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American Culture Studies

Music and Performance

American Culture Studies 4370 - Spring 2020

Christopher Small has asserted that music is not a thing but an activity--something that people DO. Starting from this premise, this course explores musical performance as a live event, one in which additional aspects of performance-dramatic enactments, costume, choreography, and stage design-also come into play. While recorded music plays an important role in our investigations, we focus on musical events that take place before and with live audiences. Exploring the choices of performers and the expectations of audience members in settings from gospel churches to Radio City Music Hall, this course moves through a wide variety of musical genres, including cabaret, blues, opera, protest song, musical theater, and rock. We examine artists whose work blurs the line between "music" and "theater," including George Clinton, Taylor Mac, and Janelle Monae, as well as everyday people and activists who have used music in protest movements from the labor movement to Black Lives Matter. We also attend performances around St. Louis, guided by the interests of the class. Students with an interest in music, theater, dance, cultural history, American studies, and African American studies are especially welcome.
Course Attributes: EN HBU HumAS HUM

Section 01

Music and Performance
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