Spring 2025 | Asia, Africa, and Europe Exploration

MU 232 Soundscapes – Music as Human Practice

Overview of Course

This course explores Music as a Soundscape; appreciating how the creation and reception of music enriches the lives of every person in every culture across both space and time. We initially examine the semantics of music, and how the ‘parts of speech’ of its language (through melodies, harmonies and rhythms) allow musicians in different places to shape and express their unique sonic world. We further explore how different genres, ranging from traditional styles and European (‘classical’) art music to collaborative forms of global music, inform the complex stylistic features we encounter across the world. We explore how musicians receive inspiration from the natural world, as well as how musical styles reflect historical events and intercultural influences. We analyze cultural traditions, social contexts, and individual ideologies as they inform musical creativity, and we investigate how both the practice and response to music manages to ‘sound and echo’ who we are. In ports we will experience how these observations come to life in everyday performance. No previous knowledge of music is required: our purpose is to learn to appreciate the wealth of varied soundscapes around us, and to discover that each of us are musical in our own way.