Welcome to World Music Literature. This is a course about listening to music with understanding. You're already good at listening to music? Indeed, humans come fully equipped for this task but there are a few things you can do to improve your skills. And it's all about the understanding part. Don't worry, we'll work on the understanding part one step at a time throughout the semester.
After the Concert | Peter Kun Frary
What's This Course About?
World Music Literature focuses on artistically significant music from major regions of the world, including Europe, Asia the Americas and beyond. Although music existed during prehistory, little is known about it apart from scattered artifacts. So it isn't possible to recreate the music our prehistoric ancestors. However, music of the last millennium is illuminated with numerous historical accounts, musical treatises, scores and instruments. Thus, 1000 AD is a logical place to begin our studies.
One thousand years encompasses a lot of music for one semester so the materials of this course are distilled down to the most representative pieces. Selected music will be examined from a stylistic, historical, social and cultural perspective. First, we'll investigate characteristics that define style, e.g., melody, harmony, texture, form, etc. Next, we'll delve into the function and purpose of the music. Was it created for ceremonies, worship or entertainment? Who were the people listening to this music? Finally, the times and lives of the musicians will be examined and linked to their creations. In short, we won't merely listen to pretty pieces but will also learn the how, why and where of what we listen to.
Pizzicato 'n Arco | Peter Kun Frary
Before embarking on our one thousand year journey around the world, we'll build a foundation of musical concepts and terms as a basis for listening and discussion. For example, we'll examine the instrument families and learn terms for describing musical technique and sounds. These concepts and vocabulary are known as musical elements and the first month of the semester will be spent studying them. An understanding of the elements of music will increase both your involvement in listening and enjoyment.
On the next page, I'll explain how to get the most from your listening sessions.
Undercover Guitar | Peter Kun Frary