What settings are associated with it? Is it typically performed for large crowds in a public place, or in family homes, or in the background of a restaurant?

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Jun 4, 2021


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So in my writing I would say I’m better than the average university student, and would throw in some intelletucual vocabulary in my essay. In my paper I want to find the history and origin of how street dance came to be in the U.S. and it’s influence on Hip-hop with differenct subcategories of street dance (breakdancing, krumping, pop & locking, etc.).
(Let me know if you have other questions!!!)
I have four investigations I have to do, although not a research paper I have questions from each of them listed below. I also provided a link to the book that has been refered to, which I think you can get a trial on so you don’t necessarily need to buy the book to reference it. Investigations 2-3 has to be 800-1200, but doesn’t necessarily need to even meet the marker of 800 words, if all the points are covered thoroughly front to back. Investigation 1 could go as far as 600-700 words, but preferebly at least 800 if possible. Investigations are listed as followed and would preferablly be in seperate pages for each new investigation. Would want a decent amount of references as well. Investigations from 1-4 are listed in order.
Investigation 1: Listening
Using the concepts and vocabulary from chapters 13 (plus the Introduction), describe the sound, setting, and significance your musical thing as well as you can.
What does it sound like? What kinds of instruments and vocal techniques are involved? How are pitch and duration organized, in terms of scales and meters? What sorts of textures and formal arrangements are most typical? How much do these things vary from case to case?
What settings are associated with it? Is it typically performed for large crowds in a public place, or in family homes, or in the background of a restaurant? Is it recorded on smartphones, or in professional studios? Who are the performers and audiences, the casual fans and connoisseurs? What other musical settings does it impinge on, and what settings does it exclude?
What is its significance to the performers, audiences, and other concerned parties? Think about the three kinds of musical meaning laid out on p. 125: imitation of sounds, signifying entities or ideas, and specific cultural codes. Think about functional roles (what is this music for?) and social controversies (who/what does this music comfort or threaten?). I sometimes find it helpful to imagine what would change if this music were to be swapped with some other kindwhat meaning does this music carry, that any other kind of music would not?
You definitely wouldnt want to answer all of these questions in such a short paper. Im just spitballin here, so go with whatever catches your curiosity. But do try to give a thorough account of sound, setting, and significance.
Grading criteria (out of 10):
109: This paper describes the sound, setting, and significance with sensitivity and insight. It identifies aspects of the music, or draws out connections, that even experienced performers and listeners might not have noticed. All the claims are specific and backed up by properly cited evidence.
Investigation 2: Transmitting
As with the previous part, this should be about 8001200 words.
Migration: Where are the musical ancestors of the thing youre talking about, and how did it arrive at its present setting(s)? Or how has it spread beyond its original setting into new territories? If there are mass migrations involved, what caused them? For the purposes of this project, please consider things like colonial occupation and conquest here as well.
This would be a great opportunity to cite a few reliable sources, so you dont have to argue for a particular set of causes or write out the whole story yourself. And as much as Ive grumbled about the books category of forced migration, I do think its important to differentiate the historical causes.
How might the historical circumstances of these migrations remain audible/visible in the musical traditions youre talking about? (E.g., expressions of sorrow or longing, old languages preserved through song, instruments rebuilt with new materials, the demise or resurgence of suppressed repertoires, musical representations of travel.)
Its possible that migration just isnt relevant to your project, so if thats the case, theres no need to force it. But do give it some serious thought before giving up! Its relevant more often that not, and it tends to show up in unexpected ways.
Memory: The questions here are continuous with those in the previous section, but theyre a little broader. What is this musics attitude toward the past? Does it commemorate important individuals or events? Does it offer a way to keep the past alive in the present, or make the present feel more continuous with the past?
Some music might seem to reject the past and turn toward the future. But thats also a type of engagement with the past, and its so also worth considering here. To what sounds/values/aesthetics does this music seem to be most directly opposed? And why?
Marketplaces: The big question is How is this music commodified? More specifically, who makes money from it, who pays, how is it marketed and distributed, what products (musical and nonmusical) does it compete with? Does it engender any form of tourism (broadly construed)?
You might be thinking this sounds cynical, like Im asking you to deny its artistic sincerity and treat it just as a money-making scheme! But under capitalist systems its unbelievably rare and difficult to sustain any cultural practice for long, if it doesnt ultimately make money for someone. And thats not a criticism! Just how it is. If youve found the rare exception, that is definitely worth noting. But I think the more typical case is that cultural forms end up being shaped deeply by systems of labor and finance. Whether that diminishes their artistic/expressive value is kind of a different question.
Investigation 3: Understanding
This one corresponds to our textbooks final unit, Understanding Music, chapters 710, covering Dance, Ritual, Politics, and Identity. It should be about the same length as the last two sections; 8001200 words or thereabouts.
As I mentioned in class last week, I dont think this is meant to be a systematic treatment of all the ways we might understand music, in quite the same way as the previous two parts. Those lay out all the parts of a soundscape (sound, setting, significance), and all the ways music is transmitted (more or less). In contrast, I think this section on understanding is just pointing out a few important aspects, not trying to give the full inventory. Ive tried to signal other areas where theyre especially relevant (for example, going from dance to a broader discussion of gender, bodies, and disability), but there are infinitely more directions to explore:
music and media
music and fashion
music and humor
music and education
music and climate change
and so on. In fact, in the last couple decades there have been so many books called Music and X that its become sort of a joke among musicologists.
For this final part, as with the last ones, you should use the books concepts and terminology where possible/appropriate. If your project involves politics, consider the role of public and hidden transcripts; if youre talking about dance, consider how it expresses attitudes about gender roles and sexual relations. But you dont need to restrict yourself to the topics of these chapters! If one of the ones I mentioned above seems relevant to your topic, give it a try! After reading nine chapters of this textbook, you know how this works: as ethnomusicologists we seek to understand how music connects with other disciplines, other topics, other areas of life. Everything is fair game.
The criteria for grading are basically the same as the last two parts. But I probably should have explained earlier on that it is VERY HARD to earn a 10 on this! I havent given any yet. In short:
10 points = this is excellent. Careful, critical thought that draws unexpected connections and changes the way we think about the music. It could be edited into shape for publication. For examples of the kinds of insight that might merit a 10, look at some of the ideas that our textbook attributes to other sources. In chapter 9 that could be Eric Hobsbawms idea of invented traditions, or Mike Alleynes observations about the complicated role of white reggae musicians in popularizing reggae. Obviously most ethnomusicological work is deeply grounded in fieldwork, which were not doing for this class. But we can find new ways to understand things.


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