Music in Indigenous Societies

Subject MUSI40096 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2-hour seminar per week during the semester
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

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

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

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 may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof Catherine Falk


Cathy Falk

Subject Overview:

This subject examines the diversity of musical expression that arises as a response to particular physical environments among various Indigenous societies. Using seminal ethnomusicological writings and recordings, case studies are drawn from rainforest societies in Africa, Asia, South America and Melanesia, societies on the rim of the Arctic circle, and the nomadic herder societies of the grasslands and taiga of southern Siberia and Mongolia. The subject explores how sound, speech, song and ceremony are used to reflect the social, spiritual, sensory and sonic relationships between people and nature. Students will be encouraged to make intellectual and creative connections between acoustic epistemologies, sonic awareness, sound environments and musical responses in their own society.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a high level of understanding of how different Indigenous societies react sonically and musically to their physical environment;
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the impact of globalisation on Indigenous musical production;
  • make critical, informed and sophisticated responses to new ideas, methodologies and theoretical frameworks in the study of music;
  • integrate a reflective knowledge and an informed understanding of cross-cultural and intercultural concepts and behaviours in musical production from different times and places into their professional and intellectual lives;
  • conduct independent secondary research in ethnomusicology; make intelligent responses to aural sources; and
  • write in a scholarly manner appropriate to the discipline.
  • Essay of 2000 words - End of Semester Exam (40%)
  • Cumulative assignment equivalent to 2000 words - Mid Semester & End of Semester (40%)
  • One hour Listening Test - End of Semester Exam (20%)
Prescribed Texts:

All readings for this subject will be available on line through the LMS for this subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

On completion of this subject students should have developed:

  • a capacity for independent critical thought
  • an openness to new ideas
  • knowledge and skills which provide a basis for independent critical inquiry and research-based writing
  • an informed understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Music (Degree with Honours)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Composition
Graduate Diploma and Certificate Elective subjects

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