2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Music Intensive


Fall 2012, Winter 2013 and Spring 2013 quarters

Sean Williams ethnomusicology , Andrea Gullickson music
Fields of Study
cultural studies, history and music
Preparatory for studies or careers in
performing arts and cultural studies.

This program is designed to give students a set of perspectives and musical practices that reflect and express the concerns and values of people in particular times and places. We will examine social changes that gave rise to shifts in the arts, focusing in particular on eras, places or phenomena of specific artistic interest. In addition to examining Western music forms, we will explore music in the context of multiple world traditions (classical, popular and vernacular) and the contexts that gave rise to them in Asia, South America, and Africa. We expect to ask provocative questions, including: What is the relationship between power, patronage and the performing arts? Does the artist change the culture, or does the culture call forth the artist? Is there a connection between ritual origins of the performing arts and their spiritual effects? How can we use written language to help us understand more about music?

Fall and Winter quarters include skill development in understanding the fundamentals of music worldwide: we will play and sing music, read music using multiple forms of notation, discuss what we are listening to, observe musicians engaged in practice and performance, and collectively develop our work in rhythm, timbre, melody, harmony and other realms by drawing from traditions in Europe, America, Brazil, Indonesia and West Africa. Three essays--covering different ways of writing about music--will be required during fall and winter. Our work throughout Fall, Winter and well into the Spring quarter will focus on issues common to musics and musicians everywhere, including race, class, gender, colonialism, liminality, physics, politics, religion, education and social structures. The genres we study might shift from chamber music to rock to jazz to opera; but also from samba to kabuki, gamelan or bluegrass. In each case we treat the entire genre of music as a whole: the instruments, voices, people and context all serve to inform your learning.

Spring quarter we will branch out into more specific areas of study; with faculty guidance, students will choose an issue, a place and a genre to study and write about in a single short essay early in the quarter. In addition, students will be expected to do independent study as part of a fieldwork project that will take them off campus for several weeks. During those three weeks, students will explore an individual musician, group, company or genre on their own, producing a significant essay (approximately 20 pages) and oral presentation at the end of the quarter. This individual research project can take place in Olympia or anywhere in the United States, and faculty will work with students on aspects of writing up research, revision and oral presentation in the last few weeks of the program.

Weekly program activities will include reading, focused listening, workshops, guest lectures, ear training, films, lectures and seminars. Skill development in musical performance (and occasionally movement) is expected; students will study a musical instrument or vocal tradition outside of class and demonstrate improvement over the course of the two quarters. At the end of each quarter, students will be asked to offer the results of their individual research and collaborative project work in both performances and presentations.

Online Learning
No Required Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$200 per quarter for concert tickets and program book costs.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
January 9th, 2012 This program will be offered to Sophomores through Seniors, and has been extended through spring.