Introductory Lecture Notes for a Course on Popular Music in America

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MUSI 2040 F12 Lecture 1: Introduction The Multicultural Premise of the Course. The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences multicultural policy states that all undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences are required to complete a course "with a significant focus on African American, Asian American, Hispanic American or Native American cultures." This course has a significant focus on African American music culture, and it touches in a more limited way on Hispanic American and Native American cultures. However, the multicultural aspect of the course goes beyond the subject matter of what is covered. It also includes attention to how these cultures are covered. The authors of our textbook, the late Daniel Kingman (1925-2003) and Lorenzo Candelaria, were very much aware of the multicultural nature of American music. In the first edition of 1979, Kingman already included a significant focus on African-American music, and devoted a chapter each to Hispanic American and Native American music. In the current edition, Candelaria is still wrestling with how to define the book's approach to multiculturalism: "This fourth edition of American Music: A Panorama embraces again Kingman's attractive idea of American music as a series of more or less distinct but parallel streams. The concept is laudable not only because it casts aside evolutionary models of music history . . ., but also the equally suspect notion of America and its culture as a 'melting pot.' A more accurate description might be 'mosaic' but even better than that is Kingmans's streams--a metaphor that powerfully brings to mind images of waters that refresh, nourish , and sustain the land.. . ." The "melting pot" and the "mosaic" are both much-debated terms with long histories. Here are some Working Definitions (all paraphrased or quoted from Wikipedia). These definitions represent a consensus of informed opinion, but are not scientifically binding. The melting pot is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society...
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