21M.293 Music of Africa

As taught in: Fall 2005

Several people playing small drums tucked under their arms.

Drummers playing the tama (small talking drum) in Dakar, Senegal. (Photo by Prof. Patricia Tang.)

Level:

Undergraduate

Instructors:

Prof. Patricia Tang

Course Description

This course is an introduction to selected musical traditions of West Africa. A variety of musical practices and their cultural contexts will be explored through listening, reading, and written assignments, with an emphasis on class discussion. The course includes in-class instruction in West African drumming, song and dance, as well as lecture-demonstrations by guest artists.

After an introductory unit, the course will be organized around four main geographical areas: Senegal, Mali, Ghana, and Nigeria. An in-depth study of music from these countries will be interspersed with brief overviews of Southern, Central, and East Africa.