Music History Material Culture
Music History 334
On a table sits a telephone and a violin: which is the musical instrument? Most would immediately choose the violin, but at John Cage’s house, for example, the choice would be a more difficult one. This course is about making those kinds of choices. Students will examine late eighteenth - and early nineteenth century musical instruments, books, art, and other ephemera from the Frederick R. Selch Collection of American Music History to learn how the archaeological objects we encounter can affect our understanding of the way people have interacted with music from aesthetic, political, and economic standpoints. As music historians our goal will be to explore a series of historical objects to ascertain the various ways musical behavior both influenced and responded to many aspects of social life; as performers and composers our goal will be to contemplate how our daily interactions with our own musical objects imply, not only a familiar artistic praxis, but a way of seeing the assignments, each student will be responsible for creating a portion of public exhibition that will go on display at the end of the semester.