"What's That Sound?"

Fall 2018

When Buffalo Springfield sang “stop, children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down” in 1966, the song “For What It’s Worth” became an anthem of tumultuous political and social change of the sixties. This class is centered on the question that Stephen Stills posed: what is “that sound,” and what role does sound have in people’s lives? Sound is not just the topic of this course, but also a primary method we will use to learn. We will engage sound by meeting and speaking with people whose lives and careers are centered on sound. In a typical semester we've visited with world-class musicians in residence on campus, taken off-campus field trips to meet folklorists and guitar builders, toured the facilities of our local public radio station during broadcast. We will write and performs raps about our lives, and learn to use music recording and sampling technology to create our own compositions. We will, in short, shape sound, and explore how sound shapes us. We will become more aware of sounds in our lives by meeting and speaking with people whose careers lead them to think every day about the nature and power of sound. So, as musicians say, "get your ears out," and let’s explore sound.

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