Music 50
Introduction to Music in World Cultures

Dr. Carol A. Muller

Course Description

The general purpose of Music 50 (Spring 05) is to introduce students to the scholarly study of traditional music from around the world and their incorporation into US popular and classical music, through in-depth reading and close listening to assigned sound recordings, increasingly available on the course website. This semester the focus will be on music of indigenous peoples from what, in the United States, may seem to be fairly remote regions of the world. These musicians and their music travel around the world, either in person or through recorded sound. A new feature of the class is the group ethnography project students will engage in primarily with older African American residents in West Philadelphia. The goal is to create an oral history archive and website of jazz performances in Philadelphia. The project replaces the individual interviews students conducted in prior classes.

Most weeks, classes will follow a lecture or discussion format, and group presentations. Discussions will necessarily take as their point of departure the listed readings for the week. You are required to complete all these assignments before each class. Guidelines for key readings will be made available on the course website. Classroom participation will be crucial to your grade in this course. This means taking part in discussions and, therefore, presumes class attendance. Your classroom participation will include your personal responses to the readings and recordings, to the performances you attend throughout the semester, and to the field research project you will conduct in groups of 5 or 6 students.

Required Texts

(1) Wade, Bonnie. 2004. Thinking Musically: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. NY: Oxford University Press. Available at the Penn Book Center, 34th and Sansom (next to Citizens Bank) NOTE: We are NOT reading Rituals of Fertility this semester as other sections are, as the book is out of print, and we are doing the oral history project in its place.
(2) Required and recommended readings: Online reserve BB site.
Download complete Spring 2005 syllabus (PDF)