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seminars > fall 2014 schedule > seminar: Music and Social Life


Honors Seminars Fall 2014

Music and Social Life

HON 391 Sec:001  
3 hours  
GEP Category:
Visual & Performing Arts (Additional Breadth)  
Price Music Center 120  
Dr. Jonathan C. Kramer

At NCSU and in the Triangle people are actively engaged in music making, dancing, devotional practices, and a multitude of other kinds of artful performance. In this class you will think about the relationship between music and other aspects of social life by doing your own field research bearing questions such as these in mind: How do we make sense of our lives in playing and consuming music? Where do we draw our creativity from? How do we listen? Why do we perform? What is virtuosity? What makes up a scene? What does it mean to be a fan, a regular, a dancer, a CD collector? Why is music a component of worship and what does it do for/to the believer? Why might we celebrate live music and devalue mediation -- or do we? Who is the 'we' of a music tradition? How do music and dance shape social life, values, and ideas about difference?

A second component to the class considers modes of research about music. You will learn techniques for doing ethnographic research, bearing questions such as these in mind: What can you learn about music making (and other forms of aesthetic practice) by means of a particular research method? What assumptions do different methods or analytic approaches make about their subject? What do they privilege about their subject? How do they represent sounds, aesthetic values, and knowledge? How do the researcher's point of departure and relationships with those he or she is learning about shape data, knowledge and presentation? What are the ethics of field research? And, how do you do it?