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American Sounds: Ballads, Blues, & Roots Music Mark Greenberg Summer, 2012 – on-line SYLLABUS DESCRIPTION: American Sounds

is an interdisciplinary survey of American “folk” music (including ballads, blues, old-time, bluegrass), focusing on its European and African ancestry. It explores the relationship between folk and popular culture and the process of cultural interaction in the United States with particular emphasis on the relationship between African and Anglo/Celtic cultural elements and contributions. Extensive use is made of audio and video examples. The main text is LeRoi Jones' (Amiri Baraka’s) Blues People, along with articles and portions of other books. There will be several short papers and a term paper/project. REQUIRED MATERIALS: 1. Book: Jones, Leroi. Blues People. Perennial/Harper Collins. 2002. (earlier edition is ok too) 2. DVD: The Unbroken Circle: VT Music—Tradition & Change. Multicultural Media DVD MCM 1001 3. CD: The Alan Lomax Popular Songbook 4. Other, short readings are available on UVM Library e-reserve and will be linked directly from the course Blackboard site. 5. RECOMMENDED CD: The Smithsonian Folkways American Roots Collection COURSE OBJECTIVES: 1. To increase awareness, understanding, and appreciation of a variety of American music genres and styles and to see connections and relationships among them; 2. To increase understanding of American culture and history (the music's contexts); 3. To explore relationships between music, ethnic/cultural communities, American history, and society; 4. To think about the ways in which we think about cultural categories. SCHEDULE: WEEK I: Introductions Terms and Concepts: Vernacular, Folk, Traditional, Popular The "Folk Process" WEEK II: Anglo/Celtic Roots & Branches: Ballads & Old Time Music WEEK III: African Roots & Branches: From Field Hollers to the Blues WEEK IV: Next Steps: The Emergence of Bluegrass and Chicago Blues WEEK V: Topical Songs & the Folk Revival

WEEK VI: Your Turn: Final Projects HOW THE COURSE WORKS: 1. Weekly activities: a. Read my introductory comments b. Listen to and/or read the text of my comments on the previous week's materials and work c. Read all assigned readings. d. Listen to the music (both the online MP3 files and the required CD collection); watch the videos (both online and from the required DVD). e. Complete and submit exercises and writing assignments. f. Participate in on-line discussions. WORK EXPECTATIONS: 1. Watch and listen to the week’s audio and video clips. 2. Complete all the readings on time. 3. Submit all exercises, papers, and projects on time. There will be several short papers and a course project (due at the end). 4. Participate in on-line discussions. 5. Submit 2 evaluations at the end of the course: a self-assessment (for me only) and an assessment of the course and me (for UVM). 6. Spend an average of 2 hours/day on this course. GRADES: 1. Papers: 25% (each paper not submitted = 0; late papers = minus 1 grade, unless you've made special arrangements with me) 2. Course project 40% 3. Participation in on-line discussions & exercises: 15% 4. Use of course materials (audio, video, readings): 20%