Posted: February 19th, 2022
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DB: Using Music to Analyze Identity
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Find 3-5 sources that help us understand what music from the place and time that you have chosen tells us about your target cultural identity or concept in that place and time. If there are recordings of music available, at least one of these sources should be an audio recording of music. (If your comparison society is from before the days of audio recording, you do not have to include a recording.)
You may also use other kinds of sources to help us understand the diverse ways that music and musical imagery communicate information to an audience. You may use music, images of music or musicians, and other kinds of evidence to help you and your audience better understand just how your chosen identity or concept is communicated in your group’s comparison society through music and music-related imagery.
In one discussion post:
List the cultural identity you are examining. (This should be the same as the previous two weeks.)
List the time and place of your comparison society. (This should also be the same as the previous two weeks.)
Post your sources. Post links to videos or audio files so that we can easily listen to the music if they are available. If you don’t have access to recordings because of the time and place of your comparison society, then include links to your sources of information about the music of that time and place.
For each source, include the author, title, year, and any other relevant information that will help us understand the context in which that source was produced.
In a second post, replying to your own first post, write a careful analysis of what these 3-5 sources tell us about the nature, content, and application of your chosen identity or concept. The music is your evidence here. The sources that are themselves not pieces of music should serve to help us understand the identities embedded in the music and the culture surrounding the music. Your task here is not to give an analysis of what a particular song is about (say, by analyzing the lyrics to show that it is a love song). Instead, your task is to try to find the assumptions about your chosen identity that are embedded in a piece of music, in a musical genre or subgenre, and so on. You can do this by asking about the conditions surrounding musical expression: Who makes music? Who is in charge of what music gets made, if anyone? Is music primarily religious, social, commercial?
Again, focus on questions such as:
What do these pieces of music or music-related sources imply about what it means to be “x”?
What assumptions or preconceptions about “x’s” are implicit in your sources?
How might we be affected by sources that portray being “x” the way these sources do?
How is being “x” different than being “y,” according to what you find in these sources?
Who counts as being “x,” and who doesn’t count as being “x,” according to what you find in these sources?
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