Weekly Course Updates

Check here at the beginning of each week for specific notes and instructions regarding the week’s assignments. New material will be added at the top.

For January 31: Three things.

  1. Read through the Final Project page.
  • Click through to all the links.
  • Watch all video and listen to all audio.
  • Write down all the dates from the timeline in a planner or put them in a calendar app.

2. Read “Some Fundamentals of African Music,” Peter van der Merwe (this has technical musical terms and some music notation examples)

3. Browse “Musical Passage”: A website dedicated to the earliest known pieces of African music in the Americas. The pieces were transcribed in a 1707 book called Voyage to the Islands of Madera, Barbados, St. Christophers, and Jamaica, known as the “Hans Sloane Document.” Hans Sloane was a British naturalist who went to Jamaica in 1687 as physician to the British governor of Jamaica. He included several West African songs, which he heard enslaved musicians play on his trip, in his book (it is thought that the music was transcribed for him by an enslaved man who had been trained in Western music notation).

If you have any questions, comment on this post.

A little message to you. Not safe for work or kids but 100% true.

First class: Defining our terms, syllabus explained, what to expect
We will be thinking about the questions:

  • What is Black music?
  • On a more fundamental level, what is Blackness?
  • What is “race”? Who defines what race is? Who defines what culture is?
  • Are there a limited number of recognized/accepted ways that one may express one’s race and/or culture? Or are the ways that people of a given group may engage in cultural expression infinite?
  • What does it mean to be an American (of any color)?

Keep these questions close. They will be the basis for everything we study this semester!

For January 26 class, please read the linked blog post, below. (Click on the title “Blackberry Fool” to take you there.)

Watch the embedded videos, and click on ALL the links. Your Question of the Day will be on these readings!

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