World Music Exploration

 Assignment #3 – World Music Exploration Goal of the assignment: 1) To become familiar with music and dance from other cultures. 2) To learn how to analyze music as an ethnomusicologist. Assignment: Research and write about a world music tradition Step 1) Search Youtube for one example of World Music that interests you. Choose from the following list of traditions or find a closely related tradition if you prefer: North America: Native American powwow; Louisiana Cajun music; Mexican ranchera or corrido. South America: Andean flute and panpipe music; Brazilian samba drumming Europe: Eastern European folk music; Irish folk music Africa: African Highlife; African kora; South African isicathamiya Middle East: Arabic takht ensemble (maqam); Mevlevi whirling dervishes South Asia: Hindustani music or Carnatic music (Indian raga); Tibetan Buddhist chanting and instruments Southeast Asia: Indonesian gamelan; Thai piphat East Asia: Japanese shamisen; Japanese taiko drums; Chinese opera; Korean samul nori percussion Australia and the Pacific: Australian Aborigine music; Hawaiian Hula drum and dance Step 2) Analyze in detail your specific example using Alan P. Merriam’s model of SOUND-CONCEPTS-BEHAVIOR as discussed in class by answering all the questions on the following pages. To be able to answer all of the questions regarding your musical example (especially Concepts and Behavior), you will need to consult a few library sources and the best source to start with is The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, a multi-volume work that is located in the Reference section of the Music Library (upstairs in our building). Each volume covers a different geographic area and most world music traditions are included in this encyclopedia. Use other library sources as necessary and cite all your sources at the end. QUESTIONS IN ETHNOMUSICOLOGY (based on Alan Merriam’s 3-part model) My video example is (title and web address): ___________________________________________________ SOUND: describe what we can hear in this music Timbre What is the overall texture? (Voice, small ensemble, large ensemble, etc.) What words best describe the timbre of the voice (if vocal music)? (rough/smooth; nasal; bright; vibrato, etc.) Do the vocals sound song-like or speech-like? Is the singing melismatic or syllabic or something in between? What instrument types are used? (idiophones, membranophones, aerophones, chordophones) Melody/Pitch Does the melody have a wide range or narrow range? Does the melody use wide intervals or narrow intervals? Rhythm Is it metrical (you can tap your foot to it) or non-metrical (free meter)? If metrical, does it sound like duple meter? triple meter? a combination of duple & triple? Are there rhythmic accents? Is the rhythm slow, medium, fast? Dynamics Is the music quiet? Loud? A mixture of dynamic range? Phonic structure What is the phonic structure (or texture)? (Monophony: single line of music; Polyphony: multiple lines of music occurring simultaneously. Heterophony: two or more performers playing same melody slightly different; Drone with melody.) BEHAVIOR: describe what we can observe about this music What country or culture is represented by this music? Who makes the music? Who listens to the music? (e.g., men/women; young/old; upper/lower class; urban/rural; professional/amateur; ethnic minority/majority) Where is it performed? (e.g., concert stage, nightclub, church, outdoors) Are there any specific activities associated with this music? (e.g., dance, drama, work, worship, weddings, funerals) What relationships exist between this music and other domains of culture? (economics, politics, social structure, religion, rituals, sports, etc.) Is notation being used or is music played from memory? What appears to be the social function of this music? (e.g., bring people together to socialize, entertain audiences, honor the gods, etc.) CONCEPTS: describe the native concepts or ideas behind this music Is this considered “music” by the people making it? Or is it classified as something else? What terms exist to describe this music? Is there any explicit theory behind this music? What is the specific name used to describe this genre or style? What makes this music powerful, effective, or beautiful for the people who make it? What does music mean? What does it reference? What does it communicate? Does the music or the instruments used have any symbolic meanings? Why do these people make this music?

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