6/14/2021 HUMN 100 6981 Introduction to Humanities (2215) – HUMN 100 6981 Introduction to Humanities (2215) 1/6

Week 3: Music and Dance

HUMN 100 6981 Introduction to Humanities (2215) OO

Music and Dance

Without music, life would be a

mistake. I would believe only in a

god that knows how to dance. —

Friedrich Nietzsche

Dancing Celestial Deity (Devata), early 12th century

This image is in the public domain.


Music is and has been, to one degree or another, a part of every human society. Music

fulfills needs related to artistic expression: entertainment, group or individual motivation,

religious worship, providing an aural accompaniment to films, plays, and other dramatic

presentations, reading, and exercising. Music can be so deeply ingrained in our daily lives

that sometimes it is hard to separate it from its association with other activities. In many

African languages, there is no separate word for music. African music cannot be separated

from dance and ceremony.

In some cultures, music is highly prized and considered essential for a full and happy life;

it is so revered in others that it is considered appropriate to be experienced only under

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the most solemn and reverent conditions. Yet what distinguishes music from sound or


There are almost as many definitions of music as there are people who attempt to define

it, but everything generally recognized as music (as opposed to noise or sound) seems to

have in common human organization, patterning, and intent, as well as a sound source of

some kind. Music is primarily an aural experience—it is primarily heard—as opposed to

being experienced through any of the other senses, although it is certainly possible to

experience music by seeing musical notation, or feeling vibrations, as in the case of British

percussion soloist Dame Evelyn Glennie, who describes herself as profoundly deaf.

Ethnomusicology is the study of music within the context of human life—the study of

people making music. Ethnomusicologists bring in anthropological, linguistic,

psychological, and sociological perspectives, as well as purely musical ones. In contrast to

such Western categories as melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre, the organizing

categories of sound, behavior, and conception have evolved over time as major objects of

study within the discipline of ethnomusicology.

A distinctive characteristic of ethnomusicology is its interdisciplinary nature. It

encompasses not only historical musicology from a comparative perspective, but also

psychological, sociological, and anthropological topics, such as perception, linguistics, the

traditions of folklore, and cultural studies, which includes the cultural uses of music.

Cultures use the performance of music for a variety of purposes (religious and secular

communications, dance and other rituals, etc.). The study of its context by

ethnomusicologists is an important part of understanding music’s cultural function, or its

role in the society that produces it.

In contrast to the work of ethnomusicologists, until the 1980s, musicologists most often

wrote about what is represented in a performance of music by 17th- to 20th-century

European male composers, rather than what the performers do in each performance. A

musical score served as the representation of music. However, scholars now recognize

that a musical score hides as much as it shows. Most editions of musical scores,

particularly those of early music (pre-1800), are created by using a variety of sources that

are incomplete and often contradictory, revealing a good deal of scholarly judgment and

educated guesswork when performers give these scores a live performance. Since the

1980s, several musicologists have made more attempts to reach an understanding of

European art music (what many people call classical music) as one kind of music among

many, both for its own sake and for the possibility of contributing to an understanding of

its social and historical contexts.

As you explore the world of dance this week, consider its very close relationship with

music in African culture, demonstrated by the resources on African-American spirituals

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Week 3 Checklist

and the ring shout.

Learning Outcomes

Following is a list of the Week 3 outcomes, mapped to the corresponding course

outcome. The course outcomes give “the big picture,” and the weekly outcomes provide

more detailed information that will help you achieve the course outcome.

Week 3 Outcomes

Describe the meanings of music and sound (1, 2).

Use the lens of ethnomusicology to view the field of music (1, 2).

Identify elements of music and dance (1, 2).

Analyze music and dance in specific cultures (3, 4).

Course Outcomes Met in Week 3

Describe and analyze the way human culture is expressed through works of

literature, performing and visual arts, philosophy, and religion in order to appreciate

the depth and breadth of the humanities disciplines.

Use basic vocabulary, concepts, methods, and theories of the humanities disciplines

in order to describe and analyze cultural and artistic expressions.

Identify and apply criteria in order to evaluate individual and collective cultural


Examine individual and cultural perspectives in the field of humanities in order to

recognize and assess cultural diversity and the individual’s place in the world.

16.67 % 1 of 6 topics complete

Read the Weekly Overview & Learning Goals

Read, View, Review all of the Learning Resources & Links

Participate in our Discussions

Take the Quiz

Compose & Submit your Final Project Part 1

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Week 3 Study Guide
Web Page

Week 3 Learning Resources
External Learning Tool

Week 3: QUIZ

WEEK 3 DISCUSSION: Exploring Music and Dance
Discussion Topic

Take the quiz before you post to the discussions.

Please use the Learning Resources from this module to answer the quiz questions. You

may take this quiz up to five times. Questions you have answered incorrectly will be

shown to you after each attempt. Your best grade will be recorded in the grade book.

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR DISCUSSIONS: Your contributions should be thoughtful

and developed. Answer all parts of the question and use concepts from the course

materials. Use a professional style of communication, with attention to grammar, spelling,

and typos; cite your sources.

Unless your instructor specifies otherwise, choose ONE of the following questions, and

give a substantive response to at least two other students.


The readings and videos introduced themes and issues related to exploring music and

dance as phenomena of culture. There are a great many more to consider: children’s

music and dance, music and dance for the elderly, music and dance among people with

disabilities, or spirituals in African American history. Find a video related to one of these,

embed it in your post, and examine one of these areas (or another related topic) in detail

and make sure to use at least two concepts, terms etc. about music and dance from the

Learning Resources for the module. Underline or bold the vocabulary, concept or
technique you use as a interpretative tool in your post.


If you decide to create a Ringshout and can make a video, share a file containing the video

and discuss the experience of learning about the Ringshout and the process of creating it.


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Final Project Part 1: Selection of the Topic

Due July 6 at 11:59 PM

Participate in a style of dance that is new to you. Your local community may offer free or

low cost opportunities such as contra dancing or line dancing. If live musicians are

present, what instruments are used? Do some research on the style of dance you

participated in and discussing its cultural context, history and origins. Also provide some

information about your overall experience participating in this form of dance. Be sure to

embed a video example of this kind of dance in your post.


Using an Internet search engine, locate the nearest symphony orchestra, chorus (chorale)

or opera company to your home or office, or one that you would like to visit in the future.

Share the URL (website location) and describe some of the works being performed this

season. Are the works on the programs all by 18th and 19th century European male

composers (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, etc.) or did you find some diversity among the


Check for special programs for families with children or special ticket prices for students.

Does the organization have a public outreach program such as the award-winning “Voices

Within,” an artist residency program designed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale that

teaches fifth grade students how to tap their creative voices to compose and perform

their own original songs?

If you were to attend one of the performances you have discovered, what two tools from

the Learning Resources for the module. Do you find useful to have in mind when viewing

the performance and why? Underline or bold the vocabulary, concept or technique you

use as a interpretative tool in your post.

You will not see any other postings until you post your own.

Initial posts are due by Saturday at 11:30PM ET and at least two responses to fellow

classmates are expected by the end of the academic week on Tuesday by 11:30PM ET.

Click here to view the full Final Project description.

Final Project, Part 1. Selection of Topic.

This part of the final project is your choice of topic.

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Choose one of the following subjects or propose one of your own.

One particular emotion or state of mind such as anger, jealousy, fear, gratitude,

confusion, etc.

One specific fairy tale, myth, fable, or classic story

One religious or spiritual lesson or belief such as humility, hope, enlightenment,

renunciation, reincarnation, the Trinity, the eight-fold path, ahimsa (non-violence),


One political or social theme such as social justice and injustice, social inequality,

social progress, political conflict, etc.

One form of cultural/societal identity such as race, sexual-orientation, gender

identity, ethnicity, or class, or you could combine two of these such as “black

women,” or “Chinese-American fathers,” or “LGBTQ Native-Americans.”

A specific fictional character such as a character from a novel, play or film or a

specific public personality such as a news anchor, a reporter, a politician etc.

One natural force or element of the natural world, like a kind of weather (snow,

rain, sun), an animal (cat, dog, horse), a kind of landscape (mountain, oceanic,

desert), etc.

Explain two reasons for your choice in a short paragraph of 4-5 sentences. Be sure to

include the significance of your choice to your own thinking about the world and/or its

cultural significance.

STOP: Before you hand in your assignment, make sure to ask yourself the following


1. Have I clearly identified an appropriate topic?

2. Have I explained two reasons for my choice explaining the significance of the

choice to my own thinking about the world and/or the topic’s cultural significance?

3. Have I edited and proofread my writing for grammatical, structural, and spelling

errors that might impede someone from understanding what I am trying to say?

Due Date for Part 1: This submission is due during Week 3, with the final day of

submission being the Tuesday of the third week (11:30pm ET). Please see the Course

Schedule for the exact final due date for this submission. The submission should be

carefully edited and proofed for standard use of English.

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