Department of Music Studies

ETHNOMUSICOLOGY AND CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Kavouras, Pavlos

Musical biographies

Biography is taught as ethnographic research and writing. A distinction is made between the literary genre of biography and ethnographic biography. Students undertake to produce biographies of musicians in accordance with the theory and methodology of ethnomusicology and cultural anthropology. They are asked to inquire into and write on the double identity of the musician in a biography as performer and member of a particular society. Students also write about the literary relationship of the biographer qua maker of the biography with the person that is the object of the biography.  Musical biography is juxtaposed to other kinds of biography, thus broadening the scope of biographical discourse.

Music and the sacred

Like music, the expression of sacred experience is a fundamental manifestation of humanity encountered across time, space and modality. The notion of the sacred is defined in three distinct yet related registers of interpretation. The first discourse on the sacred pertains to common knowledge; the second, to ethnomusicological and anthropological projects; and the third, on auto-narration, i.e. the telling of a personal experience by students themselves. The framework of analysis includes interpretations of the sacred in the domains of experience, expression and communication, with a special focus on music. The ethnographic examples of the course refer to a wide range of sacred traditions such as Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Sufism, and Shamanism.

Seminar: Research methodology

This a mandatory course addressed to students following the "Ethnomusicology and Cultural Anthropology" direction of the Music Studies Undergraduate Program. Ethnographic methodology is highlighted with an emphasis on field research. Students learn how to design, execute, and re-organize the ethnographic research they choose to conduct for the academic purposes of the course. They critically comment on relevant material from published ethnographic research and compile a seminar paper with ideas, observations and data that correspond to all the individual stages of the seminar.

Seminar: Methodology of writing

This a mandatory course addressed to students following the "Ethnomusicology and Cultural Anthropology" direction of the Music Studies Undergraduate Program. In this seminar, ethnography is pursued as the main methodology of ethnomusicological and cultural anthropological writing. The ethnography of writing seminar complements the seminar in ethnographic research (Seminar I). Students learn how to write an ethnographic essay by following some strict rules of discourse analysis and discourse synthesis. They critically comment on relevant material from published ethnographic treatises and compile a seminar paper based on ideas, observations and data that correspond to all the individual stages of the seminar.

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Liavas, Lambros

Greek folk musical instruments

The aim of the course is to familiarize students with the width and variety of Greek folk musical instruments. The first part of the course includes a general introduction to the uses and symbolisms of traditional instruments, through examples derived from various historical periods and musical cultures, in relation to myth and ritual, gender and social class, cultural networks, tradition and modernity. The second part presents the main systems of classification and the “families” of folk instruments, and underscores their differentiations from the instruments of the “classical” orchestra. The most important instruments and combinations ('zygies' and 'kompanies') from land and sea Greece are presented and analytically investigated in categories: memvranofona, aerofona, hordofona, idiofona, sound objects). The course will also include live performances (examples of techniques of play and basic repertoire from various areas) by invited eminent folk musicians, and film shows on the techniques of instrument's construction. A conducted tour to the Museum of Greek Folk Instruments will also take place. 

Greek folk music

The course investigates the history, structure, content, and functions of Greek folk music. Musical tradition is approached as a unity of lyrics-melody-movement (song-music-dance), in combination with its symbolic codes and functions. Special emphasis is given on the elements of orality and improvisation, as well as on the clarification of the terms: traditional, popular, folk and ethnic. Having the Samuel Baud-Bovy research as point of departure, we will study the history of Greek traditional music from the antiquity until our days, underscoring continuities and ruptures, external influences and mutual exchanges, through cultural networks of communication between East and West. The “musical map of Hellenism” is outlined, through the distinction between land and sea traditions as far as the scales, rhythms, instruments, and the music making structure are concerned, in combination with representative sound samples from all areas, kinds, and types of repertoire. Special reference to the function of sound and music in the shadow theatre is made, a specific synthesis of arts that leads to the creation of the Greek folk “opera”.

Urban folk music

We will investigate the course, structure, content, and functions of Greek urban folk music, with special emphasis on the tradition of rebetiko.  Reference will be made to the urban folk culture and its main characteristics in the cities of modern Greece, especially to the musical life of Athens during the 19th century, and to the musical tradition of the two important cities of Hellenism, Smyrni and Constantinople. From the controversy between “kafe-aman” and “kafe-santan” and the prehistory of rebetico, we move on to the first historical period of “prison and teke” (until 1922). We then examine the “classical” period (1922-1940), the contribution of refugees in the formation of rebetiko, and the transition from the school of “Smyrni” to the school of “Piraeus”. Special emphasis is given on the work and personality of Markos Vamvakaris, on the role of discography, and on the implications of the censorship of the Ioannis Metaxa junta. The historical review of rebetiko is completed with the “workers'” period (1945-1955), during which the 'catharsis' of the genre took place. This period is signaled by Vassilis Tsitsanis and the innovations he introduced in the songs' structure and function, and by Manolis Hiotis, who established the four-chord bouzouki. Finally, we will examine the impact of the tradition of rebetiko on the development of Greek song, and we will make a brief review of “folk” song during the decade 1955-1965 (through the “Kazatzidis-Bithikotsis” polar), and of the new kind of folk song (“artistic folk”) that Manos Hatzidakis and Mikis Theodorakis established.

Greek song in the twentieth century: A historical review

The objective of this seminar is to introduce students to specific aspects of Greek song: musical genres, periods, and representatives of the history of Greek song in the twentieth century. The seminar will present basic bibliographic and record sources, and will examine political, social, and economic factors that affected the structure and function of songs in various historical moments of the century. Students will submit a written paper (topics will be decided in collaboration with the Professor), which will be based on indexing specific journal papers and disc literature from archives and libraries, and on original interviews with people (artists or not) dealing with Greek song.

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Hapsoulas, Anastasios

Ethnomusicology I

The aim of the course is to introduce students to the definition, scope, and methods of Ethnomusicology. Through a survey of its history, the course explores the relationship of Ethnomusicology with Historical and Systematic Musicology, as well as current tendencies in the discipline.

Arabian-Persian music

Main purpose of this course is the induction of the students in issues about the constitution, the culture and the development of “classic” Arabian and Persian music, which its development took place mainly in the aristocrats’ courtyards (Medina, Damascus, Bagdad) at the time of the Middle Ages. The role of religion in the development of  hymnody, the relationship of language and music, the musical theory and the tonal system, the musical notation and aesthetics, the instruments and the composition of music ensembles, as well as the effects with the musical theory of Ancient Greek, constitute certain from the thematic units that are examined. The lectures are accompanied by musically examples.

Indian music

India was always a station one of the most ancient cultures of humanity. Main purpose of this course is the induction of the students in issues about the constitution, the culture and the development of “classic” Indian music, which its development took place mainly in the aristocrats’ courtyards. The role of religion in the development of Vedic hymnody, the relationship of language and music, the musical theory and the accentual system, the musical notation and aesthetics, the composition of music ensembles as well as the effects with other musical cultures, as the Arabs and Persians, constitute certain from the thematic units that are examined. The lectures are accompanied by musically examples.

Music transcription and analysis in ethnomusicology

Music transcription and analysis constitute two of the most significant tools of Ethnomusicology for the investigation of the tone systems and morphology characteristics of oral musical idioms or traditions. The objective of the course is to teach students how to use the methods of transcription and analysis and familiarize them with the particular issues that arise from the notation of sound due to the particularities of different musical idioms.

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Papapavlou, Maria

Music cultures of the Mediterranean: South Europe

The geographical area of the Mediterranean, consists of a variety of different cultures, connected to an extended historical past which is characterized by multidimensional economic, social and cultural changes. The specific changes rose the academic interest both in the field of social studies (history, sociology, anthropology), as well as in the field of science studies (geography, geology, biology, medicine). The course introduces an ethnomusicological and anthropological approach to the study of several musical cultures of the Mediterranean. The scientific interest examines the relationship between music and culture through the application of theoretical and methodological tools on various examples of ethnomusicological field research. Moreover, by examining a variety of music ethnographies and by listening to specific musical examples, the course explores the areas of: i)Iberian peninsula, focused on the genres of fados (Portugal) and flamenco (Spain),ii)            Southern Italy, focused on the cases of the Grecophone villages and napolitan tradition, iii) musical traditions of Sardinia and Corsica, iv) ethnomusicological Greek ethnographies.

Music, dance and politics

This course examines the different ways in which the performing arts of music and dance are involved with politics in various historical and cultural contexts. Methodologically we will be engaged with historical records and ethnographies. Theoretically we will discuss how cultural studies, social studies and anthropology in particular have been studying the relation between politics and social movements. Thematically we will examine the relationship between dance/music and politics in totalitarian regimes in Europe and with contemporary political involvement of musical genres in the middle east.

World music

In this course we will focus on the musics of Latin America. We will start with a short introduction to the social and political dimension of Latin American history from the discovery of the continent in 1492 till the complete European colonization and the decisive social/cultural and musical influence of the transatlantic African slave trade. We will study musical ethnographies about the musics of the Caribbean (rumba, son, salsa), of Brazil (capoeira, candomblé, samba) and the great tradition of Argentinian tango. Finally, we will discuss the musical traditions of Peru. Thematically we will be dealing with the relation between music and race/nationality, music and politics and music and globalization.

Music cultures of the Mediterranean: North Africa

This course is the second part of the subject area “Musics of the Mediterranean”. During the first semester, the course focused on the areas of South Europe, whereas in the second semester, the scope of interest focuses on the areas of North Africa. More specifically, the course introduces an ethnomusicological and anthropological approach to the study of several musical cultures of the Mediterranean. The scientific interest examines the relationship between music and culture through the application of theoretical and methodological tools on various examples of ethnomusicological field research. Moreover, by examining a variety of music ethnographies and by listening to specific musical examples, the course explores the areas of: i) Morocco, focusing on the gnawa and Tuareg musical genre and trance rituals, ii) Tunisia, focusing on the stambeli musical genre and maaluf, iii) Algeria, focusing on the rai musical genre connected to the Algerian immigrants  in Paris, iv) Egypt, focusing on religious and popular music.

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Lalioti, Vassiliki

Cultural and music anthropology I

The aim of the course is to introduce students to the subjects of study, methodologies, and products of work of cultural anthropology. More analytically, we will make an historical review of key concepts, methods, questions, topics and tendencies in anthropologists' effort to understand culture in historical as well as in global perspectives. Through various ethnographic examples we will explore topics that are central in contemporary cultural anthropological thought: culture and meaning, language and communication, social construction of identity and reality, cultural aspects of social and economic hierarchies. Although anthropology shares its theory with other disciplines, it is distinguished from them for its emphasis on the ethnographic method (participant observation and in-depth empirical study of cultural groups), as well as for its research and writing aspects.

Cultural and music anthropology II

After having completed a review of the key concepts, methods, and subjects of study of cultural anthropology, in this course we will focus οn the anthropological study of music. More specifically, we will study music from the point of view of anthropology, as a social and cultural phenomenon, which shapes and is shaped by social relations, cultural identities, and meanings. Through various ethnographic examples, we will investigate the main theoretical orientations (e.g. interpretive phenomenology and ethnographic criticism) and issues (e.g. gender, ethnic and national identities, body and senses, globalization), which are central in the anthropological approaches of music.

Musical identities and Internet ethnography

Anthropology has rather ignored popular culture in general and popular music in particular, although it consists an integral part of people's everyday lives. Nowadays, however, anthropologists and ethnomusicologists are increasingly interested in the study of contemporary urban, western communities and in the exploration of phenomena such as globalization and the transcendence of clearly defined musical and cultural boundaries. Anthropology’s main contribution to the interdisciplinary, international, and significantly developed field of contemporary popular music, is the ethnographic investigation of the musical experiences of people who make and listen to the music in specific historical and cultural contexts. Through ethnographic examples from various musical cultures (rock, pop, EDM, hip hop etc.), we will explore issues like the relationship between humans and technology, ethnic and gender identities, migration and diasporas. Special emphasis will be given on the study of online musical communities, and on the new theoretical and methodological questions raised by the anthropological/ethnographic research in the Internet.  

Ethnographic approaches to the performing arts

This course investigates the notion of “performance” in relation to the performing arts (especially music and theatre), and to relevant theories. Performance theories derive from various disciplines: cultural studies, social/cultural anthropology, theatre studies. During lectures we will analyze particular performances, and we will investigate the ways in which ethnographic research, that is, participant observation and active engagement of the researcher in his/her field of research, contributes to an understanding of various theatrical and musical traditions, as well as the ways in which performance theories affect ethnographic theory and practice. Special emphasis will be given on the role of the performing arts in the construction of various identities and communities, and the means though which they achieve it.

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Poulos, Panagiotis

Ethnomusicology ΙΙ

The course covers the development of the field of ethnomusicology since the mid 20th century to the present. This period is defined by the focus on the study of music “in culture and as culture”, following the influence of modern anthropological theory and the method of ethnographic enquiry on ethnomusicology. The course emphasises the shift from the study of music to the study of sound and its interrelation to space, material culture and the constitution of social and cultural identities. Through a wide range of different musical and sonic practices the course analyses the relation between music and sound, and social structures, as well as how this relationship changes and is transformed due to the impact of technology, globalization and migration.

The overall aim of the course is to introduce undergraduate students to the modern theoretical, methodological and practical trends within the field of ethnomusicology, and to the current discussion and debates reflected in the relevant literature.

Musical traditions of the Middle East

The course is an introduction to the various musical traditions of the Middle East, focusing on the principal dynasties of the Islamic world and on their historical relationships. The course offers and thorough survey of the historical Arabic, Persian and Ottoman sources on musical theory and practice, and covers wide range of topics that include the special historical, social and cultural features that shaped the diverse musical traditions in the area, the status and role of musicians across different historical and social contexts, as well as the relationship between music and other forms of artistic expression.  The overall aim of the course is to introduce undergraduate students to a very significant aspect of the cultural history of the Middle East and to foreground the geographical and linguistic pluralism, as well as the interaction and the historical continuities and discontinuities among the various musical traditions.

Ottoman musical tradition

The course examines the art musical tradition of the Ottoman Empire that developed initially under the patronage of the Ottoman Court and of certain Sufi brotherhoods and expanded since the 18th century into the major urban cities of the empire (Constantinople, Smyrna and Salonika), attracting into its circles musicians from the various non-Muslim communities (Rum/Greek Orthodox, Jews, Armenians). In addition, the course covers the transformation and integration of Ottoman urban music into the institutions for music education and performance that were founded by the modern Turkish state since its establishment (1923). The course juxtaposes the foundational myths to the available written sources on music and offers a historical outline of the major phases in the development of Ottoman music. The lectures cover an array of topics that include the patronage of musicians and musical performance, the principal forms, the musical, poetic and compositional models, and the system of teaching and transmission of the music repertoire. In addition, the course emphasises the ideological and aesthetic aspects of the transformation of Ottoman musical tradition in its modern form during the transition from the Ottoman Empire to the modern Turkish state. The overall aim of the course is to introduce undergraduate students to the special aspects of Ottoman musical culture and to the central aesthetic and political issues that pertain to the historical development of the musical genre.

Music and improvisation

The term improvisation describes a wide range of practices and genres that vary among different musical traditions worldwide. A feature shared by these diverse traditions is the creation of music “in the course of performance”. The course examines improvisation from an ethnomusicological perspective and focuses on its diverse expressions and practices on cross-cultural level. Through a survey of different improvisatory genres and traditions (oral epic traditions from Africa and the Middle East, art musics of Asia, contemporary improvisation etc.) the course examines the limits between musical (re)composition and performance, the role of orality and literacy in the creation of music, the process of initiation and of learning of improvisatory techniques, the perceptions regarding freedom and creativity, as well as the social and cultural connotation of improvisation in musical communities that constitute their identities on the basis of improvisatory practices. The overall aim of the course in to introduce undergraduate students to the musical and conceptual diversity of improvisation and to the methodologies in studying improvisatory practices on cross-cultural level.

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Poulakis, Nick

Organization and management of ethnomusicological archives

The class explores the basic principles of (music) librarianship and organization of ethnomusicological material, from research to dissemination, in major thematic sections such as ethnomusicology and archives, ethnomusicology and museums, ethnomusicology and libraries, ethnomusicological records and taxonomic systems, modern databases in ethnomusicology etc. In this context, diverse tools related to the creation and management of various forms of data (written, oral, visual, audio and audiovisual) are presented and applied. The course is supported by further educational material and case studies while students’ grades are calculated on the basis of an assignment and written exams.

Ethnographic film and documentary

The course covers various theoretical issues on the subjects of reality cinema and fiction, film studies and ethnography, visual and media anthropology, ethnomusicological films and music documentaries. As part of the lectures, the films Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty, 1922), Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929), La Chasse de Lion avec l’Arc (Jean Rouch, 1966), Άre Άre Music (Hugo Zemp, 1979) and Amir: An Afghan Refugee Musician’s Life in Peshawar, Pakistan (John Baily, 1985) are ethnographically and critically analyzed. The course is supported by audiovisual examples while students’ grades are calculated on the basis of an assignment and written exams.

Applied ethnomusicology

The course examines practical and public dimensions of ethnomusicology outside the academic context through participatory action research (e.g. ethnomusicology and community music, ethnomusicology and education, ethnomusicology and cultural policy, ethnomusicology and conflict management, ethnomusicology and vulnerable social groups, ethnomusicology and development programs, ethnomusicology and the media). This approach aims at creating a balance between ethnomusicological teaching, research and active social involvement by educational, cultural, political, computational, artistic or activist means. The course is supported by further educational material and case studies while students’ grades are calculated on the basis of an assignment and written exams.

Music and cinema: anthropological approaches

This class studies the relation between music and the moving pictures through historical and anthropological perspective. It explores relevant issues such as scene music, music for silent and sound films (practices, functions and usages), contemporary theoretical and methodological models of film music analysis, film music genres, film soundtrack and performance theory, as well as the novel academic disciplines of anthropology of film music and film (ethno)musicology. The course is supported by audiovisual examples while students’ grades are calculated on the basis of an assignment and written exams.