Music 665 weekly schedule (2012)

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NB: This schedule will be updated periodically - check weekly.

A note on assignments, from the course outline:

Except as noted (e.g. if you're to edit the wiki), all assignments are to be prepared in a word processor, 
then emailed to the instructor as an attachment,  with the subject line "ISEM12".  
Please ensure that each file contains one and only one assignment, 
and that your last name appears at the top of the document, 
and at the start of the filename. 
Please send all submissions attached to a single email if possible 
(this will not be possible if you're submitting something late...
but hopefully you won't!). All page counts refer to Times New Roman font, 1" margins, 
single spaced, 8.5 x 11 pages.  
Please cite references as needed, using Zotero to do so.


Week 1 : 10-Sep. Introduction.


  • Brief introductions...people and interests
  • The Big Questions (what are yours?)
  • What is EM? What's it for?
  • Abbreviations and terms to know
  • MF's EM research (a shotgun approach)
  • What defines research? Research proposals.
  • Course outline


  • Defining EM
  • Research: aims and goals > models > queries and methods > results
  • What are EM's aims and goals and how are they achieved?


Gather definitions of EM and cognative disciplines

Read current definitions of EM and its cognate disciplines

(e.g. Musicology, Comparative Musicology, Anthropology of Music, Popular Music studies, Folklore).

Examine current articles for the following terms in Oxford Music Online (available via, following as many hyperlinked cross-references as you can, in order to understand how EM is defined in relation to juxtaposed fields:

  1. Musicology (especially Adler's subdivisions; skim the rest)
  2. Comparative Musicology, Folk Music (especially Part 2: Studies, in Grove)
  3. Popular Music (mainly part 6: The study of popular music)
  4. World Music
  5. Ethnomusicology (especially Introduction, Philip Bohlman’s portion on the post-1945 period, and Martin Stokes’ theoretical summary)

Browse The Garland encyclopedia of World Music, especially Vol. 10, The World's Music: General Perspectives and Reference Tools; what definitions emerge here?

Look up "Ethnomusicology" in the Oxford English dictionary, and Encyclopedia Britannica (available via

Find definitions in Nettl's revised edition of The study of ethnomusicology, available on reserve.

Locate any other definition from anywhere you like.

Browse a few older definitions

...from the early 1990s and before, such as the following books on Music Library reserve or Reference:

Meyers, H. (Ed.) (1992) Ethnomusicology: An Introduction

Herndon, M., & McLeod, N. (Eds.). (1979). Music as culture (2nd ed)

Hood, M. (1971) The Ethnomusicologist

Merriam, A. (1964) The Anthropology of Music

Nettl, B. (1964) Theory and Method in Ethnomusicology

Kunst, J. (1950) Musicologica; a study of the nature of ethno-musicology, its problems, methods, and representative personalities

Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians (reference) published in 1904, 1918, 1936, 1954 (note that you will not find the term "ethnomusicology" per se before 1950...and when is 'musicology' first introduced?)

Prepare the following

  • Defining EM. Come to Week 2 prepared to discuss the following issues: What is EM? (consider: scope, theory, method, social network) Is EM a discipline? Why or why not? How is EM positioned with respect to other areas of music studies? with respect to other academic fields? (e.g. area studies? anthropology?) What is the logical or sociological overlap among fields? How has EM (or its cognates) changed over time? What is the historical relation among the subfields of music studies? Characterize approaches towards music scholarship of various types. When does any explicit definition of music studies start to emerge? How does EM vary across cultures? Consider definitions of EM for various regions of the world. Write 1-2 pages summarizing what you have discovered. (You don't have to answer all the above questions individually in your summary, though you should touch on them.)
  • Works and lives. Select three products classified (by publication venue, or library catalog) as EM research (e.g. CD, book, article) from three periods and by three different authors: (1) 1990 to present; (2) 1950 to 1990; (3) before 1950. You may like to compare three articles from a single journal. Take note of differences in aim, model (theory, queries, methods), issues/topics, areas. Find and scan author biographies. Write a 1-2 page critical review, comparing the three, calling attention to author biographies – where are these scholars coming from? Try to use Jstor or other online databases and submit links to online versions. Be prepared to discuss.
  • Research proposal paragraph. Prepare a one-paragraph proposal for your own ethnomusicological research, including (a) one-line title (research topic); (b) research aim, research value; (c) research area and scope, following my template for Research Proposals in Ethnomusicology. We will discuss your ideas together next week.

Week 2 : 17-Sep. Defining ethnomusicology.


Remember to submit each assignment as a separate document via email attachment, prior to class. Please use the subject line "ISEM12" so I can find them easily.

  • Defining EM
  • Works and Lives
  • Research Proposal Paragraph


  • Definitions of EM, history of EM and EMists
  • How to be critical? EM as representation, shaped by larger forces (e.g. colonialism, imperialism, industry...driven, as usual, by searches for power and money)
  • Proposals


  • SNA: social network analysis, with applications to citation network, musician networks, fan networks, the relation of EM to CM and HM and other disciplines, the diffusion of musical (and other trends), tipping points...see my course Music culture as a social network for much more on this subject (or browse the pages of the INSNA)
  • Databases: see especially Web of Science, Proquest Dissertations database, Jstor
  • Analytical approaches to world music: revived analytical direction in ethnomusicology
  • Meta-ethnomusicology: If doing ethnomusicology constitutes a kind of musical practice (and a broad definition of 'music' suggests that it does), then its sociological or anthropological (or historical) study must constitute a kind of ethnomusicology: meta-ethnomusicology, or the ethnomusicology of EM. Who are the ethnomusicologists, and what are their resources for research and teaching? How do ethnomusicologists relate to one another socially and intellectually? What are the linkages among their scholarly products? This week, you’ll explore some of the principal sources for ethnomusicological research, the ways in which the scholarly literature develops its citation networks, and the nature of ethnomusicology as a social network.

Assignment: Meta-ethnomusicology - sources and networks for EM

Sources in EM

EM as text. Using Internet and Library search facilities (see also Reily 2003), draw up a list of key scholarly sources for ethnomusicology, under the following headings (your examples may be online, or in print):

  • journals focused on EM or related discplines
  • encyclopedias and dictionaries centered on EM
  • indices, databases, and bibliographies for EM
  • scholarly monograph series in EM
  • overviews of regional music around the world
  • world music textbooks
  • websites dedicated to archives, libraries and museums
  • other websites devoted to EM

Select three of the above categories, and review at least two examples for each (writing one paragraph reviews on each, for a total of 6). Enter your examples and reviews on the wiki: Sources for Ethnomusicology. Be sure to append your name to your review! Please don't review works that already appear on the wiki; try to find new examples. Note: if you're not sure how to edit the wiki, please refer to how to write these wiki pages

EM as multimedia. Throughout this course we’ll be reading many of EM’s textual products. This week we also focus upon EM as a producer of multimedia products. Browse our library’s collection of audio-visual resources for ethnomusicology and world music (and note that some of these are online; see main course page for a few links to audio and video databases). What sorts of representation claims are made, explicitly or implicitly, in these media objects? Reflect on the relation between these media representations and the music they claim to represent. Consider the issue of source vs. reference, particularly pronounced for multimedia, since it tends to be more commerical than text.

On Sources for Ethnomusicology add and review two entries for each of:

  • Audio for EM and WM (websites, podcasts, record labels, record series, online databases, CDs)
  • Video for EM and WM (video databases, series, VHS tapes, or DVDs...on the library shelves, or online)

Again try to find new examples, not presently on the wiki listing.

Networks of discourse and practice in EM

Draw three networks (one representing citation relations; two representing social networks) as follows:

Discourse network in EM: citations

network #1: citation network (discourse). Learn how to use a citation indices, such as Google Scholar, or Web of Science (available via the University of Alberta Library website, under Databases), a massive citation index for science, social science, and humanities. Try to locate some of the most oft-cited papers in ethnomusicological journals, or the most oft-cited books. Trace their antecedents and descendents in a “double tree” (of cited and citing sources) as explained in Week 2, and share your results in class, in the form of a network. Note that Web of Science will draw these network diagrams for you.

Social networks in EM

What are EM’s social networks of practice? What kinds of practices does EM involve, and how are they different or similar to practices of other fields? Using data available online (e.g. at, bibliographies), initiate a sociological study of the ethnomusicological community. Where are ethnomusicologists living, what are they doing? What is their distribution by gender, age, region, areas or topics of interest? What areas of interest seem to be favored, in each historical era and place? How do ethnomusicologists connect to one another via training, language-culture of discourse, geographical or stylistic areas of musical interest, or theoretical and topical perspectives?

Draw two examples of social networks in EM (on paper, or using a computer drawing tool):

network #2: collaborative relations among ethnomusicologists, including co-authorship, co-participation in books and conferences, lineages of training. You might, for instance, examine the Proquest Dissertations database to determine student-advisor relations. Or you could look for co-authorships in Web of Science. What evidence is there for collaborative ventures in research and teaching? You could also look for old conference programs to browse...

network #3: the social structure of professional EM (e.g. SEM, ICTM=International Council for Traditional Music, BFE=British Forum for Ethnomusicology) or related societies (e.g. folklore, dance). Using data available on the web (you'll have to look around), consider how one of these ethnomusicological societies is organized. Organization could be defined as: the way the society is distributed around the world; modes of communication (including meetings, but also other ways); special interest subgroups; member profiles and interests- where are members located, what they do in life (professor, student, advocate...); are they organized into local groups - if so, how? It may be particularly useful (and enjoyable) to learn about the ethnomusicological community centered upon your own intended research subject. Considerable information is available at regarding the Society for Ethnomusicology (which is primarily North American). Note: you must be a member of SEM in order to browse the member database. Joining is highly encouraged!

Week 3 : 24-Sep. Meta-ethnomusicology.


Three networks (#1, #2, #3) as defined above. Please scan and email, but also bring a copy to class, so we can share and discuss... Your reviews of EM sources should be completed on the wiki, as per instructions above.


Sources and networks in EM and WM.


The history of EM - another branch of meta-ethnomusicology?

See Sources for the history of ethnomusicology.


In two parts:

  1. Everyone must review 3 sources (critique!) for October 1. Please sign up using this wiki page and don't review a work that someone else is reviewing, or that you reviewed earlier, e.g. for week 2 ("works and lives"). Note that the older sources require a more critical treatment (source!) than the newer ones, but be critical in any case. Here's a listing of some sources from which to select, but if you’d like to add a source not on this list, that’s fine too – you may take cues from Shelemay’s historical collections, or from the bibliography of one of the reference works we've read, or by tracing the literature using Web of Scienceor other tools. Everyone must review at least one book. When you review this book, look up its book reviews (on Jstor) and include at least one of them in your review. Do you agree with the review? Why or why not? Each of your reviews should be one page or less. For class next week, be prepared to talk about each of the sources you reviewed. (Total writing assignment for part 1: 3 pages or less.) Make sure your 3 sources represent each of three periods:
    1. one from the period before 1950 (pre-EM)
    2. a second from the period 1950-1970 (formative EM)
    3. a third from 1970-1995. (development of current EM)
  2. Write a short historical synopsis (3 pages maximum, not including bibliography) tracing the broad lines of a social history of comparative musicology and ethnomusicology, starting from the late 19th century, up to 1990, citing as many sources as you can, but focusing especially on what we've read together so far (definitions, "works and lives", part one of this week's assignment. Consider research, education (how are WM and EM taught?), and applied work (e.g. composing, publishing recordings, archiving and preserving...), as connected to other disciplines (e.g. musicology, psychology, physics, linguistics, folklore, anthropology, history, etc.…) in science, social science, and humanities. Consider the changing nature of the object of study (primitive, exotic, Eastern, folk, traditional, tribal musics -- all in quote marks!) and methods of study ('armchair' comparison, transcription, scientific measurement, ethnographic fieldwork…). Highlight aims/goals, major events, achievements, activating technologies, intellectual influences, breakthroughs, setbacks, concepts, paradigm shifts, self-definitions, publications (e.g. archives, phonograph, cents, instrument collecting, museums, ensembles, bimusicality, anthropology, psychology, linguistics, fieldwork, video, world music classes...) NB: You don’t need to read an entire source in order to cite it; go for gist! And your essay need not be definitive or utterly complete; it’s only a first impression and it's short. The above lists are only to help you. Use definitions (from week 2) as a guide, while incorporating primary sources, trying to be as critical as you can by placing the trends you note into a broader social context. Make use of your three reviews from this week, and those from week #2. Add other sources as you like, including those not on my lists if you want to. Make sure you cite everything and that each cited source appears in the bibliography (use any standard for formatting - MLA, Harvard, Chicago - doesn't matter to me).

Week 4 : 01-Oct. Roots.


As described above:

  1. Three reviews
  2. Historical synopsis


We'll structure discussion around the three periods (pre-1950, 1950-1970, 1970-1995). Be prepared to contribute your views, with reference to the sources you've selected for review. We'll go around the room for each period, so that you can present the works you reviewed. At the end we'll sum up regarding general trends.



Next week is Thanksgiving - no class. Our next class is Oct 15. I will put together an assignment by Oct 8, due Oct 15.

For this week, please focus on three things:

(1) Continue to develop your research proposals. Please send me your results by 9:00 am Monday Oct 8, so I can have a look. They will not be graded, but I'd like to make sure you're making steady progress.

Previously, you'd prepared a one-paragraph proposal for your ethnomusicological research, including (I) one-line title (research topic); (II) research aim, research value; (III) research area and scope.

Continuing to follow my template for Research Proposals in Ethnomusicology, flesh out section (III) research area and scope, bringing its length up to approximately three pages, citing as many sources as possible. Recall that:

  • Research area = intersection of {fields}
  • Research scope = focused area

Develop your bibliography by scouring the literature for relevant books, book chapters, and articles relevant for each of the intersecting fields, especially geocultural fields. For instance, if one is researching Sufi-jazz fusions in world music festivals, one might gather together sources on Sufism (in theory and practice), relevant streams in jazz (especially jazz fusions), world music, and music festivals. If you wish you can also include literature relevant to the specific disciplinary models and and issues you hope to apply (or test) in your work.

(2) Identify two short pieces of music, relevant to your research project, which you'll transcribe, analyze, and compare for Oct 15. You don't need to send me the audio files - just tell me what they are. Having identified them you'll be able to embark quickly on next week's assignment. Again: these two pieces should be relevant to your research project.

(3) Browse key works in the history of ethnomusicology. Our rapid week-long cruise through the history of ethnomusicology provided you with plenty of choice, without steering you to examine the key works every ethnomusicologist should know about. Now I would like to ensure that you've at least browsed the works highlighted in boldface from this list. By "browse" I don't mean "read". There's no time to read except selectively. Simply take the time to examine each work, looking at the table of contents (if a book) or opening paragraphs (if article), becoming familiar with the contents, and reading at random whatever interests you. These are among the most important of the "landmark" works listed last time, and you should at least be aware of their existence. While their significance varies from source (e.g. Wallaschek) to reference (e.g. Nettl & Bohlman), they are works to return to. A number of these works are available in the bookstore, to purchase for your library. (And I found you an online copy of Wallaschek! The link is in the bibliographic listing.) NB: I strongly suggest keeping an online bibliography on Zotero (or elsewhere) where you can update notes derived from this sort of assignment.

Note: if you'd like to revise your 3 page historical synopsis of EM (the paper that was due this past Monday) in light of this "browsing", feel free to do so: insert mention of the boldfaced works and resubmit by Monday; I'll accept the new version instead of the old.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Week 5 : 08-Oct. No class (Thanksgiving)


  • Revised proposal with bibliography, as per above.
  • Two musical examples you intend to transcribe and analyze (a simple description is fine - you don't have to email me audio files). They should be relevant to your research project!


1) Visual representation, analysis, and comparison of your two musical examples. Using any techniques you wish, create a visual representation (i.e. "transcription") for each of your two musical examples (these are nominally audio only, but if you have a good video music example feel free to use that). Analyze each of these visual representations, again using techniques of your choosing. Finally compare the two representations and analyses. Here is my framework for etic analysis of music, derived by building on ethnomusicological terms in common use. (You don't have to use it.) You may also wish to investigate use of digital analysis tools such as Audacity, or deploy standard notation systems, perhaps suitably modified for the task at hand.

2) Self-critique: Critique your own work in (1). Write 1 page discussing the reasons for your chosen representations/analytical procedures/techniques for comparison. How did you make your choices? What do they show, what do they hide? How may they be, in various ways, ethnocentric, idiocentric, chronocentric.... Using these visual representations and analyses, what can we learn about the individual musicians or (sub)-culture that produced these musical examples? How useful was the comparison? How might it have been more useful with a different selection of musical examples, or transcription/analysis techniques? How would having visual information (e.g. video) have helped, or possibly guided your representation/analysis in a different direction?

3) Browsing: No need to read carefully or fully, just browse....

First, browse Lomax's Cantometrics booklet and cassette, on reserve. We'll do some collective listening in class also.

Take a look at these transcription/analysis-related articles and chapters. You don't have to read any of them (much less all of them!) entirely, or (much, much less) write anything about them. Just browse, savor, read selectively what interests you...and get a sense of the progression of ideas....

Browse the Analytical approaches to world music website.

Week 6 : 15-Oct. Music-centric approaches.


(1) and (2) in the assignment above (you don't need to submit anything for the browsing assignment, (3)).

Please email (1) and (2) but also bring your assignments and musical examples to class, so we can listen/look together. Feel free to bring a laptop. Or if you have the examples online (e.g. a Youtube video) I can access them from my computer. Or you can email me the examples and I'll play them for you.


Note that music-centric EM doesn't preclude the 'E', but only focused attention on the 'M', in several modes:

  • impact of M on E
  • E expressed in M
  • homologies between E and M
  • mutual interactions between E and M
  • correlations between a set of Es and Ms (comparative musicology a la Lomax)

It's important for you to determine, at the outset:

  • Why you're creating a visual representation (transcription/analysis) - what do you hope to accomplish? How can this representation help you achieve your broad goals? (Never transcribe reflexively, without thinking! But one goal might simply be familiarity with the music - and transcription can be very helpful there (sort of like learning to sing or play it).
  • Whether prescriptive or descriptive, high detail or low detail, conventional or alternative notations, makes sense?
  • What assumptions you're making about the ontology of this music (as an etic or emic phenomenon)...and the relation of this existence to the representation you hope to construct?
  1. Ontology of musical transcription and analysis.
    1. classification of transcription as function of sound: "one to one" (fully reversible) vs. "a few to one" (partly reversible) vs. "many to one" (irreversible)
    2. "one to many"? (non-function)
    3. Transcription as "one to one"? "
    4. Descriptive (sound first; for analysis; towards "one to one") vs. prescriptive (notation first; for performance; towards "many to one")
    5. High detail vs. low detail (Bach)
    6. Try transcribing two melodies ("Qul lil-maliha" of Sabah Fakhri; a Kinka excerpt) and compare.
  2. Psychoacoustics and auditory scene analysis
    1. Auditory streams
    2. Time-directionality for stream integration (polyphony to harmony to timbre)
  3. Acoustical analysis
    1. Melograph
    2. Audacity
    3. Praat
    4. Pitch tracking - My MA thesis (p. 85 ff)
  4. Variable analysis: coding sound
    1. Automatic analysis: the million song dataset
    2. Cantometrics: global music-centric comparative musicology (collective listening and coding)
    3. Limited music-centric comparative musicology: Sufi orders in Cairo (my dissertation)
  5. Your pieces, transcriptions, and analyses...


Models for ethnomusicology: moving from the M to the relation of E and M in EM: how do we model this relationship? Models from social and cultural theory have something to say...


I know many of you have some catching up to do, so will keep the assignment for next week relatively light. Please read and review (1 paragraph max per chapter, including brief summary and critique) the following 3 chapters (all on reserve, and two of them also in the bookstore):

1) Nettl, B. (2005). The study of ethnomusicology: Thirty-one issues and concepts. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Chapter 16 (pp. 215 - 231), "That complex whole..."

2) Nettl, B., & Bohlman, P. V. (1991). Comparative musicology and anthropology of music: Essays on the history of ethnomusicology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 113-130 (chapter by James Porter). Take note of two models ("idealism/realism", "Marxism") and how they interact.

3) Stone, R. M. (2008). Theory for ethnomusicology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Chapter 1.

Also reread Martin Stokes's portion of Oxford Music Online's article on ethnomusicology, an article we looked at early in the term: Ethnomusicology, §IV: Contemporary theoretical issues (if that link doesn't work navigate via the Library's database page). You don't have to write a review of this work. Just remind yourself of what it contains.

Week 7 : 22-Oct. No class (instructor away). Models for ethnomusicology.

No class today!


Written reviews assigned last week. Also any overdue work!



Week 8 : 29-Oct. Models


Nothing to submit.



Models, paradigms, theory...SNA


Model #1: Functionalism


  • Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1939. "The Group and the Individual in Functional Analysis". American Journal of Sociology. 44 (6): 938-964.
  • Radcliffe-Brown, A.R. 1940. "On Social Structure". The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. 70 (1): 1-12.
  • Merriam, Alan P. 1964. The anthropology of music. [Evanston, Ill.]: Northwestern University Press. Chapter XI: Uses and functions. (On Reserve and available at the bookstore.)

Note: I realize the library website is still down. I hope it returns soon! I will share one of the above with you by email.

To do:

  • Review the above works (you may read selectively) and come to class prepared to discuss and critique their ideas. (Take critical notes, but no need to submit them.)
  • Using Web of Science, Jstor and other search tools, or Stone (on reserve), locate one ethnomusicological work (article, chapter, book) that you feel makes significant use of a functionalist model (for example, you might search for ethnomusicological works citing Malinowski or Radcliffe-Brown, or you might search fulltext on jstor for the keyword "functionalism", etc.). Write 1-2 paragraphs explaining how the model (or a variant on the model) is deployed and critiquing its deployment. How well does it work in this case? How is the model modified or mixed with other ideas - what sort of "functionalism" is it? Does functionalism appear as an explicit model (recognized by the author) or an implicit model (used but not recognized), perhaps closer to Kuhn's notion of "paradigm"?
  • Apply the model to your own research project. Write (at least) three short paragraphs to insert into Section IV: Problematization. The first should present the model, and the way it is to be deployed. The second should outline resulting queries, and the third should address corresponding methods that can be used to answer them. (Always consider comparative and multisited research strategies, and address feasibility issues if necessary.) You'll insert these paragraphs into Section IV as the first of the models.

Week 9 : 05-Nov. Model 1: Functionalism


Written assignments described above, namely:

  1. An ethnomusicological work you feel deploys a functionalism model, plus 1-2 paragraphs explaining how this model is deployed, critiquing, assessing, etc.
  2. Application of functionalism to your own research proposals (3 paragraphs)


  • SEM conference
  • Songs of the New Arab Revolutions
  • Functionalism:
    • Prezi
    • Review readings. How do Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown differ? Critique. How could their work be applied to ethnomusicology? How does Merriam make use of functionalism? What is the difference between 'use' and 'function'?
    • Applications
      • articles you located: what did you find, and how does the model fit?
      • your own work: how can the model be applied, and what queries and methods does it suggest?



Week 10 : 12-Nov. No class - Remembrance Day


Music as communication: linguistic and semiotic models


  • Read the following as an orientation:
    • Cherry, C. (1966). On human communication: A review, a survey, and a criticism. Cambridge, Mass: M.I.T. Press. Table of contents and chapter 1. (to be distributed) How does semiotics fit within a broader theory of human communication? NOTE: Please read carefully the table of contents; I included it so you can observe the integration of semiotics in a broader communicative frame. The books was first published in the 1950s, following developments in the technical theory of information and communication (e.g. Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver) and broad hopes for such an integration persisted into the 1980s. (Leonard Meyer's influential publications on music and information date from the 50s also).
    • Encyclopedia of Linguistics v. 2 - look up and read the following entries (click at the left to expand the outline). Who were these people and how did they differ, personally and academically?
      • Peirce, Charles Sanders
      • Saussure, Ferdinand de
  • Browse the following, according to time and interests, to get the flavor of the original texts (don't worry - you don't have to read and understand everything! just sample and savor...a little goes a long way):
    • Browse selections from Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, especially Part II (ELEMENTS OF LOGIC), Vol. 2, book 2, chapters 2 - 3 (especially sections 227 - 264) (to be distributed)
    • Peirce's theory of signs, esp. section 1 (1.1, 1.2, 1.3)
    • Saussure's Course in General Linguistics, esp. section entitled "General Principels", p. 65-78.
  • Read the following and write a short review (2 paragraphs) of each, in which you summarize the main ideas, define the principal terms, and critique by pointing to limitations or problematic assumptions, assessing how well they appear to understand their theoretical sources and how well they work for music studies, and perhaps placing them within the broader stream of intellectual history. Why do you think these approaches emerged when they did?
  • Optionally (extra credit!) read and review the following:
  • Apply a semiotic-communicative model to your research topic, generating new queries and methods for your proposal. Write (at least) three short paragraphs to insert into Section IV: Problematization. The first should present the model, and the way it is to be deployed. The second should outline resulting queries, and the third should address corresponding methods that can be used to answer them. (Always consider comparative and multisited research strategies, and address feasibility issues if necessary.)

Week 11 : 19-Nov. Model #2: Communication, Semiotics, Linguistics


Written assignments outlined above, namely:




  • Complete draft proposals for next week. Your draft proposal should follow the template, including parts I, II, III, as well as part IV, divided into two sections, one for each of the models we've explored thus far: (a) functionalism, and (b) semiotics (you don't have to include the Habermas model yet). For each model, explain how it can be applied to your topic, what sorts of queries and methods result from this application, and how the model itself might be tested or refined as a result. Please append a working bibliography, and cite it in the body of the proposal (Zotero or another bibliographic database package can generate this for you automatically).
  • Habermas's social model and ethnomusicology.
    • Please read the text I will email to you, which summarizes Habermas's thought (read selectively, focusing on that which is important in what follows). Also read this article on the Lifeworld. You may also like to consult a few reference works if you get stuck:
    • Outline Habermas' social model by explicating each of the following concepts, and explaining how they fit together (2 pages):
      • Pragmatic function of language
      • Theory of communication
      • Structure and function in society
      • Intersubjectivity
      • Lifeworld vs. system
      • Communicative action vs. strategic or instrumental action
      • Communicative action, and the public sphere
    • Speculatively, apply the model to music culture in a general way (1 page). How could it work -- or not? Habermas centers his theory on communicative rationality of language. He has virtually nothing to say about music, and indeed little to say about expressive culture in general. How can you critique and simultaneously expand the model so as to render it more useful for ethnomusicological inquiry into musical sound, affect, expression, and society? What might the role of music be, for instance, in the public sphere? (whether positive or negative)
    • Apply this Habermasian model to your own work, focusing on issues of modernity, globalization, and the relation of music to politics and economy, as a means of extending your proposal's part IV. Be prepared to discuss this application. Again, think in terms of 3 paragraphs to insert into Section IV: Problematization. The first should present the model, and the way it is to be deployed. The second should outline resulting queries, and the third should address corresponding methods that can be used to answer them. You may also suggest ways in which your research may serve to validate or critique the model itself. Again, always consider relevant comparative and multisited research strategies, and address feasibility issues if necessary. You need not submit this in writing for next week, but you should include it in your final proposal.

Week 12 : 26-Nov. Model #3: Habermas's social model


  • Draft proposals, including application of models #1 and #2 (3 paragraphs for each: (a) application, (b) generated queries (suggested by the model), (c) generated methods (suggested by the model and by the queries). (The final version is due Dec 15, with presentations on the 10th.)
  • Summary/critique, and application of Habermas, as explained above (2 page outline of Habermas, plus 1 page application to music culture generally).


  • Habermas and his theory of communicative action.
  • Applications to your proposals.


  • Participatory action research: an activist methodology for ethnomusicology


  • Read about the PAR model as laid out in Participatory Action Research: Communicative Action and the Public Sphere, by Stephen Kemmis and Robin McTaggart (skim the details, focus on the key ideas). Write 2 pages: what is the PAR model? How does it derive from critical social thought, especially that of Habermas? What are the implications for ethnomusicology - how can it be applied or adapted for the study of music in culture?
  • Read about applied ethnomusicology in one of the following (but try to browse the other):
  • Review two PAR ethnomusicology projects::
  • Sample Tony Seeger's lectures on applied ethnomusicology, filmed at UCLA]
  • Then, write 1 page: What is "applied ethnomusicology", and how can PAR contribute to it?
  • Finally, apply PAR to your own work: Add PAR as the last of the four models for your research proposal. Note that unlike the previous three models, PAR is primarily a methodological model. As before, add (at least) three short paragraphs to insert into Section IV: Problematization, (a) presenting the model, and the way it is to be deployed for your research, introducing modifications as you see fit; (b) resulting aims & queries (for applied research practical aims typically take precedence over queries, though you may also be gathering information for a subsequent round in the PAR spiral), (c) specific collaborative methods that can be used to address your aims and queries. Again, consider comparative and multisited research strategies, and address feasibility issues if necessary.

Other sources that may help you:

  • GLOSSARY: Participatory action research

Fran Baum, Colin MacDougall and Danielle Smith Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (1979-) , Vol. 60, No. 10 (October 2006), pp. 854-857 Published by: BMJ Publishing Group Article Stable URL:

  • The Cultural Organizing of Formal Praxis-Based Pedagogies: A Socio-Historical Approach to Participatory Action Research

Julio Cammarota Social Justice , Vol. 36, No. 4 (118), Activist Scholarship: Possibilities and Constraints of Participatory Action Research (2009-2010), pp. 6-13 Published by: Social Justice/Global Options Article Stable URL:

  • Participatory Action Research

Julie L. Ozanne and Bige Saatcioglu Journal of Consumer Research , Vol. 35, No. 3 (October 2008), pp. 423-439 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Article DOI: 10.1086/586911 Article Stable URL:

Week 13 : 03-Dec. Model #4: Participatory Action Research (PAR)


  • Two pages: what is the PAR model? How does it derive from critical social thought, especially that of Habermas? What are the implications for ethnomusicology - how can it be applied or adapted for the study of music in culture?
  • One page: What is "applied ethnomusicology", and how can PAR contribute to it?
  • Add PAR as the last of the four models for your research proposal, by adding three paragraphs as detailed above.




Prepare 15-20 minute presentations for next week. Your presentation should cover your research proposal, but with the addition of audio and video examples to share with the class. State your topic (I). Clearly explain your research aim and its importance (II), then briefly trace the area and scope [indicating comparative and multisited possibilities] (III), and finally explain how each of the four models engages with your topic, generating queries and methods. If you have any partial results you can present those also, along with a rough timeline for completion of the project. We'll follow each presentation with some questions, all enlivened with celebratory food and drink ...

Week 14 : 10-Dec. Presentations; 15-Dec. proposals

10-Dec. Presentations

We'll meet in our usual place (Old Arts 4-03) from 9:30 to 1:00 (NB! half an hour later, plus a bit of extra time at the end just in case.) I'll bring the snacks. You bring your powerpoints: 15-20 minutes each, and another 15-10 minutes for discussion. See above for the details.

15-Dec. Proposal due

The final proposal must follow the format as presented in the template (sections I, II, III, IV), and include all four models (in section IV). Also please hand in any other stray assignments by this date.