Survey of Latin American Music

Course Syllabus

Revised -summer 2006


Instructor: Patricia A. Dixon

Course Description

This course will explore the most important musical traditions in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands, concentrating on musical values and social styles as they pertain to different cultural groups: Amerindian, African, Mestizo-Criollo and Iberian-European. The course will cover themes such as:

  1. music and nature
  2. religious musical traditions
  3. music of protest – music as a social dialogue
  4. gender issues in musical practices
  5. music associated with courtship
  6. poetry defining music
  7. music shaping the cultural memories and identities in transnational communities
  8. folk traditions and art music.

Course Goals

  1. To listen to music attentively.
  2. To learn to appreciate and recognize different musical styles and traditions and relate them to a particular culture and geographical area.
  3. To broaden the understanding of different musical expressions through the comparative study of cultures.
  4. To familiarize the student with the impact of Latin American Music in North American music.
  5. To examine the impact of music in society
  6. To understand how music is part of a collective historical memory and a continuing social dialogue

Course Requirements and Grading

Students are required to complete all reading assignments before every class period. Participation is class discussions, is expected.

There will be four evaluations during the course of the semester. Ten percent of the grade will be based on, preparedness, class participation, attendance, group participation, oral delivery during class presentations and creative uses of technology.

Meeting Times and Location

Class meetings are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 to 4:15 in Room 306 SFAC


Required Text

Music in Latin American Culture, John M. Schercher, General Editor.

Suggested Readings From:

All assigned readings for each week are to be completed by the class time they were assigned. (Please refer to work schedule below)

Articles from Ethnomusicology

Articles from Latin American Music Review

Bachata: A Social History of Dominican Popular Music by Pacini Hernandez

Caribbean Currents by Peter Manuel, Temple University Press, 1995

Cut’N’Mix: Culture, Identity and Caribbean Music by Dick Hebdige, Routledge, 1999

The Faces Of The Gods-Voudou and Roman and Catholicism In Haiti. by Desmangles G., Leslie. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill and London, 1992.

Excursions in World Music by Nettl, Capwell, Bohlman, Wong, and Turino, 1992

Merengue Dominican Music and Dominican Identity by Paul Austerlitz

Santería from Africa to the New World: The Dead Cell Memories by George Brandon, Indiana University Press, 1997

The Chilean Verso by Maria Ester Grebe

The Garland Encyclopedia of Music

The Latin Tinge by John Storms Roberts, Oxford University Press, 1979

The Texas-Mexican Conjunto by Manuel Peña

"La Cuba de Ayer/La Cuba de Hoy": The politics of Music and Diaspora by Gema R.Guevara. Musical Migrations-Chapter 2.

Popular Music and Culture in Puerto Rico: Jamaican and Rap Music as Cross Cultural Symbols by Jorge L Giovannetti. Musical Migrations-Chapter 5

El Mariachi: Musical Repertoire as Sociocultural Investment by Cándida F. Jáquez

Corridos in Migrant Memories by Martha I. Chew Sánchez

Choro; A social history of a Brazilian Popular Music by Tamara Elena Livingstone- Isenhour and Thomas Goerge Caracas Garcia

Tropical Truth: A history of music and revolution in Brazil by Caetano Veloso

Bossa Nova: The story of the Brazilian music that seduced the world by Ruy Castro

Rockin’ Las Americas: Global Politics of Rock in Latin/o America ed. Pacini Hernandez, Fernandez L’Hoeste and Zolov.

Videos, CD’s and Readings

All listening tracks and articles will be online through the ZSR Library.

To listen to additional music, students must follow music department regulations for checking out recordings. All recordings must be used in the Music Library.

Videos and other materials not online will be in reserve in the music library.