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Music 146: Introduction to World Musics

Spring 2016, Hanes Art Center Room 0121, Monday/Wednesday 2:303:20

Instructor: Prof. Michael A. Figueroa, Hill Hall 209 (
Office Hours: Monday 1:002:15
Recitation Instructors: Joanna Helms, Megan Ross, Sarah Tomlinson
Office Hours: TBD
This one-semester survey is an entry-level undergraduate course, open to students across the
university (there are no prerequisites). The course is designed to provide you with knowledge of a
variety of musics from around the world and an understanding of the reciprocal relationships
between music and culture. It satisfies the VP (Visual or Performing Arts) and BN (Beyond the
North Atlantic) requirements.
In this course, you will learn how to form and articulate sophisticated ideas about the social practice
of music in several contexts throughout the world. In this age of globalization, prevailing
understandings of music-making, rooted in the localities of the pre-modern era, have come under
fire in much ethnomusicological and anthropological research. The focus of our discussions will be
on connections and relationships between peoples and places and amongst the peoples in those
places, rather than on isolated, homogenous locales. Indeed, by studying those musical networks as
global phenomena, we can understand other types of social relationships, be they political,
economic, religious, colonial, or otherwise. Together, we will make sense of the complex and
compelling array of issues presented by the study of world musics.
Shelemay, Kay Kaufman Shelemay, Soundscapes: Exploring Music in a Changing World (Third
edition, 2015).
Available at the UNC student bookstore and online through W.W. Norton & Co. or Amazon.
Please be sure to purchase the third edition. Those who find it productive to read on computer or
tablet screens are encouraged to purchase the digital edition, which is less expensive than print and
includes embedded multimedia.
You will be required to complete course readings before the start of class each Monday. This includes
all written text as well as all included audio/visual material.
In addition to Sakai, there is a very useful library guide site set up for you at:


The final grade will be calculated as follows:
Ethnographic sketch (x2)
Mid-term exam
Final exam


Attendance at each lecture and recitation is mandatory. Students are allowed to miss two sessions for
any reason, but each unexcused absence in excess of these will result in a reduction in the final grade
by one-third of a letter grade (for example, an A will become an A-, an A- a B+, and so forth). While
in class, students are expected to participate in discussion. As such, it is critical that students
complete all assigned reading and listening.
The weekly schedule will involve readings completed for Monday lecture and research assignments,
as outlined below, to be presented and/or submitted at the time of your recitation meeting. There
will not generally be assigned reading for Wednesday lectures, because these class meetings will
usually involve deeper engagement with music discussed in the readings you will have already
completed for Monday.
Twice during the semester, students will attend live music events and reflect on their experiences in
an ethnographic sketch. The events must be framed in terms of one of the musical cultures discussed
during the semester, but they do not necessarily have to conform to the traditional concert frame.
Other types of events may include religious services, rehearsals, jam sessions, parties, and others. If
youre unsure whether an event qualifies, please ask Prof. Figueroa or your recitation instructor in
advance of the event and/or assignment deadline. Each ethnographic sketch will be 23 pages in
length. Guidelines will be posted on Sakai and discussed briefly in class.
All essays will be double-spaced, 12-pt. font, 1 margins. Points will be deducted for improper
formatting. There will not be a penalty should you exceed the page-count specified in the assignment
This course operates under the terms of the UNC-CH Honor Code, which covers issues such as
plagiarism, falsification, unauthorized assistance or collaboration, cheating, and other grievous acts of
academic dishonesty. All students must be familiar with, and abide by, the Code (see; violations of it will have severe consequences.
Any student in this course who has a disability that may prevent him or her from fully
demonstrating his or her abilities should contact the UNC-CH Office of Accessibility Resources &
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Service ( as soon as possible to discuss accommodations that can

be made.
Week 1 (1/11 & 1/13): Introduction to (World) Musics
Nettl, The Art of Combining Tones: The Music Concept (Sakai)
Week 2 (1/20): What is a Soundscape?
Soundscapes, Introduction
Research: Write a 1-page musical autobiography. What role has music played in your life up till
now? Did you sing or play an instrument in grade school, write songs, attend concerts,
Week 3 (1/25 & 1/27): Sound: The Materials of Music
Soundscapes, Ch. 1
Research: Choose your favorite song or composition. Bring a recording of it to present in recitation
section, being prepared to discuss sound/materials with your classmates.
Week 4 (2/1 & 2/3): Setting: The Study of Local Musics
Soundscapes, Ch. 2
Research: Attend one local (off-campus) musical event, take field notes (see handout), and share
your experience in recitation.
Week 5 (2/8 & 2/10): Significance: Musics Meaning in Everyday Life
Soundscapes, Ch. 3
Research: Write a 12-page essay, discussing the musical library on your phone, tablet, or
computerthis may include musical recordings you own or access via a streaming
service. After taking stock of your collection, choose one song/composition and dedicate
at least one or two paragraphs to discussing its personal meaning for you.
Week 6 (2/15 & 2/17): Music and Migration
Soundscapes, Ch. 4
Research: First ethnographic sketch due on Monday, 2/15.
Extra credit: Attend A.J. Racy Concert, 2/19 @ 6pm, FedEx Global Education Center (Mandela
Week 7 (2/23 & 2/25): Music and Memory
Soundscapes, Ch. 5
Research: Memorize the lyrics to one song in a language that you do not speak. Prepare to sing a
verse or two in recitation.
Week 8 (2/29 & 3/2): Interlude: Knowledge, Ethics, and Culture
Berliner, The Soul of Mbira (Sakai)

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Research: Write a 12-page essay discussing a controversy or ethical problem related to music. This
may include reproduction/piracy, covering, resource access, music industry economics,
neighborhood development, or any other issue. Lay out the argument of both (or all) sides
and take an ethical position on the issue.
Week 9 (3/7 & 3/9): Midterms
Review: Soundscapes, Chs. 15
Midterm Exam: Wednesday, March 9
Week 10 (3/21 & 3/23): Music, Mobility, and the Global Marketplace
Soundscapes, Ch. 6
Research: Find one recorded example (not mentioned in the textbook) of international musical
collaboration or performance. In recitation, present an excerpt of the recording along with
information about the musicians involved.
Week 11 (3/28 & 3/30): Music and Dance
Soundscapes, Ch. 7
Research: Using YouTube, learn one dance or style of dance and teach your classmates the moves
during recitation.
Week 12 (4/4 & 4/6): Music and Ritual
Soundscapes, Ch. 8
Research: Attend one ritualfor example, a religious service (any religion or denomination), a
campus procession, etc.and document the role of music in facilitating the service/ritual.
Present your findings in recitation.
Week 13 (4/11 & 4/13): Music and Politics
Soundscapes, Ch. 9
Research: Second ethnographic sketch due on Monday, 4/11
Week 14 (4/18 & 4/20): Music and Identity
Soundscapes, Ch. 11
Research: Write a 12-page essay answering the following question: Why does music matter?
Week 15 (4/25 & 4/27): Postlude: Musical Frames
Turino, Participatory and Presentational Performance
Review: Soundscapes, Chs. 611
Final Exam: Friday, May 6, 8:00am

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