Writing About Music

Selected topics in writing about music, to include a range of musical genres and styles engaged through listening, analytical study, and concert attendance. Topics may vary each semester and include studies of critical prose, reviews, various kinds of analysis, program notes, abstracts, music itself as criticism, use of musical examples, bibliography. Prerequisite: MUSIC 161 or basic knowledge of music vocabulary or consent of the instructor. One course.

Western Musical Instruments

Survey of the history, technology, and classification of Western musical instruments. Comparative study of examples from Europe and America, concentrating on the period 1700-1945, but examining earlier, sometimes non-Western origins, as well as present-day usage. Hands-on, primary research on instruments in Duke's musical collections. One course.

History of Rock

The history of rock music from the 1950s to the present. Beginning with its roots in rhythm and blues, country and western, and commercial pop, examination of diverse musical styles, artists and bands, and the many historical, technological, and cultural factors that have contributed to the rise and popularity of rock music. One course.

Hip-Hop/Rap Music Appreciation

This course explores the development of Hip-Hop and Rap music from an inner-city expression of music into a worldwide social and cultural movement. Rap, considered popular music at the beginning of the 21st century, has a huge influence on mainstream culture. Students will have a unique opportunity to develop and/or enhance their knowledge and comprehension of this popular and influential genre. One course.

African Mbira Music: An Experiential Learning Class

Building and performing one of Africa's most popular musical instruments, the mbira (a kalimba or "finger piano"). Ethnomusicological readings on the instrument's history, role in society, and meaning for musicians. Analysis of musical examples; learning the mbira's repertory and mastering skills common to many forms of African music, including performance of polyrhythms, responsive integration of instrumental and vocal patters, and formulation of unique renditions of pieces through improvisation. Weekly class labs. Course requires no prior experience with music or woodworking.

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