African Mbira Music: An Experiential Learning Class
Building and performing one of Africa's most popular musical instruments, the mbira (a kalimba or "finger piano"). Ethnomusicological readings on the instrument's history, role in society, and meaning for musicians. Analysis of musical examples; learning the mbira's repertory and mastering skills common to many forms of African music, including performance of polyrhythms, responsive integration of instrumental and vocal patters, and formulation of unique renditions of pieces through improvisation. Weekly class labs. Course requires no prior experience with music or woodworking.