Music in Aboriginal Australia

Subject MUSI20189 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2015.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 1.5 hour lecture and one 1 hour tutorial per week during semester
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit.



Contact Centre
T: 13 MELB (6352)

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
VCA and MCM Student Centre
E: [] []

Subject Overview:

This subject provides an introduction to major traditional and contemporary musical traditions that are indigenous to Australia. From Central Australian Song-lines, to Kimberley Corroborees and Country and Western, to Wangga and Djanba in the Daly region, and Manikay and rock bands of the far northeast Arnhem Land, lectures and tutorials explore the compositional processes, performance practices, and foundational principles that underpin a diverse range of Aboriginal song and dance from across Australia. Particular focus is placed on song lyrics and other musical elements, dance, creative innovation and the continuity and revitalisation of tradition through contemporary practices.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Describe and distinguish the sound structures and instrumentation of major dance and song traditions from across Australia.
  • Use specialised and appropriate terminology to describe Aboriginal Australian musical forms, compositional processes and beliefs.
  • Discuss and illustrate ways in which musical practices are used to enact broader cultural, social, historical themes.
  • Identify and analyse elements of traditional musical practices in contemporary musical forms.
  • Appreciate the value of Aboriginal Australian performance traditions for education and societies across Australia

A ten minute class presentation during tutorials (20%); weekly tutorial participation and attendance (10%); a written assignment of 750 words due in Week 5 (20%); a 2000 word essay in the examination period (50%)

Prescribed Texts:

Readings will be available on the LMS prior to the commencement of the semester

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students will have acquired skills in:

  • Research (through frequent and systematic use of the library, web sources, monitoring of online and popular media)
  • Critical thinking and analysis (through required and recommended reading, listening, brief reports, essay writing and tutorial discussion)
  • Understanding of social, political, historical and cultural contexts and awareness/openness to the world (through the contextualisation of judgements and knowledge, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and new aspects of Aboriginal Australian cultures and reflexive consideration of perceptions of Aboriginal Australian cultures).
  • Communicating knowledge intelligibly and effectively (through tutorial discussion, brief reports, essay writing and a class presentation).
  • Written communication (through essay and assignment preparation and writing).
  • Public speaking and confidence in self-expression (through tutorial participation and class presentations)
  • Attention to detail (through close reading, listening, analysis of audio and video, brief reports, essay preparation and writing).
  • Time management and planning (through managing and organising workloads for required and recommended reading and listening, essay and assignment completion).
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Academic Electives

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