(varying credit, 1-8 weeks)
Overview of the development of musical genres in Cuba such as the danzón, son, and rumba, including key figures and groups associated with different musical styles. Depending on the length of the class and interests of the students, the course traces the intersection of European musical currents and African rhythms from the 18th century to the present day. Students will attend musical and dance performances that complement course content. In order to understand the music in its appropriate context, students learn about historical, social and cultural conditions that informed the music, and study song lyrics as an expression of political and social issues. Additional topics may include but aren’t limited to: Cuban classical music, opera and lyric opera, ballet, choral music, carnival music and dance, Cuban film music, guajiro (country) music, mambo and chachacha, trova, Afrocuban jazz, and popular contemporary music. Students learn vocabulary to discuss music as an academic discipline, and practice writing about music as a field of study. Through analysis of musical texts, students refine their critical thinking skills, and deepen their understanding of music as it relates to self-representation and national identity. The course is taught in a seminar/ discussion format by Cuban professors with expertise in the field, with collaboration by local musicians and performers. The goal of the class is to familiarize students with Cuban music as an expression of the culture and people who produced it, and give them the tools with which to examine it from an academic perspective.
With this course module: