You are required to write a 5-page (double-spaced, standard tabs) research paper about a musical culture NOT covered in this course. Areas covered in this course include India, Indonesia, Japan, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, so you can choose any part of the world OTHER than these. Some areas to consider are: Native America, Polynesia, Australia, China, Korea, Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Arctic Circle…. wherever, as long as it’s not covered in our course.
For this assignment, please use Nettl’s 3-part model, addressed in “Unit 1: Introduction” and Chapter 1 in our textbook. Focus on the Sounds, Behaviors and Ideas or Conceptions that govern the sounds and behaviors of the musical genre/activity you choose. It’s best if you stick to a specific genre or ensemble from whatever region you choose for this research paper. For example, if you wanted to write about music from Spain, don’t try to summarize all Spanish music (too broad, too big) but pick a specific genre or activity to focus on, such as Flamenco. Want to research Hawaiian music? Stick to hula or string bands. The point is, focus on one genre or activity from a region and give in-depth details, not just a broad, surface cultural overview.
What sounds are you hearing? Talk about the instruments (and voices) of the musical genre/activity. What are they made of and what do they sound like? Are there any rules or restrictions surrounding these instruments, like who can play or when one can play? Can you comment on the texture and form of the music? Texture refers to layers of activity. How many musicians are present and how do they relate to one another? Form refers to how the music is organized and presented,. How long does a performance last and how are the melodies and rhythms arranged. Lastly, what does the music sound like to you, the outsider?
What activities are associated with this musical genre/activity? What are people doing while this musical activity is happening? Is there a specific purpose or function surrounding this music, or is it just for enjoyment/entertainment? Does this musical activity have any behavioral restrictions regarding religion, age or gender? Is everyone participating communally or are the musicians/singers/dancers presenting music to an audience…. why? Lastly, can you draw any connections to musical behaviors in your life or culture?
What ideas or conceptions govern the sounds and behaviors of your chosen musical genre/activity? Why are people creating this music and why are people participating? Address ideas surrounding history, culture and musical evolution. Most musical genres throughout the world express indigenous and foreign, or outsider aspects. What traits are uniquely regional, or indigenous, and what traits are coming from an outside influence and why? Again, almost all music has a combination of both! How have politics, religion or human migration affected this musical genre/activity? Lastly, can you relate what you learned to your own life experiences?
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