This course explores the parameters of racial and ethnic identities in music. From the discourse surrounding exoticism and Orientalism, to the effects of evocative instrumentation, the use of dialect, and foreign subjects, the focus of this class is to understand how racial and ethnic difference can be portrayed musically. Musical case studies will be drawn from the nineteenth century through the present with a strong emphasis on the genre of opera. Central questions to be raised are: how is racial/ethnic difference expressed musically? Who is representing whom? What is the intersection between the original performing context and our understanding of these works today? This course encourages interdisciplinary dialogue. Readings will be drawn from post-colonial and cultural studies as well as musicology.
Grades will be based on written assignments, a take home final, and class participation.
No previous music classes are prerequisite and harmonic analysis will be presented in a form accessible to students without a specialized musical background.
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