1. Sound, Music, and the Environment
What do different cultures mean by music? This program explores the definition of music from the sine wave to poetic metaphor, and the impact of the cultural environment on musics as different as Bosnian ganga and becarac singing; Tuvan throat singing; Irish, West African, Trinidadian, and Japanese musics; and Western chamber music, jazz, and rock.
2. The Transformative Power of Music
Music can inspire religious devotion, prepare individuals for war, motivate work, enrich play, and stimulate the passions. The musical healing ceremonies of the Kung people in Namibia and Botswana, Epirote music in traditional Greek weddings, and modern rock, gospel, and folk musics all reveal music's power to transform lives.
3. Music and Memory
As a dynamic link to the past, music allows us to recall and revive our different cultural heritages through the performances we participate in now. West African griots, the Walbiri people of Australia, folksingers of Ireland and Appalachia, and modern practitioners of early music show us how our musical pasts live again today.
4. Transmission: Learning Music
How we learn musical traditions and how we maintain, modify, notate, teach, and perform them for a new, younger audience are exemplified here in Indian classical music, African village drumming, and modern jazz and gospel.
Marking time and moving through our bodies, rhythm has a special relationship to both musical form and worldwide dance traditions. How rhythm structures music is examined through the American marching band, North Indian tala, Japanese shakuhachi tradition, West African drumming, and Afro-Cuban dance music.
Melody the part of music we most often remember — is examined here both scientifically and poetically, from a strict sequence of pitches to a group of notes "in love with each other." We see and hear melodies shaped, elaborated, and developed within Western classical music, the Arabic maqam tradition, Irish dance music and sean-nós singing, and Indian raga.
7. Timbre: The Color of Music
The tone color of music or "timbre," as we call it in the Western tradition is influenced by both technical and aesthetic factors. This program examines the creation and effects of timbre in jazz and Indian, West African, Irish, Bosnian, Indonesian gamelan, and Japanese musics.
The way different voices and instruments work together to produce the overall sound gives music its texture. This program examines texture in Japanese shakuhachi, Trinidadian steel band, Bosnian ganga, West African percussion, and modern Australian choral music.
When two or more notes sound together, harmony occurs. This interaction of pitches, understood in vastly different ways around the world, is analyzed here in jazz, chamber music, Bosnian ganga singing, early music plainchants, and barbershop quartets.
10. Form: The Shape of Music
Form the way music is organized and structured from beginning to end guides composers, performers, and listeners in all musics. Here, the traditional Western sonata, the blueprints behind improvisational jazz, the narrative structure of traditional Japanese music, call-and-response forms in West African music and American gospel, and Irish fiddle tunes exemplify worldwide variations in musical form.
11. Composers and Improvisers
How are a composer and an improvisor alike? How are they different? The marriage between fixed elements and new variation is examined in American rock, Indian raga, classical and contemporary Western music, jazz, and Arabic classical music.
12. Music and Technology
New instrument types and new electronic media for distribution are obvious results of technology, but so were the first bone flute and the first stretched catgut. How technology affects music is examined here in a case study of the flute, and in an examination of developing recording and composing technologies where the roles of composer, musician, arranger, and conductor begin to fuse.