Sept 7 2017
Music & Cultures Journal ~ Kira Braun ~ September 2017
Our first class was brought to us by the Teaching Assistants, an enthusiastic group of Doctorate Students who are gaining their own experience by helping us to learn.
We reviewed what the requirements would be for the Course, in terms of Exams and Assignments. The Journal Assignment speaks to me as I enjoy writing and blogging about my experiences in life.
I am not strong in Music Theory so I knew right away that I should not even bother with trying for the Exemption. I'm prepared to start from scratch and learn as much as I can.
We will be taught to identify Modes / Scales, Meters and Rhythms, and Styles, and will be discussing World Music as it relates to various different cultures. I am hoping that my Sight Reading skills and Counting will improve dramatically after this first Semester and I pledge that I will not allow my fear and loathing of Mathematics to get in my way. It's a lucky thing I have good Ear skills and I think this will help me immensely in this class!
Today we heard a few quick examples to give us an idea of how quickly we will have to be able to look for clues and identify certain things within the music. Most students, including me, were feeling a little overwhelmed with having to figure out a complicated 13/8 Time Signature just by hearing the music ~ I have a hard enough time figuring out the rhythm of something when I am looking right at the Time Signature and notes themselves, never mind pulling it out of thin air simply by listening. However, I found it a very fun exercise and a challenging one, so that will keep my interest keenly!
I look forward to clapping out rhythms, learning how to identify Phrygian and Lydian and Harmonic Minors and Melodic Majors, Musical Textures, Intervals and Chords, and also the various styles and beats of Indian, African, Asian, and Middle Eastern/Mediterranean music. These are all outside of my current abilities, which is mostly European Classical Music. I'm most familiar with Greek music and love to try Greek Dancing! There are many similarities across Middle Eastern Music and Styles that have become part of the Greek sounds and rhythms and this plays into the history between Greece and the various countries adjacent to it, and the Spice Route interactions, not to mention a 400 year occupation of Greece by the Ottoman Empire.
Our next class (for those that will not be writing the Exemption Exam) will be a lecture instead of a Teaching Assistant led Tutorial session. When Tutorials start, we will be broken up into groups according to our interests and focus, chosen by our Professor.