MAW folk music assignments 2010

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This week everyone will present material often filed under the "folk" or "folkloric" labels. These are admittedly vague, somewhat value-laden, labels, and in addition to thinking about how the music you're considering has been (or could be) considered "folk" or "folkloric", you should also feel free to problematize or critique such a categorization, thinking about how the categorization itself is often an expression of power.

Each presenter should (a) provide an overview of her or his reading/topic, (b) supply AV examples (some are listed on this page; you can bring your laptop, or use mine, in order to share these with the class), then (c) critique and raise a few questions for discussion. In other words, treat these presentations as oral versions of what you'd do in an SC paper centered on your topic. Plan for around 10-15 minutes of presentation max, to allow time for discussion.

All readings are on except as linked below.

Feel free to edit your entry, adding links to AV material, optional readings, and thought/discussion questions, as you wish.

Important: Everyone should read everything to be presented, in addition to whatever was required reading. That way we can have a meaningful discussion.

For Tuesday

Adrienne: Bar-Yosef, Amatzia (1998). Traditional Rural Style under a Process of Change: The Singing Style of the "Hadday", Palestinian Folk Poet-Singers. Asian Music, 29(2), 57-82


Patrick: Racy, A. J. (1996). Heroes, Lovers, and Poet-Singers: The Bedouin Ethos in the Music of the Arab Near-East. Journal of American Folklore, 109(434), 404-424. [On the influence of Bedouin music]

[4] This is an example of the mihbaj (coffee grinder) and its musical qualities that are associated with hospitality, honor etc.


Justina: Hoffman, Katherine E. (2002). Generational Change in Berber Women's Song of the Anti-Atlas Mountains, Morocco. Ethnomusicology 46(3), pp. 510-540

For Thursday

Mahsa: Touma, The Music of the Arabs, pp. 88-95 (Fjiri songs of the Arabian Gulf).


Amanda: Sultans of Spin: Syrian Sacred Music on the World Stage, AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST 105(2):266-277.

[7] [8] [9]

Syrian restaurant performance

Mevlevi performance as "folk" music? (Think about politics of this claim - in Turkey, or in Syria, or on the "world stage"...)

Manya: Israeli Mediterranean Music: Straddling Disputed Territories. Amy Horowitz. The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 112, No. 445, Theorizing the Hybrid (Summer,1999), pp. 450-463

Emil Zrihan with the Israeli Andalusian orchestra