivals directors – Othman Nejmeddine as he prepares for the 2015 festival which will occur 3 weeks after this event. Discussion with Othman offers a unique opportunity to pose questions to someone who is both deeply engaged in establishing organisations for the preservation of folkloric cultures, whilst simultaneously being actively engaged with the global culture industry in the development of Visa for Music – the African and Middle Eastern equivalent to SXSW. In the morning Othman will give a presentation about the two primary aspects of his work; Visa for Music and the preservation of folk music and dance. This will be followed by an opportunity for students to pose questions and discuss the cultural, practical and ethical challenges that are encountered in undertaking such work in Morocco. This will also provide an insight into how theoretical models of the culture industry apply in beyond the traditional western conception. In the afternoon performances will be given by two ensembles, demonstrating different aspects of Morocco’s diverse traditions. After these performances a panel discussion will be held in which the SAS participants will be able to directly ask the performers questions. This presents a rare opportunity to explore how theories presented in ethno-musicology and cultural theory can apply in field. Academic objectives:

  1. To explore how folkloric music and traditions are being sustained
  2. To undertake first hand ethno-musicological research and apply theoretical knowledge in the field
  3. To explore the relevance of commercial considerations in the development of musical styles.