Ethnomusicology has been defined as the study of music in culture. Some scholars consider it the study of music as culture. The ethnomusicologist attempts to gain a deeper understanding of a society by studying its musical expression in the belief that a culture’s music is a reflection of the culture and its worldview. He or she investigates how music is conceived, organized, and performed and ponders what it tells us about its parent society. This introductory course studies the musics of Ireland, England, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Cuba using the tools, techniques, and methodologies of the ethnomusicologist. Faculty and students will listen to, evaluate, and perform music and dance; observe, document and participate in musical events during field experience; and keep a research journal documenting their fieldwork, thoughts, observations, and conclusions. Method of evaluation based on exams, participant observation projects, and class and field participation.
Field WorkCountry: Ghana
Since they are intended to be performed by all members of society, not just trained, professional musicians, West African drumming and dancing ensemble pieces are very accessible performance works for experienced and inexperienced musicians and dancers alike. Yet the music and dance is complex and sophisticated in their collaborative use of polyrhythm, polymeter, and syncopation. This Field lab will be a participatory workshop at the University of Ghana in the traditional dance and drumming arts of West Africa. It will be led by Fred Tay, artistic director of Ayekoo Africa Arts and Charles Odoom of the University's Ghana Dance Ensemble. In Ghana, as in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, there is a unity of music, dance and drama, and the workshop will demonstrate the intimate connection between drumming and dance traditions. The objective of this field lab is to allow students through performance to develop a deeper understanding of a non-Western musical tradition from a dancer's and a musician's conceptual and performance perspective. The workshop will conclude with an opportunity for students to purchase drums used during the workshop. Purchases are to be made in cash in cedis.