MUSI 1114 Introduction to World Music
Listening Response 1 Assignment Outline
Dr. Daniel Tones
This assignment encourages you develop critical listening skills, reflect on and respond
to some of the musical examples associated with the Bakan text, and consider
perspectives and concepts from chapters 1-3.
After completing the course’s initial assignments that focussed on your own
understanding of music and experience listening to it, this assignment develops skills in
objective analysis, critical thinking, and expression through written presentation.
Choose one musical example from each group and respond to the questions or
characteristics assigned to it. In total, you will select and respond to three examples.
Your responses must be original and stated in your own words, but you are welcome to
refer the Bakan text when preparing them.
For each of the examples you select, clearly state the group number, playlist number,
track number, and track title (e.g., Group 1, PL 1-9, Blackbird: Song) before providing
your response to the questions or characteristics.
PL 1-1: Surat Al-Mulk (verses 1-12)
PL 1-8: Calluna Vulgaris
PL 1-9: Blackbird: Song
Question for Group 1: In 2-3 paragraphs containing no more than four sentences each,
use Bakan’s Five Propositions to state whether or not the example you selected is
PL 2-1: Bomba Plak
PL 2-9: Dance
PL 2-35: Kargyraa Moan
Question for Group 2: In 2-3 paragraphs containing no more than four sentences each,
explain how the musical elements in the example you selected reveal the meaning of
the music and the identity of its creators or performers. You may wish to consider
elements such as the sounds, instruments, and voices featured in the example; the
language in which lyrics are spoken or sung; the genres or combination of genres
featured in the music; and the culture, society, nation, or nation-state from which the
PL 1-5: In a Landscape
PL 2-1: Uptight (Everything’s Alright)
PL 3-13: African Jembe Drums of Sierra Leone
Questions for Group 3: For the examples in this group, please respond to the questions
associated with the following two characteristics. Your response to each characteristic
may be no longer than one paragraph / four sentences.
Characteristic 1: Meter
• Is this music metered (i.e., measured), or non-metric (i.e., in free rhythm)?
Provide an explanation to support your response.
• If you have determined that the music is metered, state the type of meter you
hear (e.g., duple, triple, quadruple)
• What sounds (i.e., instruments or voices) specifically support the establishment
of meter in this music?
Characteristic 2: Rhythm (i.e., durations and/or subdivisions)
• Describe the durations in this example and state why they are might be chosen,
structured in the way they are, or appropriate for this music.
• State the most common type of subdivisions that you hear (e.g., duple, triple,
Your assignment must be typed in a 12-point font, double-spaced, single-sided, and
uploaded to our Moodle site as a pdf.
Include your last and first names, student number, course name, and instructor at the
top right-hand corner of the assignment’s first page. This is the only information that
may be presented single-spaced. For example:
Dr. Daniel Tones
Title the assignment with the appropriate amount of detail, and centre the information
immediately below your name. For example:
Listening Response 1 Assignment
Correct spelling, grammar, syntax, and sentence structure are expected. To assist you
with the best possible presentation of this assignment, please ensure that you proofread
your work before submitting it.
This assignment is worth 70 marks.
Reponses to Questions and Characteristics
(3 responses x 20 marks each)
Spelling and Grammar
To earn the highest possible mark, students must demonstrate excellence and
meaningful engagement in the ways they:
identify musical characteristics
apply concepts and perspectives discussed in class and in the course’s assigned
communicate information, ideas, perspectives, about the music they listen to
impart original insight and analysis
adhere to the content and formatting parameters outlined above
What, in the World,
Is John Cage’s 4’33” Music?
• Cage’s 4’33” performed by pianist David Tudor
• How could anyone think that this is music?
• Can you come up with some justification for it being classified as such?
Is Qur’anic Recitation Music?
• Recitation from the Holy Qur’an [PL 1-1]
• Sounds like music to Western ears, but is it?
• Who decides what is and is not music?
Is Overkill’s “I Hate” Music?
• Overkill, “I Hate” [PL 1-2]
• Music or not?
• Again, who gets to decide?
• What factors might enter into an individual’s decision about this?
• What are the implications of whether something is or is not classified as
• Caetano Veloso (with Os Mutantes), “É Proibido Proibir” (It’s
Forbidden to Forbid)
• “Panis et Circenses” (Bread and Circus) [PL 1-3]
• “A Minha Menina” (My Girl) [PL 1-4]
• Live performance at Amoeba (Hollywood), 2019
• How do these works and performances represent and/or subvert
the idea of what “music” is and how it takes on meaning (social,
political, artistic, etc.)?
Exploring World Music
Basic underlying questions re: what music is/is not:
• 1. What factors account for people’s many and vastly different
views of what music is, and what it is not?
• 2. Given that there is not even general agreement about what
music is in the first place, how might we establish a reasonable,
common point of departure from which to begin our exploration of
music—world music—as the global and extraordinarily diverse
phenomenon of humankind that it is?
Five Propositions (for Exploring World Music)
Proposition 1: The basic property of all music is sound
• Tone: A sound whose principal identity is a musical identity
• What of 4’33”
• Compare to Cage’s “In a Landscape” [PL 1-5]
Five Propositions (#2)
Proposition 2: The sounds (and silences) that comprise a musical
work are organized in some way
• Beethoven Symphony No. 9, “Ode to Joy” [PL 1-6]
• Performed by Berlin Philharmonic (Karajan) -- cue to 1:23
• Japanese gagaku music, “Manzairaku” [PL 1-7]
• Pauline Oliveros, “Calluna Vulgaris” [PL 1-8]
Five Propositions (#3)
Proposition 3: Sounds are organized into music by people; thus,
music is a form of humanly organized sound
John Blacking: music is humanly organized sound
Not the only kind of humanly organized sound, however
Do birds sing? [PL 1-9]
How about whales? [PL 1-10]
Dogs and pigs?
Five Propositions (#4)
Proposition 4: Music is a product of human intention and perception
• HIP Approach = Human Intention and Perception Approach
• When any sound, series of sounds, or combination of sounds is organized by a
person or a group of people and presented as “music”—that is, with the
intention that it be heard as music—our point of departure will be to treat it as
music. Similarly, when any person or group of persons perceives a sound, series
of sounds, or combination of sounds as “music,” our point of departure will be
to treat that as music too. (p. 5)
• How does it apply to 4’33”, “I Hate” [PL 1-2], Qur’anic recitation [PL 1-11]?
Five Propositions (#5)
Proposition 5: The term music is inescapably tied to Western culture and its
• Languages without word(s) for music
• Languages that do have words for music, but applied differently (e.g., Qur’anic
1. Avoid dealing with these problematic phenomena of sound in musical terms altogether.
2. Impose Western musical concepts on them, in essence “converting” them into music on our
terms (for example, treating Qur’anic recitation as music regardless of the Muslim claim that it is
3. Try to find some way to integrate and balance our own perceptions of what we hear as “music”
with the indigenous terms and concepts used by other people when describing the same
How Music Lives: A
Music as a phenomenon of culture
• Understanding music as a musicultural phenomenon
• Culture: “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law,
morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man
[humankind] as a member of society” (Tylor, 1871)
• What does all of that include? Examples?
• But where do we draw the line of what a culture is, who it includes, who it
• Ceza and Killa Hakan, “Bomba Plak” (Turkish/German hip hop) [PL 2-1]
• “Music is a mode of cultural production and representation that reveals much
about the workings of culture, from the resilience of traditional ways to our
remarkable human capacities for adaptation, innovation, and transformation.”
Meaning in Music
• “Music comes into existence at the intersection of sound and
culture.” (p. 11)
• Tones in music have at least two levels of meaning:
• Relative to one another (“Mary Had a Little Lamb”)
• In relation to things beyond themselves (culture, memory, emotion, etc.)
• How does the textbook distinguish these two different types of meaning through
the example of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”?
• Musical meaning as a phenomenon of culture, not of sound alone
• Warao shaman songs – some believed to heal, others to cause illness
• Chinese opera [also PL 2-2]: beautiful or otherwise to you? Why?
Identity in Music
• Identity: “people’s ideas about who they are and what unites them with
or distinguishes them from other people and entities: individuals,
families, communities, institutions, cultures, societies, nations,
supernatural powers.” (pp. 11-12)
• Who am I? Who are we? Who is s/he? Who are they?
• What do Mongolian khoomii [PL 2-3] and Javanese gamelan [PL 2-4]
suggest about the identities of Mongolian and Javanese people? How
much should we trust our impressions? How might we dig deeper to
• What about “Rabbit Dance” [PL 2-5]? Do our impressions of “Native
American identity” change as we listen?
• How about if we see this “Rabbit Dance” video?
• “Rabbit Dance” featured vocables (nonlinguistic syllables used in
• Vocables common throughout the world and in many traditions,
• Jazz scat singing, Ella Fitzgerald, “Flying Home” [PL 2-6]
• Beatboxing in classic hip hop, Run-DMC, “Son of Byford” [PL 2-7] Kecak from
the island of Bali, Indonesia [PL 2-8]
• Contemporary Native American styles, like Eagle & Hawk’s “Dance” [PL 29], which is described in your text as “a powwow song recontextualized in a
rock music setting” (p. 13). What elements of the recording account for this
characterization? (For a live concert version, watch this video.)
Levels of Identity
“Identity is located in music at many different levels. Societies,
cultures, nations, transnational communities, and other large-scale
social units fundamentally define people’s conceptions of who they
themselves are and who other people are, at home and throughout
the world.” (p. 15)
• A society is “a group of persons regarded as forming a single
community of related, interdependent individuals.”
• Organized around social institutions
• What are some examples of different types of social institutions?
• “The study of music and society focuses on how musicians and musical
organizations act and function relative to their societies. It explores how
they enter into, are affected by, and contribute to the interplay of the
social institutions that keep the engine of a society running, or that may in
some instances cause it to stall.” (p. 16)
• Societies are typically imagined communities
Music and Society Case Study
Balinese sekehe gong
• A “gamelan club,” dedicated to the performance of certain types
of Balinese gamelan music [also PL 2-10]
• Based in banjar
• Important functions in Hindu-Balinese ritual and ceremonial life
• Also perform in competitions
• Traditionally all male, but now there are women’s clubs as well.
(This is due to what types of influence?)
• A culture is “a particular type of social formation that is at once
complementary to, overlapping with, and distinct from society.”
• A culture is defined “mainly by a collective worldview shared by
its members.” (p. 17)
• How does this differ fundamentally from what defines a society?
• “Put another way, societies are rooted in social organization,
whereas cultures are rooted in ideas, beliefs, and practices that
underscore social organization.” (p. 17)
• What types and categories of ideas, beliefs, and practices are these?
Music and Culture Case Study
• Here again, we focus on the Balinese sekehe gong, specifically on
sekehes that play gamelan beleganjur music
• Gamelan beleganjur
• Processional ensemble traditionally associated with cremation processions
• Today showcased in music competitions as well
• Beleganjur music quintessentially male, but due to political pressures
women’s groups emerged in 1990s
• How does the discussion in the text shed light on the cultural values and
challenges related to those values resulting from the “women’s beleganjur”
Nations and Nation-States
• Nation-state vs. nation
• The members of a nation-state share a national society, a national culture, and
a national homeland (e.g., Canada).
• The members of a nation also share a national society and culture, but in some
cases they do not have political autonomy over the geographical area they
claim as their homeland (e.g., Palestinians).
• Nationalist musics
• Nation-building or nation-consolidating agenda
• Typically emerge and develop through some form of collaboration between
musicians and political authorities
• Postcolonialism a key feature of the relationship between music,
nations, nation-states, and nationalism in the modern world
Music of Protest, Resistance, and Subversion
• According to the text, the “flipside of nationalist musics”
• Such music has been important in many social and political
• U.S. Civil Rights movement
• James Brown, “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” [PL 2-12]
• South African anti-Apartheid struggle
• Miriam Makeba, “Ndodemnyama” [PL 2-13]
Diasporas and Other Transnational
• Diaspora: “an international network of communities linked together by
identification with a common ancestral homeland and culture” (to which
they often have no guarantee, or even likelihood of return).
• Term originated with the Jewish Diaspora
• Klezmer music [PL 2-14] a genre that reflects older and contemporary layers of
Jewish diasporic experience
• Today, many diasporas recognized
• African and Irish diasporas especially important for this course [examples: PL 215, 2-16, 2-17, 2-18]
• Virtual communities (Internet-based) also relevant in consideration of
diasporas and other transnational communities
The Individual in Music
• Individuals as “communities unto themselves,” comprised of multiple,
• ‘…we bring the full range of these varied identities to all that we
experience in music and all that we express through it.” (p. 21)
• Tito Puente as case study: Nuyorican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, master of
musical syncretism -- “Oye Como Va” [PL 2-19]
• Ethnomusicologists increasingly interested in studies that focus on
individuals (rather than cultures, nations, etc. per se)
• Timothy Rice, May It Fill Your Soul: Experiencing Bulgarian Music
• Kostadin Varimezov (gaida) [PL 2-20]
• Gaida played by Kostadin’s son, Ivan Varimezov
• Fieldwork as basis of ethnomusicological research
Spirituality and Transcendence in Music
• Music almost always associated with worship, religious ritual,
expressions of faith
• Beleganjur “musical ladder” to Upper World
• Baal Shem Tov “became music” after his death
• In Santería, specific drum rhythms summon orishas [PL 2-21]
• Musical design often symbolizes religious cosmology, cosmic order
• Cyclicity of Indian talas and Indonesian gamelan gong cycles
• Music often used to show communal solidarity to supernatural
beings and forces (e.g., Fijian church hymn of PL 2-22)
Music and Dance
• On the one hand, dance and its music “may serve as a lens
through which to view social celebration, community solidarity,
the physical expression of culture, and the performance of
• On the other hand, it “may provide revealing and sometimes
troubling insights into how people treat and classify each other in
terms of constructs like gender, race, and ethnicity.”
• Marginalization of female dancers in the Middle East
• Racist stereotyping of “natural rhythm” among African peoples and people
of African descent.
Music in Ritual
• “Rituals are special events during which individuals or
communities enact, through performance, their core beliefs,
values, and ideals. They often take the form of communal
performances of myths, legends, epics, or sacred texts or stories
that are foundational to a culture’s identity.” (p. 24)
• Rituals “tend to have a transcendent quality to them, since they
are, by definition, events that are set off from the regular course
of everyday life.” (p. 24)
• Music is often a key element that marks this “setting off” from the
Egyptian Zar Ritual
Healing and exorcistic ritual
Egypt and Sudan
Technically not “legal” in Egypt, but practiced widely nonetheless
Specific rhythms used to accompany the dance of the afflicted woman,
who is believed to have been entered (possessed) by an asyad.
• Her dancing “is driven by the powerful percussive rhythms of the music,
[which] is performed with the intention of convincing the intruding
asyad to depart.” (p. 25)
• Rhythms such as that heard in PL 2-23 are featured in zar rituals. This
zar video provides excellent examples.
Music as Commodity and the Patronage of
• Many different models of music “ownership” in different world cultures
• Western copyright
• Bequeathing of songs to individuals by supernatural beings (e.g., Alan Maralung,
Aboriginal Australian wangga song “Ibis” [PL 2-24]
• Didgeridoo featured
• Communal vs. individual notions of who the “composer” is
• When different concepts of music ownership collide and converge, complex (as
in case of “Ibis” discussed in text)
• Music patronage a related matter – Who pays for music, to support
musicians? In what contexts? With what goals and objectives?
• Sting and Cheb Mami, “Desert Rose” [PL 2-25]
The Transmission of Music and Musical
• Production and reception of music
• Roles of music maker and receiver may be very distinct, somewhat
overlapping, or entirely fluid
• Western classical music: clear roles of composer, performers audience
• In many African musicultural traditions, no such distinction at all
• Music teaching and learning
• Again, tremendous diversity of approaches and models worldwide
• Formal vs. informal
• Individual instruction vs. group-based learning
• Notation-based vs. oral/aural tradition
Music Creation Processes
• Balinese gamelan [PL 2-26]
• Japanese shakuhachi [PL 2-27]
• Western symphonic (Mozart) [PL 2-28]
• Mozart “Jupiter” Symphon...
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