The Roots of American Popular Music
This seminar will combine research and performance to explore the musical traditions that have shaped the development of American popular music. We will examine the styles and values of the Old and New World musics whose extraordinarily fruitful interaction produced the many branches of our contemporary music: blues, jazz, country, gospel, bluegrass, rock and roll, soul, hip hop and beyond. We will learn research methods and apply those skills to research/writing projects about American music. All seminar members will contribute to weekly performances that allow us to participate in the music that we study. We will define “performance” very broadly as “some form of creative expression:” no prior artistic training or musical expertise is required or expected. The only prerequisite is a willingness to participate in some thoughtful and involved way in performances that deepen our understanding and appreciation of American music.