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Semester Project Outline Requirements

Each student will complete a presentation on a particular style of music not covered during the semester. In order to create a presentation you need to start with an outline.

The outline will vary somewhat depending on the music you have chosen. Here are some guidelines. You may want to include the following topics:

I. Origins of the music: When and where did it begin? What are the earliest examples? Has it changed over time? Help us understand that part of the world and the forces that shaped its people.

II. Cultural aspects: When is it performed? Is it associated with any ritual or ceremony? Is this music unique to a single ethnic group or geographic region? Why is it significant?

III. Performance practices: Who plays the music? Does it require special training? If so, how are these skills acquired? Name distinct features of the playing style.

IV. Musical elements: Describe the treatment of melody, rhythm, harmony, form, texture and timbre that help define this type of music.

V. Instrumentation: What instruments are used? Are they unique to this particular style of music? Describe the instruments and how they are played.

You can earn extra points by doing either of the following (not required)

· an interview with someone familiar with the style of music you are researching (someone who is trained to perform the music or dance or was raised in the culture)

· attending a live performance

For example, a partial outline for a project on Irish music (which we are studying in class) might include: ( see below)

History of Ireland

Celts arrive on the island

Predominant industries – farming, herding

English oppression/ rebellion ( the “Troubles”)

Irish potato famine- 1840’s

Cultural Aspects

Ceilidh Dancing important part of Irish culture

Family oriented (developed into square dancing in US)

Informal “Sessions” held in pubs

Pub culture – “home away from home”

Performance Practices

Training required for Uilleann pipes

Flute player/tin whistle crossover

Anyone can play any instrument – no gender roles

Oral tradition, tunes vary slightly in each region

Hundreds of tunes memorized

Musical Elements

Musical example –“Swallow’s Tail” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFUlcdXtl5I

Music is very melodically-driven – flute, pipes and fiddle

Grace notes are common

Homophonic texture

Regular rhythm/ meter, variety of tempos

Music for dancing

simple, consonant harmonies

timbre of singer – bright, warm, use of “cracking” vocal style

Interview – Liam Kelly, Dervish Irish Band


1. The African continent has a rich history of musical cultures and traditions. Pick one of the instruments, video examples or songs from the chapter that resonates with you and discuss how its musical, performative or functional quality relate to the concept of the world view of community before the individual. 

2. What are some of the common qualities between the spiritual function and power given to certain classes of musicians in Hawaii (kumu hula), China (mask makers and dancers in Noh Theater), Bali (instrument builders and dancers) and West Africa (djali or griot)?

3. What is your opinion about organizing the chapter by ethnic groups, rather than country? 

4. Choose one section from this chapter and do further research.

5. Research the history past and present of one of the instruments that you studied. There are many wonderful documentaries to explore.

6. Choose one music video and discuss how the sounds and the visuals complement each other to express the culture and message.




Africa is a very large and complex continent. We will be visiting the traditional and contemporary music of several African ethnic groups: Shona, BaAka, Manding (Mandinke), and the Ewe. These ethnic groups are located across the borders that were created by colonizers who indiscriminately planted their flag on land they conquered. Today, there are 54 countries on the continent of Africa with over 3000 ethnic groups. The map provided delineates the current borders, but is marked by name with the original and current ethnic groups that we will visit. Place the words Africa Quarters in the search bar of WebGL Earth below to compare the political borders and geographic locations of current countries with the land of the different ethnic Empires. Enlarge the three- dimensional globe to compare the current political boundaries and the country names that you may recognize. Note how arbitrary the borders may seem for an ethnic group that functions as its own nation and ethnic group.


Web GL Earth


©Bumbim/Shutterstock.com Modified by Dawn Avery and Caroline Manente


In this journey, we will explore the rich traditional culture of several ethnic groups and then look at the thriving new forms of music. Some of these have been created with a fusion of outside influences including those of the French, Dutch, German, British and Brazil. One might call this type of fusion a musical syncretism. Syncretism is usually associated with the fusion of religious ideas and practices, but in this context, it is an amalgamation of different cultures, religions, musical practices and beliefs.



Buying Our Ticket

Image @ Shutterstock.com

Since we are starting with the Shona people, let’s fly first to the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport. The total flight time is about 19 hours from New York City, but that’s without any stops. 


While you’re buying your ticket, here are some interesting facts about Africa. Prior to colonial rule, it had over 10,000 states each with their own distinct cultures. Today, ther are over 50% of the population are under 25 years old. Africa has the biggest desert in the world, bigger than the land mass of the entire United States. The continent has the largest reserves of precious metals in the world with over 40% gold, 60% cobalt, and 90% platinum.



Packing Our Suitcase

Image @ Shutterstock.com


Africa covers about 6% of the earth’s surface. Its land accounts for about 20% of the earth’s land area. It is the second largest and second most populous continent (after Asia). The continent of Africa is nearly four times the size of the United States and has about triple the population of the United States.


From the sixteenth to the mid-twentieth century, European countries were the controlling political powers across Africa. After 1960, many regions became independent—sometimes peacefully and sometimes not. Regions retain characteristics of both their traditional roots and their colonial times.


There are approximately 2000 languages on the continent – over 25% of the languages in the world are spoken in Africa. Their long history includes many empires or pre-colonial kingdoms each with their own language, world views, societies, food, dress, military and resources.They each contributed to a variety of innovations including pottery, bronze casting, ancient sciences and technology, dance and music. Some areas have been dealing with poverty and political instability for generations while others live in prosperity with rich traditions and modernization.

© natacabo/Shutterstock.com



Geographic Musical Regions

Northern and Northeast Africa

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) region of northeast Africa contrasts with the rest of the continent due to its petroleum wealth or services that support it. Islamic influence is of historic importance across northern Africa. This influence extended into southern Spain many centuries ago.



Leaving Baggage Behind

Image @ Shutterstock.com

I have had many students who had misconceptions about Africa. We are so fortunate to have an education in which we can dispel stereotypes and learn about this multi-dimensional continent. Let us start out with – Africa is not a homogeneous country. It is a Continent with many, many countries and ethnic groups! I have had students ask if people get a camel license instead of driver’s license, or if people live in huts, and even if people wear clothing. One of my students once pointed out that they still watch National Geographic in elementary school that shows footage of people throughout Africa from the 1800’s and 1900’s. Questions about camels, huts and clothing are from a much earlier time, on several continents. Let us look at current Africa which is a multi-cultural and diverse continent where people live and work in major cities, suburbs and countryside. Each country has their own specialities, but the top five occupations overall are 1. agriculture using new innovations in agricultural technology, 2. infrastructure and sustainable energy, especially with urbanization, 3. mining particularly in Western Africa, 4. services for hire as the middle class grows, 5. information and communication technology with mobile phone usage as one of the highest in the world. I am so glad that people ask and research. There is no dumb question when it comes to understanding another culture. Are there any other biases or stereotypes that you have about Africa? You may want to do some research and seek clarification.



Arriving on the Continent of Africa

Western Africa

Beginning as early as 1600 B.C., the Dhar Tichitt empire developed. Other empires include the Ghana, Mali, Mandinka, and Akan Empires. Some geographical points of interest are the Sahara Desert and Niger River. We will find ancient kingdoms used to rule western Africa. In addition to history of each ethnic group and ruling kingdom, the region exhibits both Muslim and Indigenous influences that were later joined by European styles. In this region, we will focus on the music of the Manding Empire including the polyrhythms of the Dunun Orchestra and the Kora, known as the predecessor of the guitar.



Central or Middle and Eastern Africa

The central part of Africa also consisted of historical empires, including the Kanem, Wadai, Lunda and Kongo Kingdoms. The main economy was farming, herding and fishing accounting for a largely nomadic population, with bands of 10-15 families moving from place to place. The geography consists of deserts, highlands, tropical rainforests, savannahs and high mountains. On this part of our journey, we will focus on a type of polyphonic vocal music—multiple melodies performed simultaneously; as well as the interlocking music of the Shona people located in both central and southern Africa.



Southern Africa

Southern Africa has been home to such kingdoms as the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, Ndwandwe Kingdom and the Zulu Kingdom. The epicenter of many of Africa’s animal preserves are located in Southern Africa. They are of service in protecting baboons, elephants, lions, rhinoceri and zebras. The diverse geography in Southern Africa consists of deserts, forests, grasslands, coastal areas and mountains. Our focus on the Shona people mentioned above will include a fascinating instrument, the mbira. This music by Mbube Male Choirs in South Africa will be covered in a later chapter entitled “Visit Voices from Around the World.”



Cultural Expression in Music

As with other world musics, African music culture should be understood by its own standards or criteria. When you talk about the place that music occupies in life, it is best to make clear which part of Africa you are referencing. As we look at various culture areas and their music, noted on the map at the beginning of the chapter, we will notice that groups of people moved around, often their language and musical roots moved together.


Like many of the cultures that we have studied, there is a deep interconnection between music, ancestors, spirituality and daily life. Traditional music is usually taught through oral transmission and most traditional and contemporary is not notated. Improvisation is commonplace, but has specific rules and styles; each with their own “composition kits” that vary from region to region.


Few generalizations can be made about African music due to the variety of ethnic groups; each with their own social, political and musical systems.


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS found in some music of Africa:

· Interlocking melodies and rhythms

· Preference for dense, overlapping textures and buzzy timbres

· Cyclical forms (music based on melodic and/or rhythmic ostinatos or repeating passages)

· Flexible approaches to rhythms often combining or juxtaposing units of twos and threes including complex polyphony

· Descending melodic contours

· Musical roles, including “core” parts and “elaboration” or parts that show variation and musical development

· Group participation (whether singing, clapping, dancing, event planning, feasting)

· Call and Response (a leader starts, a group responds)

· Oral tradition

· Music is a part of daily life

· Importance of the community over the individual



The Function of Music

© Redshinestudio/Shutterstock.com

A high proportion of traditional African music is functional. This means that a musical piece is intended for courtship, work, children, worship or entertainment. Though there is no legal restriction, a functional piece of music is usually not performed outside of its intended context.


For example, work songs are not sung for pleasure outside of work. Dance music is not performed without dance. Music for religious rites is played or sung only at its designated and appropriate time.


This is in contrast to music in the United States where a sea chantey can be sung in-land, religious works may be performed in concerts and both classical and popular dance music is frequently performed without any dancing.



Percussion and Other Music Sources

© Christopher Morley-Pegge/Shutterstock.com

The variety of drums and other percussion instruments in Africa is staggering. There are hand drums, stick drums, talking drums, frame drums, pitched drums, xylophones, water drums, slit drums, bells, iron gongs, rattles and sticks.


The human voice is very important. It can be used as a rhythmic or melodic source of music. We will also see that the voice is used to create overlapping polyphonic melodies and harmony.


Other melodic instruments include harps, zithers, fiddles, xylophones, flutes, trumpets, and numerous varieties of lamellaphones (mbiras, also called thumb pianos).




African music does not neglect melody, harmony and other aspects of music in favor of rhythm, but the intricate polyrhythms and shifting meters (regular cycles of strong and weak beats) create interlocking grooves and unusual rhythmic patterns that make African rhythms especially complex. In many cases, Western rhythm can be more straightforward compared to the polyrhythms throughout most of Africa.


Much of what you will see in the following video of traditional African music reflects characteristics noted in the general characteristics of some African music above. Note that in most of the videos in this chapter contain these characteristics.


FOLI (there is no movement without rhythm) original version by Thomas Roebers and Floris Leeuwenberg



Music is Life!

Music is a part of everyday life in most of Africa – in the streets, churches, open air markets, concert stages, nightclubs and on the job. When I ask students who are originally from parts of Africa, “where do you hear music?” they wonder why I would ask that question and inevitably answer, “everywhere.” What does this mean? There are more nightclubs throughout the continent than anywhere in the world and most of them are filled to capacity with lines of people waiting to get in. Great bands play on the street on a regular basis. One student from Nigeria told me a story about when she was at work in Maryland and started to sing. Her boss confronted her and said, “why are you singing?” And she looked as surprised as he did and answered, “why wouldn’t I be singing?” Here we see an interesting cultural divide – where they didn’t understand each other’s concept of where music should be and perhaps who should participate in it. This cultural divide seems more so in cultures that consist mostly of musical spectators. 


Though music is important in the United States, many listeners are primarily consumers, not practitioners or participants. It is often easy to distinguish the performer from the audience. The performers are on stage and active and the audience is off stage, either passive or active in a different way than the performer.


© Boris15/Shutterstock.com



I am because We are 

The Ubuntu proverb, “I am because we are” and the Congolese saying, “A single bracelet does not jingle” reflect an important worldview where community is valued over the individual. During performances, group participation consists of singing, clapping, dancing and moving to the music, along with feasting, family fun and even joining in with the musicians, especially in traditional music by playing melodic or percussion instruments. It is very unusual for anyone to sit still.


Almost all people participate in music as part of their daily life, making the separation between amateur and professional less important. Therefore, music may occur in places that are unexpected.


For example, listen to the following excerpt “performed” in a post office. Then look at what “instruments” are making the sounds.


02 West Africa Ghana, post office


As you listen to examples, you might want to distinguish between “African music” (traditional) and “Music in Africa” (mixed musics). It may help to identify what is familiar (this is often the Western Europe influence) and what is unfamiliar or “foreign-sounding” (often the influence of traditional music and Islamic cultures).




© Kendall Hunt Publishing Company


The Shona are located in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and border South Africa. Their population is about 9 million people of predominantly Shona ethnicity and their tribal language is Shona (Bantu), spoken by about 70% of the Zimbabwe population. Try saying hello in Shona – Mhoro! Shona spirituality connects humankind with nature, and emphasizes respect of all relationships, including those with their ancestors. An annual rain ceremony is performed before planting season begins in order to ensure a good harvest. The Bira ceremony in which the mbira instrument, also known as a thumb piano, plays a very important part as an ancestral trance possession ceremony. In this ceremony, ancestors are called upon through music, dance, food and community to assist their tribe. Within Shona religious beliefs, Gods are organized hierarchically, with a higher God/ Creator. There are “lesser” gods who have been assigned very specific functions such as healing, helping the clans, and as spirits for harvest, rain, and overall prosperity. In the arts, the Shona are internationally known for both their traditional and contemporary music as well as their stylistic stone sculpture. 


DESTINATION 1: Traditional Mbira

Mbira or thumb piano

© Dirk Ercken/Shutterstock.com

Mbira is the genre of music associated with an instrument called mbira dza vadzimu. Both the music and the instrument are deeply connected to the spiritual world, so whether for sacred ceremonies or for entertainment, it is believed that the spirit realm and the ancestors hear the music. Stories about this instrument are almost always shrouded in mysticism and tradition. Respect, proper intention and knowledge are required to learn the instrument. Mbira music is considered protected cultural property.


A thumb piano Image © krsmanovic/Shutterstock.com


Image © Shutterstock.com


Image @ Shutterstock.com


As you can see in some of the photos, bottle caps, seashells or metal jingles may be attached to the instrument to create a buzzing sound when the instrument is played. The buzzing timbre that we will hear on the mbira is also present in the sounds of many drums. It is a popular timbral aesthetic that may be the predecessor of the “sizzle” cymbal, an instrument that is part of the jazz drum-set.


Mbira is part of the lamellophone family. “Lamella” means “tongues,” referring to the sound producing “tines” or pitched “keys” as the tongues. These metallic keys are played with one’s thumbs, thus the English name of thumb piano. The instrument goes back thousands of years when the tongues or tines were made of bamboo rather than metal. You may have noticed that most of the mbira have the longest tine in the center and alternate lengths along the sides. It is also common to have a second set of tines running from long to short.


The instrument is chuned to be part of an ensemble of other mbira who play often play with hosho (gourd rattles) and voice. Chuning consists of creating a good sound by tuning the instrument by adjusting the “tines” and adjusting its resonant and buzzing vibration.


The traditional home of the mbira is with the Shona people of Zimbabwe and Mozambique in the southern section of the continent. It is known by many other names including mbira dza vadzimu, mbila sansakilembelikembe and timbrh.


In traditional Shona culture, the mbira is held in reverence. As we will see in the upcoming videos, the playing of hypnotic, repetitive patterns and singing of chants or songs is a way of communicating with spirits and ancestors as a prayerful experience that give the player a channel of influence on health and prosperity. For example, some mbira music may request rain during drought or to stop rain during floods. Some songs were believed to bring clouds when crops were burned by the sun or chase away evil spirits. Likewise, it was used to cure illnesses. These powerful songs and ancestral ceremonies are still performed in traditional areas. With Christianization, some believe these are no longer performed since they became associated with witchcraft or superstition.


The mbira is a very interesting example of cultural retention and acculturation. Outside of spiritual practices, the mbira is used in weddings, the installation of new chiefs, in international conferences, community centers, cultural events and government events such as Independence Day.


Mbira and the mbira dza vadzimu can sound hypnotizing with its cyclical rhythmic patterns. The longer you listen, the more “inner melodies” you might hear.


“Mbira Maestros” is one of my favorite mbira videos. As you watch and listen, notice the following interesting elements listed below.


· Different techniques or functions of left and right hands

· Bottle caps on the instrument to provide a “buzz” as they play

· Elders teaching children

· References to ancestor worship and animism (powers that the instrument has)

· Important Shona sacred sites, balancing rocks and ancient rock paintings

· What the mbira is made of


Mbira Maestros


DESTINATION 2: “Nhemamusasa”

Let’s take a journey with the song “Nhemamusasa”

The traditional song “Nhemamusasa” is often played for hours at the beginning of a ceremony and feast to call in the ancestors. The word can be translated as “preparing a shelter”, just as a Shona community prepares for a ceremony and greets each other and their ancestors. It is believed that the ancestors like to be honored with music, dance and food. We are going to listen to a traditional version, a contemporary woman who recorded a traditional studio version and then a contemporary version with a western band. Although all of these have varying levels of improvisation, even more so in the traditional versions, you will recognize the main melody, timbres and rhythms in all of them. What makes each version similar? What makes them different?


Listen for the complex interlocking patterns of many mbira playing at the same time, the groove of the hosho shakers and the soulful chant.


“Nhemamusasa” Hungwe Tsunga Mbira Music of Zimbabwe


Stella Chiweshe is one of the few women to learn mbira dza vadzimu and to become a successful recording artist who also toured the world. In liner notes for one of her recordings, Stella told a story of her mother being given a message from their ancestors for Stella to start playing the mbira. This posed many challenges since the mbira was banned and women did not traditionally play the mbira, but she received it as an important ancestral message for her to keep tradition alive.



“Nhemamusasa” by Stella Chiweshe (early 1970’s)

This recording sounds relatively traditional, but she used modern recording techniques. The single on this recording went gold.


Stella Chiweshe – Nhemamusasa



“Nhemamusasa” by Chinwoniso Maraire (1998)

Chiwoniso Maraire, called the Queen of Mbira, was the daughter of Zimbabwean mbira master and teacher Dumisani Maraire. At the age of 15, she started a band that focused on creating contemporary beats with mbira melodies and is one of the first to fuse mbira rhythms and melodies with western instruments.


As a singer, songwriter, and actor, Chiwoniso introduced her style of contemporary mbira music to a whole new audience. Some of her music spoke to Zimbabwean pride and police brutality. Her recordings were frequently on several world music charts. In many of her songs, the amplified mbira is used as both a solo instrument and as an accompanying groove joined by the bass, keyboards and drums to accompany her singing.


After a traditional introduction, she introduces her band and the mbira takes on the role of a groove instrument.


Chiwoniso – Nhemamusasa (Official Video)


© criben/Shutterstock.com


“Mai” by Chiwoniso

This is my favorite song of Chinwoniso. Sung mostly in English with a great message and the mbira has one of the best pop grooves.


Chiwoniso – Mai (Official Video)



Chiwoniso Live

“Paul Tchounga Chiwonisa Live Vanorapa Lafayette”

with guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, saxophone


Paul Tchounga Chiwoniso Live Vanorapa Lafayette


DESTINATION 3: More contemporary Mbira Music

Thomas Mapfumo and Chimurenga

As much as people may try, it can be difficult to completely kill a culture. Oftentimes, there is someone who keeps a tradition alive, even if secretly. When the Shona people were forced into shantytowns during colonial rule, there was a strict curfew, men were shipped out for months at a time to do dangerous work in diamond mines and those at “home” were not permitted to practice their culture. 


As a part of the revolution for freedom and to revive their culture with Bira ceremonies many Shona secretly practiced late at night after curfew when they would not be stopped by English government officials. Of course, kids loved staying up all night and were encouraged to get interested in the traditions of their elders. During these secret festivities, people kept their language, dance, music and stories alive. Mbira were made out of cereal boxes and a variety of cans that were hidden in the kitchen pantry amongst the other canned and boxed goods. In some townships, curfew was extended on Saturday nights, allowing for socializing and musical gatherings, such as a “battle of the bands.” Rock bands in the area would get together and compete, usually playing cover tunes by great guitarists such as Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, as well as songs by rock bands of the 70’s.


I like to call Thomas Mapfumo the Mick Jagger of Zimbabwe, not only for his popularity as a very talented rock musician, but also for his talent, innovation, and energetic performances. He was especially popular in the 70’s and 80’s. After competing in many of the battle of the bands and never winning against the “white bands” who played all “white” music, he started his own band to create a new kind of freedom music, based on the short sounds of the mbira. The bands never used the mbira dza vadzimu, nor mbira melodies, his band incorporated a mbira timbre with short percussive-like melodies in the muted plucking of the guitars and bass, the tight cymbal rhythms, short horn notes and the interlocking patterns between many instruments.


Chimurenga is a style of music about freedom and was part of the revolution for independence in Zimbabwe. New songs continue to be written for specific causes such as freedom from poverty, homelessness, disease and for other countries to be freed from dictatorships and war.



“Mukanya Live in Concert” with Thomas Mapfumo

Listen to the short interlocking sounds of the guitars, keyboards and cymbals, along with the amplified mbira.





Mbira Beat

What is the function of the mbira and the voices? What do you notice about the electronic beats? What other electronic instruments do you hear? How do the sounds and video create a mood? What is that mood?


Goldfish – “Mbira Beat” (Breathe Sunshine Vol.3)


DESTINATION 4: BaAka Polyphonic Music

BaAka People

The BaAka, also known as rain forest people, are traditionally semi-nomadic, hunter-gatherers of equatorial Africa. Formerly referred to as Pygmies (considered a derogatory and disrespectful term) the BaAka people have an average height of five feet and have been marginalized from society, often with great discrimination.


It is fascinating that the BaAka have an egalitarian society with no political leaders or hierarchies, nor gender discrimination. With strong community values, they make their decisions together based on what is good for the whole. One of the best ethnographies that I ever read is called “Seize the Dance! BaAka Musical Life and the Ethnography of Performance” by Michelle Kisliuk (2002. Oxford University Press, NY). She tells many stories about the communal world view. 


One story that she recounted was her recollection of a time that she brought a fresh tomato back to the BaAka village where she was living. As she was preparing to enjoy this rare and exciting find, a child came to her hut to visit. She felt obliged to share half of her precious tomato, upon which the child cut it into about 16 pieces to share with the other children.


The women, men and children create temporary camps of huts in order to hunt, fish, collect plants and honey. As nomadic people, they do this until their resources become insufficient making it time to move to another part of the rainforest. The BaAka worship the forest spirit (Djengui) who, as in many ethnic religious systems in Africa, is a mediator between a main god and the people. A variety of songs are sung while hunting and gathering, cooking, relaxing, and in ceremony, and celebrate a successful day of hunting. Knowledgeable about plants and plant medicine, the BaAka healers are often sought out by non-BaAka.


The BaAka are not one homogeneous group, but consist of communities including the Aka, Asua, Baka, Bongo, Efe, Kola, Koya, Sua, Twa. Each group has its own distinctive characteristics. Today, they do not live in total isolation, but are in contact with neighboring ethnic and non-ethnic groups, sharing socioeconomic ties, especially in agriculture.


As an ethnic minority, the BaAka have been mistreated by the government and do not have the same rights as other people in Central Africa. Although this is improving, prejudice still exists. As an unusual culture that lives predominantly in remote rainforests, missionaries and researchers have had a special interest in them, often threat


World Music Project Description:

You will conduct research into a musical tradition of your choice and write a 1-page outline. When you are finished you will use the major points of your paper to create a 7-10 slide presentation using a software program of your choice (Powerpoint, Keynote, Google Slides, Prezi, etc.) and present your research to the class, answering any follow-up questions your classmates may have.  This presentation should be no more than 10 minutes and must include a 3 minute musical example that is representative of the tradition you’ve chosen


1. Select one style of music from the culture of your choice, preferably one in which you have been enculturated or to which you have a family connection. Submit your topic by the deadline listed in the syllabus.

2. Submit an outline
Your proposal should identify the musical culture/tradition you will be researching (be specific) and identify 3 possible sources (see #3), identify 2 possible audio/video examples of the musical style (YouTube is a great resource for this). Create an outline that delineates the major points you plan to cover in your project. Part of your outline should include a description of a performance or an
with a person knowledgeable in this music tradition – a family member or a musician/dancer.
Check Blackboard for the outline requirements.
Your outline is due before the presentation. Please submit it on Blackboard as an assignment in Word or as PDF.

3. In order to complete #2, find two scholarly (book or online peer-reviewed article) and one online popular source. A very good scholarly resource, if it includes your topic, is the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. The 
MC Library online
 has several world music databases, including JSTOR. 

4. Create a 7-10 SLIDE presentation of your research, using a software program of your choice (I strongly suggest PowerPoint), to share with the class. Each presentation should consist of a minimum of 7 slides and include the playing of a musical example from YouTube, a streaming service (Spotify/Apple Music/Amazon) or from your computer. 

5. Include among your slides a
musical analysis
of the song/piece you will use to demonstrate the musical tradition on which you are presenting. Demonstrate that you understand the musical terms we have learned in the class: Melody, harmony, texture, rhythm, etc. If a dance is included, please describe it or show a video.


 Think of at least three research questions relating to the music culture that you want to explore. Reflect on these questions. To guide your reflections on these questions, compile source information on your subject through library and Internet research, documenting three of the best library sources. After compiling your list of six sources (3 library articles/Ebooks and 3 educational websites) and reflecting on each of the three research questions, write 2-3 paragraphs in response to each question. Locate and include images, listening examples, or videos to illustrate your reflections. 


How might tropicalia, mariachi and salsa be collectively understood in relation to the theoretical concept of modernist-cosmopolitan musical traditions?


1) Choose a topic and find a live listening opportunity to hear and observe musicians participating in the music culture you have chosen.

2) Secure permission to participate in music making or participate as an active observer.

3) Confirm that you will be able to speak with at least one of the musicians.


In 750–1,000 words, consider and explain the role of music in your life story or of your interview subject’s life story. For each of the following categories, you must include at least one specific song and artist. Express the music and link it directly to an experience and the emotions you felt. Remember to link your individual experience to broaden your understanding of the impact of music at large.

In your analysis, address the following to examine music in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood:

  • What music do you associate with childhood? How did/does this music make you feel? How do your choices reflect your childhood experiences? What can you conclude about the nature of music and its impact after this reflection on your personal experience? As you discuss this time in life, include at least one specific song/artist. Explain their role in this experience.
  • What music do you associate with adolescence? Was this music a way to fit in or rebel? What can you conclude about the nature of music and its impact after this reflection on your personal experience? As you discuss this time in life, include at least one specific song/artist. Explain their role in this experience.
  • What music do you associate with comfort or inspiration in your adulthood? How do these songs help you deal with disappointment or stress? What can you conclude about the nature of music and its impact after this reflection on your personal experience? Include at least one specific song/artist for this category.

    • 10


    1. What influence does language have in Hawaiian music?  What influence does language have in music from your culture?

    2. What are some of the negative effects that missionaries had on Hawaiian or any Oceanic cultures? How did this effect the music?

    3. Do you think cultural traditions can be destroyed? How has this had an effect in Hawaiian culture and your own?

    4. Look online for information about the life and career of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (IZ). What do you find interesting? How was his life reflected in his performance, music, videos?

    5. What are some of the pros and cons of written language, digital media versus oral transmission as reliable source?


    Music 15, Winter 2022
    Final Paper Prompt – Genius and the Canon
    Due: 3/8/22, 11:59pm PST

    Corelli, Concerto Grosso in D major op. 6, no. 4 (1714)
    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No. 9 (1822-1824)
    Movement 4, Presto, allegro assai

    Johannes Brahms
    Symphony No. 4 (1884)

    Movement 4, Allegro energico e passionate
    Amy Beach

    Gaelic Symphony (1894)
    Movement 2, alla siciliana

    Clara Schumann
    Piano Trio in G minor, op. 17

    Igor Stravinsky
    Octet (1923)

    Alex Temple
    The Man Who Hated Everything (2015)

    (And other works we’ve covered in class with approval)

    Frisch, Music in the Nineteenth Century

    Concert Culture and the “Great” Symphony, 174-178
    The Romantic Imagination, 13-22
    Music and the Age of Metternich, 32-37
    Franz Schubert, 42-45
    The Opera Industry, 52-60
    Robert Schumann and the Lied, 109-111
    Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and the Musical Salon, 85-87
    Clara Wieck Schumann and the Keyboard, 87-90

    Goehr, The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works
    “After 1800: The Beethoven Paradigm,” excerpts, 205-208

    Burkholder, “Museum Pieces: The Historicist Mainstream in Music of the Last Hundred
    Years,” 115-134
    Amy Beach, 753-755

    Spitzer and Zaslow, The Birth of the Orchestra.
    “Corelli’s Orchestra,” 105-106
    “Corelli’s Career,” 115-117
    “Venues and Performances, 118-123”

    Tick, “Passed Away is the Piano Girl: Changes in American Musical Life, 1870-1900”

    Temple, “Composers, Performers, and Consent” (primary source)
    Upton, Woman in Music, 15-32 (primary source)

    (NOTE: You need not, and in fact SHOULD NOT, use all of these sources – they are
    simply the sources available to you. Use whichever best suit the tack you take for this

    Assignment Description:
    Using the notes you received on your outline, you will flesh out draft/outline into a full paper.
    The prompt from the outline remains essentially the same (see below)

    This full paper will be 3-4 pages double-spaced.

    Typed, 12-pt. Times New Roman, double-spaced .doc or .docx format, standard 1” margins

    You must use proper Chicago-style citation formatting.


    J. Peter Burkholder argues that “Once the concert hall became a museum, the only works
    appropriate to be performed there were museum pieces—either pieces which were already old
    and revered or pieces which served exactly the same function, as musical works of lasting value
    which proclaimed a distinctive musical personality, which rewarded study, and which became
    loved as they became familiar.” The idea of the concert hall as a sort of “musical museum” that
    preserves the work of long-dead composers, as well as the repercussions of this notion for living
    composers, forms the basis of this paper.

    Your paper will will explore two areas:
    1. The emergence of the musical canon, focusing on the music and reception of Ludwig
    van Beethoven.
    2. How the canon and “musical museum” have affected the music produced after
    Beethoven and the ways in which later composers contend with its existence. This
    should include SPECIFIC examples.

    Your paper should have a clear thesis statement that uses the above readings and music to make
    a clear statement about (2). Your framing and background from (1) will serve as important

    There are a number of different directions you could go with this paper. Here are some questions
    you might consider*:

    – How did the idea of writing music, especially symphonies, change as a result of the “musical
    – How did the existence of the canon affect the works of Johannes Brahms (a late-19th century
    composer), Igor Stravinsky (a 20th century composer), and 21st century composers like Alex
    Temple? How are their ideas and works reactions to the existence of a traditional canon of
    musical masterworks?
    – How might the idea of genius and the musical museum affect the relationship between
    composers and the musicians that play their works?
    – How did pervasive societal attitudes towards expectations of gender roles affect opportunity
    for admittance into the canon?

    *You will not be able to thoroughly consider all of these ideas in 3-4 pages, and will have to
    choose the tack you take.

    You must back up your argument by citing sources from the reading above. Use no other


    As you progressed through the exploration of American music the industry and genres transformed over time.  As a future business leader where do you see the music industry expanding to in the 21st century?  Address the following topics

    • What platforms do you believe will be utilized to reach the largest audience?
    • Can American Music continue to compete on the World market?
    • How does the music industry continue to be profitable in a time of technology, immediate access, and free streaming/downloads?

    This should be (3) pages in length along with a title and reference page.  You can use your textbook as a source along with (2) supporting outside sources.  This should be done in APA format to include a cover page, and reference page.  


    Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand

    Click on the link to the virtual globe. When the glove appears, type “Hawaii” in the “Find a place…” box in the upper right hand corner.  Our first stop Hawaii is the most remote island group on earth. Note its relation to the rest of mainland United States. Then find Australia, our second stop and note its distance from Hawaii (You may have to refresh the site if it does not search right away or type India in the three dimensional map search bar). Lastly find New Zealand, note some of the many islands that encompass Oceania.



    A Trip to Hawaii

    © Bardocz Peter/Shutterstock.com


    What are your first impressions of the area and the music?


    © conejota/Shutterstock.com


    Oceania includes over 10,000 islands and includes Australia, New Zealand, Melanesia (meaning dark islands), Micronesia (small islands) and Polynesia (many islands). We will only be able to visit three parts of Oceania, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. Travelling first to Hawaii, the flight from New York City to Honolulu is a little close to 11 hours and from Los Angeles is under 6 hours.  


    As your order your ticket, do you know any fun facts about Hawaii? They are the only state in the United States that grows its own coffee and has tropical rainforests. In the 1960’s, astronauts trained by walking on Mauna Loa’s hardened lava fields because they are similar to the moon’s surface and with continuous volcanic eruptions, Hawaii is the only state in the nation to have an increasing land area and the highest sea cliffs in the world are on Moloka’i. One of the largest volcanic eruptions in Hawaii occurred as recently as 2018 on the Big Island, with enough lava to fill about 100,000 Olympic sized pools. Did you know that the island chain moves three inches west toward Japan each year?


    © Alexander Demyanenko/Shutterstock.com




    Background Information

    © Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com


    The Hawaiian Islands is an archipelago situated some 2,000 mi. (3,200 km) southwest of the North American mainland. Hawaii is the southernmost state of the United States and the second westernmost state after Alaska. Only Hawaii and Alaska do not share a border with another US state.


    Hawaii is not geographically located in North America, is completely surrounded by water, is entirely an archipelago, has royal palaces, and does not have a straight line in its state boundary.


    © IndianSummer/Shutterstock.com

    Hawaii’s tallest mountain, Mauna Kea, stands at 13,796 ft.(4,205 m). It is taller than Mount Everest if followed to the base of the mountain, which, lying at the floor of the Pacific Ocean, rises about 33,500 ft.(10,200 m).


    The eight main islands, Hawai’i, Maui, O’ahu, Kaho’olawe, Lana’i, Moloka’i, Kaua’i, and Ni’ihau are accompanied by many others. Ka’ala is a small island near Ni’ihau that is often overlooked. The Northwest Hawaiian islands are a series of nine small, older masses northwest of Kaua’i that extend from Nihoa to Kure that are remnants of once much larger volcanic mountains. There are also more than a hundred small rocks and islets, such as Molokini, that are either volcanic, marine sedimentary, or erosional in origin, totaling 130 or so across the archipelago.


    Before European contact, there was no written language other than pictorial symbols. The vocal sounds used in the Hawaiian language consist of the vowels A, E, I, O, U and the consonants H, K, L, M, N, P, and W. From a singing standpoint, this can be very beautiful. When we sing, the sounds we sustain are vowels. And chorus directors often work with their choirs to avoid the musical harshness of many consonants. In other words, Hawaiian language is a very singer-friendly language!



    Western Contact

    On his third voyage of exploration, the famous British navigator, Captain James Cook made the first contact of Europeans with the people of Hawaii in 1778. Cook’s ship returned to the island chain in 1779 and, when disagreements and violence erupted, he was taken captive and killed by the Hawaiians.


    This contact from the Western world would forever change Hawaii. Within five years, technology (firearms, etc.) gained from Cook’s contact enabled King Kamehameha I to conquer and unite the islands, becoming the first monarch of the archipelago.


    © Everett Historical/Shutterstock.com

    About fifty years later, after the death of Kamehameha I, ancient religious traditions began to break down. Protestant missionaries had begun arriving almost immediately after European contact. They were followed by American entrepreneur farmers wishing to establish plantations and grow sugar.


    The Hawaiian people quickly adapted to the new Christian hymn-singing style of music. Rather than singing and reciting traditional chants, hymns were sung in the new Hawaiian churches. By the 1820s, hymns had been composed and distributed in Hawaiian language. Dance (hula) was considered, by the missionaries, to be tempting people to licentious behavior and was banned. Traditional culture was being dangerously threatened!  


    Kamehameha I statue in front of Iolani Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii © Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock.com


    From the time of European contact to 1850, it is estimated that the Hawaiian population had declined by more than 80% due to Western diseases to which the native people had no resistance. By the middle 1800s, King Kamehameha IV was influential in embracing European music and dance, putting on evening chamber music programs. often replacing traditional music and values.


    King David Kalakaua, the last monarch of Hawaii, had the imperial Iolani palace constructed in 1874. 


    King David Kalakaua © Everett Historical/Shutterstock.com

    Putting this in perspective with US history, this was less than ten years after the US Civil War and the era of United States President Grant. Kalakaua embraced moving Hawaii into the world of the 1880s, but was concerned about the loss of native music and dance. At his coronation, he began a renaissance of Hawaiian traditional culture, language, and hula. It is difficult to kill a culture and this renaissance demonstrates that!


    [Before we pack our music folder with information about some of the history and important styles of music, let’s watch a short video made up of short scenes showing Hawaiian culture. These range from authentic traditional to tourism events that focus on keeping the Hula Dance alive.


    Hawaiian Culture and Traditions


    From this video, why would you like to visit? What musical sounds interested you?



    Leaving Baggage Behind

    © photoschmidt/Shutterstock.com


    Are there any preconceived notions or stereotypes that you have about Hawaii? Any aspects of Hawaiian culture that you’d like to explore?  Before we board the plane for Hawaii, is there any baggage you might consider leaving behind?


    I’ll tell you my own personal experience with ethnocentrism! When I moved from New York City to take a new college teaching position, I didn’t know anyone and someone suggested that I go to meet this well-known ethnomusicologist, Dr. Carolina Robertson. They thought I’d get along with her well because she was also really enthusiastic about world music and had lived all around the world studying music and culture! So, I met with her several times and she became my new hero. I signed up for a course with her as part of a PhD program at the University of Maryland. During about our third class, she was going to lecture on music of Hawaii and I was so excited because I knew this was one of her specialties. She started to sing, and what I heard was the sound of a cute old lady voice with wide vibrato and sliding, and I started thinking “My hero – a musician – can’t sing!” I didn’t want to start giggling, nor show how horrified I was. Sitting in a small room with only 6 other students (which is typical for a graduate level course), I respectfully tried to hide my face behind a book. Then, she taught us part of the chant and had us sing with her and thought, should I imitate the words, or the wobbly vocal sounds? Next, she plays a recording for us and it also has that sound, sometimes called portamento (word in italics). Apparently, the language has very strong sliding and somewhat wavy pronunciation and the wobbly sliding is a stylistic choice for traditional Hawaiian vocal chant! I was being ethnocentric – remember the definition from the second chapter?


    Ah but there’s more… When I was in 5th grade, I went to Hawaii with my family and the 3 things that I remember most are swimming for hours in the clearest ocean water, drinking pineapple juice out of the water fountains at the Dole Pineapple factory, and that when I grew up I wanted to be a hula dancer! To my surprise, the hula dancers in the hotels for evening entertainment were usually not authentic. Traditional Hula performances only happen during the day with the whole family – children, parents, aunties and uncles, grandparents – every age participates. True Hawaiian hula would never be done at night (thus, leaving children at home with a sitter) or near a hotel bar because they are important family events. Authentic Hula is always done outside. Probably the most shocking thing that Dr. Robinson taught me was that in those days, the dancers you saw in performances for tourists were often Japanese or Filipino because those establishments often catered to American tourists and military who supposedly liked tiny women who did hula. Hawaiian people are traditionally very tall and large boned – men and women! You’ll see this in several of the videos below along with representation by men and women, young and old performing! Who knew? Only by going to college did I learn that.




    “Aloha!” This word, as you will find in many traditional languages, has multiple meanings and is an important aspect of Hawaiian worldview. People use it to say hello and goodbye, but it is also an important concept of love and friendship that is used in many other contexts. Aloha!]1



    Where Does the Music Come From?

    The “genesis” or point of inspiration for traditional Hawaiian music is the story or words. Cultures with this focus are called logogenic (logos = word). In contrast with our culture, it is not likely in traditional Hawaiian culture to find a strictly instrumental piece of music. Music is secondary to the story being told. And HULA, the famous dance of these Pacific Islanders, is based on words and storytelling.


    © Valdecasas/Shutterstock.com

    Next comes a slightly longer talk about hula, music, and the value of the words. Please take notes on this video for future discussion.


    Hula: Preserving Native Hawaiian Language and Culture



    Ancient versus Modern

    Mele (meh-leh) is the Hawaiian term for music. Mele is also storytelling or poetry. Many stories or poems were given more “power” by adding music. Music can add power to a story in several ways, not the least of which is that music makes information easier to learn and remember.


    As noted above, Hawaiian music is logogenic. This means that the inspiration, or genesis, of musical pieces and performance, is the meaning of the words. When a society is non-literate, accurate retention and transmission of the “word” across generations and distances was of extreme importance. Many of the ancient cultures that we are studying relied on oral transmission rather than the written word. Oral transmission is the passing on of cultural knowledge by word of mouth from generation to generation.  We have the luxury of being able to rely on written language, and digital media. They had to depend on their collective memory. And they found music and dance to be great memory aides for social norms like parenting, governance, and values, as well as important historical information.



    DESTINATION 1: Traditional Mele

    © Kendall Hunt Publishing Company


    Mele oli is chant alone—no instruments and no dance. It often sounds rather mystical and dramatic. Mele oli is in free rhythm. This means that there is no set beat or rhythm—the chant goes at the pace of the accents and syllables in the words. For example, think of how it would sound if we were to chant your grocery list with only a couple of musical pitches. Some of you may have experienced free rhythm chants like this in church services. Again, Mele oli is only vocal—it has no instrumental accompaniment. And it is not intended for dance.


    Listen to this oli chant. Also, read the additional YouTube information called “Show More” that includes an English translation of the chant.


    Aloha Oli (Chant) at Malama-Ki


    Mele hula, on the other hand, is in a set meter (recurring cycle of accented and weak beats). It is usually accompanied by traditional Hawaiian instruments. And it is intended to be interpreted with meaningful dance. For various reasons, hula has continually developed. So, now we have both ancient hula and modern hula.



    DESTINATION 2: HULA, Old and New

    Kahiko (or Hula Kahiko) refers to ancient style—meaning that it is the style retained from pre-Western contact. Here are two kahiko (ancient or traditional) examples from the Merrie Monarch Festival, in Hilo, Hawaii.


    © Deborah Kolb/Shutterstock.com

    The first is performed by the kane (ka’-neh) or men. After the announcer introduces the group, you will hear a short Mele oli. Then a rhythm starts with traditional instruments and the men perform a mele ma’i (see below) selection.


    2009 Merrie Monarch Men Kahiko Winners – Ke Kai O Kahiki


    Wahine (women):


    2009 Merrie Monarch Women Kahiko Winners – Halau Na Mamo O Puuanahulu


    Instruments common in kahiko include:

    Ipu (ee’-pooh): single or double gourd

    Pahu (pa’-hooh): log drum, single-headed, played by hand (no sticks)


    Ipu: a gourd idiophone © BeeRu/Shutterstock.com

    Numerous other idiophones and membranophones were also used. One of the few wind instruments was the ohe hano ihu or nose flute.


    Common performance practices include

    · Kahea (ka-hey’-ah): The chanted statement of what the hula is about. It translates as “to call out.”

    · Ha’ina (ha-ee’-nah): The statement of the end of many hulas is ha’ina ia mai ana ka puana meaning “and so the story is told.”

    · i’i (ee-ee): Quivering, shaking voice, meant to communicate sincerity and honor.


    Content or subject matter of mele (music) covers many categories. Some are

    · Genealogy (ko’ihonua)

    · Praise to deity (pule)

    · Name chant (inoa) (honoring famous leaders, etc.)

    · Love and topical subjects (ho’oipoipo)

    · To express aloha (love/friendship), mahalo (gratidude/thanks), to boast, to insult, etc.


    One particular type of mele, mele ma’i, seems very odd to our modern US culture. It is the praise of genitals and fertility. This was far from an embarrassing or shameful topic for ali’i, the precontact ruling families of the islands. These chants of fertility were particularly important to the ali’i since it concerned the continuation of their bloodlines and power.


    Some mele (songs) have been actively performed in the culture for hundreds of years. Just as some music travels from region to region with changes that reflect the culture, some songs travel from generation to generation in the same area—with changes that reflect the time period.


    © Alberto Loyo/Shutterstock.com

    The other type of mele hula is called Auana, meaning “modern style.” Auana shows the effects of blended cultures. Missionaries were among the first western influences on the islands. Characteristics of Christian hymns, like choral singing, western melodies and rhythms, and western instruments, almost immediately showed up in native music.


    Here is an auana example performed by keiki (children). Listen for the more western modern sound of vocals and a band that typically includes guitar and/or ukulele and bass guitar. The dancing begins at 0:30.


    Ka Lā ʻŌnohi Mai O Ha’eha’e (‘Auana) – 2016 Queen Lili’uokalani Keiki Hula Competition


    A couple additional terms:

    Ha’ole (how-lee) is the Hawaiian term for foreigners. It is somewhat pejorative, but, more likely, just a word describing someone not from the local culture and land…especially a Caucasian from the US mainland.

    Hapa haole describes Hawaiian music that shows a good deal of Western influence (as with much modern Hawaiian music). If the music includes guitars, drums, keyboards, etc., it is hapa haole.


    We will listen to several versions of a hula named “Kawika.” Kawika is a name song honoring the last monarch of Hawaii, King David Kalakaua. As mentioned above, missionaries came to Hawaii soon after western contact and their influence was felt in many ways. They carried diseases to which native Hawaiians had no resistance. And they tried to eliminate all traces of native religion and the traditions and practices associated with it. The last Hawaiian monarch, King David Kalakaua, did a great deal to restore the language, music, and hula that had been nearly lost in the previous seventy years.


    The recordings are all from recent years, but each represents a different time period. Note the changes from ancient style chant to a modern popular song.


    Notice that in this an example of hula kahiko—ancient style. The recording begins with female dancers and the male kumu hula (leader or teacher) calling the kahea (what or who the story is about). Then, as the teacher chants, the dancers call out key words that may describe the dance motions. Also note that there are only two pitches in the chant—slightly higher and lower pitches—and it is accompanied by an ipu.




    This video shows the end of the song, with dancers. It ends with the ha’ina.




    One of the most famous versions is in auana, modern, style. It has a very long percussion introduction. Guitars begin at: 45 and the singers at 1:07.


    Sunday Manoa – Kawika


    Jake Shimabukuru is Hawaii’s most celebrated ukulele player. This version shows that instrumental music is now a part of the Hawaiian music tradition. [At first you hear a strummed groove, and then he goes into a great solo section. What instrument is accompanying the ukulele?]1


    Jake Shimabukuro “KAWIKA” LIVE


    DESTINATION 3: Ukulele, Jumping Flea

    One of the most famous instruments of Hawaii is the ukulele. The following story, whether true or false, comes from ukulele enthusiasts.


    Credit for the name “ukulele” is most often given to Portuguese sailors and immigrants who came to Hawaii in about 1880. The little four-string, guitar-shaped braguinha some of them carried along from their home island of Madeira was easy to transport on ship.


    The story goes that one of them carried the instrument on land and began strumming familiar folk songs. Hawaiians who were on the dock watched the strumming and finger work on the instrument’s neck and remarked “ukulele,” which translates as “jumping flea.”


    Another story claims that it was the energetic antics of the player that reminded the Hawaiians of a jumping flea.


    © zaozaa19/Shutterstock.com

    Some stories include King David Kalakaua as being in the audience.


    That’s their folk story and they are sticking to it. As you now know Hawaiians love stories, old and new.


    The standard ukulele has four strings that are usually made from a synthetic material like nylon. Today they can be found in various shapes and sizes and range in price from well under $100 to several thousand dollars. They are most often acoustic (nonamplified), but electric versions are also available.


    Because it is small and relatively easy to get started with, it is popular with all ages.


    The ukulele is such a staple of Hawaiian culture that you will see someone carrying one on the sidewalk. You will see them on the bus. You will nearly always find someone strumming on the popular beaches. There is even a term, kanikapila, for impromptu (unplanned) jams on the beach. Find a uke and give it a try!


    © artshock/Shutterstock.com

    Hawaii’s most popular performer was Broddah Iz, Israel Kamakawio’ole (1959–1997), a beloved singer and uke player. His “Over the Rainbow” has become an icon of contemporary music. He was a vocalist and ukulele performer who fused Hawaiian music with other styles, such as jazz and reggae. Kamakawiwo’ole’s music remains a very strong influence in Hawaiian music even twenty years past his death.


    OFFICIAL Somewhere over the Rainbow – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole


    Israel Kamakawiwo’ole: “Living in a Sovereign Land” talks about the standing controversy over Hawaiian sovereignty.


    Living in a Sovereign Land- “LIVE” Israel Kamakawiwo’ole


    Keali’i Reichel, a performer and kumu hula, is another extremely influential performer in Hawaii.


    Natural beauty of Hawaii – Eo Mai – Keali’i Reichel


    A relative newcomer to the world stage is ukulele virtuoso, Jake Shimabukura. Here is a very famous Youtube video of him playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”


    Ukulele weeps by Jake Shimabukuro


    The islands have an annual native music award ceremony, the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. These represent the most successful musicians of the islands.


    Hawaiian language version of “Hallelujah,” written by Leonard Cohen and covered in many movies.


    Kuana Torres Kahele @ Na Hoku Hanohano Awards 2013


    © Boykov/Shutterstock.com


    © Eric Broder Van Dyke/Shutterstock.com


    © Kostakes/Shutterstock.com




    What’s on the Menu? 

    I suggest that we all attend a Luau – a Hawaiian feast and cultural event filled with great music, storytelling and dance. The word Luau is in reference to taro leaves which are part of many popular dishes. A few of the popular luau dishes that you will have to choose from are Poi (pounded taro plant root that is a starch that is eaten with everything), Kalua Pig (roasted pork prepared in an underground oven), Laulau (meat wrapped in leaves and steamed), and for dessert Haupia (coconut pudding). There will also be all kinds of fish, fruit, and drinks. Aloha!


    Dinner Conversation

    1. What influence does language have in Hawaiian music?  What influence does language have in music from your culture?

    2. What are some of the negative effects that missionaries had on Hawaiian or any Oceanic cultures? How did this effect the music?

    3. Do you think cultural traditions can be destroyed? How has this had an effect in Hawaiian culture and your own?

    4. Look online for information about the life and career of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (IZ). What do you find interesting? How was his life reflected in his performance, music, videos?

    5. What are some of the pros and cons of written language, digital media versus oral transmission as reliable source?




    Go Through Customs Before Boarding for Australia


    © Maxx-Studio/Shutterstock.com



    [A Trip to Australia

    Buying Our Ticket


    © conejota/Shutterstock.com

    Australia’s airport in Sydney is one of the longest trips we will take from the United States.  If we fly immediately from Hawaii to Sydney, it would take almost 11 hours, but from New York City it will take over 22 hours with at least one stop and from Los Angeles over 17 hours with at least one stop.  


    As your order your ticket, what interesting things have you heard about Australia and its wildlife? You may have learned in your earlier school days about the adorable Koala bear that eats Eucalyptus leaves, or Kangaroos with their baby wallaby in their pouch, but did you know that Australia has over 836 species of spiders? Do you remember learning about the duck-billed platypus – a semiaquatic, egg-laying mammal?  Look it up and check out another unusual animal the emu. Bats called flying foxes have an important ecological role in pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds native to Australia. Some of the best surfing beaches and competitions are in Australia.  The Great Barrier Coral reef is the largest coral eco system in the world, studied and protected by marine biologists all over the world. All of Australia’s coral reefs have been threatened due to climate change which not threatens the worlds ecosystem but also the continent’s economy.  Lastly, there is extreme terrain in Australia, beautiful beaches, lush gardens, mountain ranges, and deserts called the bush. Based on the natural landscape, can you think of some topics that traditional singers might write about in their songs? 


    © rickyd/Shutterstock.com


    Before we pack our suitcase, let’s watch a video of Ash Dargan playing the didgeridoo an Indigenous Australian instrument.  In this video, watch how the visuals and words not only give you a feeling for the continent, but also how the sounds contribute to the overall sentiment of Australia’s land.


    This is the Territory by Ash Dargan




    As you pack your suitcase, listen to this song Hautoa – The Warrior performed by the group Oceania. 


    Background Information


    The population of Oceania is close to 32 million throughout the entire region, with small amounts of the population in somewhat remote areas keeping their traditions and languages alive. The Indigenous population of 6.5 million, is small for such a vast area, but is slowly growing again. Its original inhabitants include the Indigenous aborigines and the Torres Strait people. The Australian government offered an official apology for the abusive treatment of its Indigenous people, and offered some reparation, but prejudice and inequity still exist. For more about the Indigenous culture specific to Australia in the video below. 


    Australians Together

    The 2002 feature film “Rabbit Proof Fence” exemplifies the perseverance of young children to find their way back home from the residential school that they were forced to live in 1500 away from their families.   


    “Rabbit Proof Fence” Trailer




    The Sydney airport is one of the largest and is located on Botany Bay land to the Tharawal and Eora original peoples and their clans.  It was also the site of James Cook’s landing in 1770. He was a navigator, explorer and captain for the British Royal Navy. His landing marked the beginning of Britain’s colonial interest in Australia and neighboring islands.  Australia is a commonwealth, with a constitutional monarchy, governed by federal, state and territory governments, with Queen Elizabeth II of Britain as its head of state.  European influence, particularly through colonization by England and France, as well as missionary effects have changed the customs greatly, but commitment to language restoration and the remoteness of some island groups has allowed traditions to stay alive. Although English and French are the official languages, there are over 5000 languages, many of which are still spoken. Animism (the belief that all living things are animate or filled with spirit), totemism (an individual’s connection to animal and natural spirits, such as wind, mountains) and Christianity are the main religions practiced throughout Australia.  Most of the population lives in urban and suburban areas.



    Leaving Baggage Behind 

    © Shutterstock.com 


    Thanks to many movies, Australia is often depicted as all outback with uninhabited dusty roads going through deserts, but in fact, Australia thriving multi-cultural metropolitan cities.  Sydney is home to one of the most famous opera houses and is one of the most photographed buildings in the world. Although there are some poisonous creatures in Australia, they pose very little threat and it is said that one is more likely to be killed by falling off a horse than by one of its animals. No one rides kangaroos and actually they are not as cute as some might think as they can be extremely aggressive. Although over 150,000 British convicts were “co


    The Land Where the Blues Began

    Attached Files:

    ·  File handout questions on Where the Blues Began (1) (1).docx handout questions on Where the Blues Began (1) (1).docx – Alternative Formats (14.355 KB) 

    Watch the following documentary the answer the questions that are attached..  You will need to include personal reflection on ALL reflective answers for full credit. 


    DUE 27 March


    “The Land Where the Blues Began”

    According to Alan Lomax, The Mississippi Delta was a frontier wilderness were newly freed black Americans came by the thousands looking for work, adventures and an opportunity for better paying jobs

    Old Blues philosophy, “It takes a man to have the blues to sing the blues.”

    The Blues can sometimes be a conversation between the blues man and his instrument.

    The Blues has always been “dance music” that is melancholy by nature….

    Find the answers to the following questions

    How is the Blues described by the narrator of this video…?

    Songs of __________ caught between ____________ and ____________… The bitter poetry of oppressed people.

    According to Lomax what is the comparison between the Mississippi Levy and the Great Wall of China?

    Write a small reflective paragraph on the following topics included in this documentary

    1. Famer life:

    2. Levy Workers camps and living conditions…

    3. River workers… (include the difference between a Good man vs Pretty boy)

    4, Church Services shown:

    (The video stated that “In the land of the blues, the only place to take your hurt was the church”)

    5. Bar “toasts”

    From the African American play on language came not only the poetry associated with the blues but also the foundation for Rap music.

    Not all blues follow the urban 12 bar formula… the rural blues where much freer in form.


    Identify the characteristic differences in music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras, specifically through the Elements of Music. Listen to Palestrina’s 
    Pope Marcellus Mass
    , and Handel’s 
    Messiah, “Rejoice Greatly”
    . Then identify and post responses to how the two pieces mentioned differ using the following metrics: rhythm, harmony, texture, medium, genre, stylistic era, composer, date, and title.

    Due 11 Apr

    Grading Criteria
    You should make a substantive post of at least 200 words


    Discussion Board 4 – Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”

    200 Words

    Before listening to the aria, recitative and trio from the end of Act I of The Marriage of Figaro, review the characters and the scenario (Chapter 32). Take note of the stylistic differences in the music for Cherubino, Susanna, and the Count. Given the roles of these characters and the situation they are now in, how does Mozart use musical elements (from Part 1) to express the nature of the scene? How does the music cue a comic/serious event or character? What role does the orchestra play? Are the instrumentalists simply providing background music? Or are they also participating in the events that are unfolding? How does the instrumentation differ between the three different sections (aria/recitative/trio), and how does the changing instrumentation impact the scenes overall?


     You will choose a genre of music from the textbook and find a music video or video clip that is representative of that music genre. Your textbook refers to genres or performance practices as “Sites,” so consider this a “digital field site visit,” in which you are the digital ethnomusicologist researching this music! You can choose a “site” we have or have not yet covered in class, if you want to skip ahead if there is a genre that is of interest to you. 1. Write one paragraph describing the musical genre, providing general, background, and introductory information. You may also include some introduction of the video clip. 2. Then, write two paragraphs proving that the clip you have chosen represents that musical genre; this may be proven in a number of ways: what instruments are played, how many performers there are, if there is singing, the structure of the piece, participatory elements, associated dances, the formality of performance, other musical elements (timbre, dynamics, etc.), texture (homophony, heterophony, polyphony, monophony), or non-musical elements (for example religious or spiritual component, political themes, etc.). Use your textbook to help you prove your video fits the genre. 3. Finally, write one paragraph as if you were going to continue to research this music as an ethnomusicologist, and you are asking me to fund or support your research project. What would your next steps be? Where would you go? Who would you interview? What questions would you ask? You should conclude with a statement on the significance a research project on this kind of music would have (this can be personal or aimed at a more general audience). 4. Be sure to include the source and link to the clip, the title and artist (if that information is available), and any other information necessary to credit the performance and resource. Videos that I provide in class lectures or online materials will not be accepted. You should also cite the portion of the textbook referenced. Music genre to work on = inuit throat singing 

    • a month ago


    Final Reflection

    Prior to this class I had virtually no knowledge about singing technique. My only real experience with singing came from sight-singing exercises in my music classes, or singing chorus back-up vocals with my mariachi band in high school. In both cases, the singing was very simple and only consisted of brief phrases, I had never sung an entire song before. Furthermore, I had never performed a solo before, even on an instrument. 

    The chapter that stood out to me the most was the one focused on breath. I grew up playing violin and later the keyboard, which are two instruments which require no breathing technique at all. So learning to control my breath in a musical context was a bit of a learning curve for me. I do, however, have experience with public speaking (I perform poetry and stand-up at open mics) and was able to apply some of those skills here. This included planning when I was going to breathe ahead of time, so that I am never caught off guard by running out of breath. The concept of “anchoring the breath” in the belly was totally foreign to me, though, and completely changed the way I approach breathing now. I had no idea that people could control our breath in that way, by simply being conscious of where it is being stored in our body. Like I mentioned in my practice journal, I have been able to use breath technique in other areas of my life as well. This includes when giving tours for the admissions office (going up the hills and speaking to a crowd at the same time is very difficult) but also when I perform at open mics. In this unit we also learned about the relationship between breath and body alignment. Here, my previous musical experience did pay off. Good posture is important to all instruments, but the violin in particular requires a very deliberate position to play properly.

    The other chapter that was very interesting to me was chapter 6, on diction. The goal of this chapter was to improve our enunciation while singing by breaking down lyrics phonetically via the IPA vowel standards. We also learned to be conscious of our natural tendencies which might obscure certain sounds. For example, the difference between voiced and unvoiced consonants made me conscious of whether or not I was clearly singing “love” and not “lofe.” This chapter not only made me a better singer, but also stood out to me because I am very interested in the relationship between language and music. When I paid attention to vowel sounds in isolation, I realized how common it was for the notes I was singing to correspond with the shape my mouth formed to sing a lyric. For example, in “Over the Rainbow,” to sing “some” [U] my jaw lowers, which corresponds with the low-C I am singing. Then, to sing “where” [ɛ] my mouth raises, which corresponds with the high-c I am singing. I do not think this is something that composers do deliberately. Rather, I think it is something that subconsciously happens, and I have been able to find instances like this in my own music as well. 

    Overall, this class made me aware of my body in ways that I never had to think about before. Everything, from how much sleep I got the night before to what type of liquid I was drinking affected how I performed that day. In this way, sleeping is a sport just as much as it is an art form. This class also made me realize how much of a tactile learner I am when it comes to music. One of the things that scared me away from singing in the past was not being able to match pitch, and I still struggled with that in class this semester. However, whenever I practiced singing at a piano, it was like someone flipped a switch in my brain and I could suddenly match pitch. Being able to physically feel the notes (or more importantly, the distance between the notes) really helps me to connect with the sound. I think this may also be a consequence of violin playing, where feeling the right position is just as important as hearing the right notes.


    For your final project, you will perform a “commutation” exercise (examples will be shown in class). You will choose a short sequence – between 2 and 5 minutes – from any film clip available on YouTube, and completely rebuild the soundtrack using music of your own choosing. You will write an accompanying 5-page response (double-spaced) discussing your scene and changes, and we will screen the end results for the whole class.

    Some questions to consider: How does music function in tandem with visuals, sound effects, and dialogue to create the mood of a scene, and how does music relate to cinematic action? Whose emotions does the music align us with, and how? Analyze the music in your original chosen scene, and discuss its style, placement, and effect. Then explain why you chose the music you chose, and why you placed it where you did. What were some challenges or surprises you discovered along the way?

    You will graded primarily on your write-up. Below is a rubric for how it will be graded.

    An A write-up: student described both affect & musical gesture of before-and-after in great detail, and provided discussion of how affect ties into musical gestures.

    A B write-up: student described both affect & musical gesture of before-and-after in moderate detail, with some discussion of how affect ties into musical gestures.

    A C write-up: student described both affect & musical gesture of before-and-after in some detail, with room for growth in describing relationship between affect & musical gesture.

    A D write-up: student briefly described affect or musical gesture of before-and-after in some detail, with room for growth in describing relationship between affect & musical gesture.

    An F write-up: student briefly described affect or musical gesture using vague language, providing little to no detail about the relationship between affect & musical gesture.