Anthropology 393





Recent research indicates that language and music are likely not processed independently by the brain, that memory functions with respect to language and music are also interrelated, and the speakers of tone languages may be much more likely to exhibit “perfect pitch”.  This course explores some of the research directly relating language and music, and it also investigates the relationship between musical "discourse" and verbal / kinesic discourse (including dance), seeking to extract rules that are common to both, to place both in a common performance frame, and to describe the ways in which music on occasion attempts to emulate spoken communication and speech on occasion attempts to emulate music, as well as the ways that people speak about music in their verbal discourse, or "play" speech musically.   Crucial to the perspective taken here is the notion of performance, corollaries to which are interpretation in context and culture construction through performance. 




Text:     Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy   Robert Jourdain





Week 1             What is speech?   What is Music?   To which category does chanting belong?  Drumming? 

                        How does dance fit in musically, communicatively?

Creativity and Novelty in Speech and in Music


Week 2             Gender and Sex in speech and in music, in dance


Week 3             Social segmentation – (caste, class, race)  in speech and in music


Week 4             Classification  in Speech and Music:   genres, instruments, situations,

                        Oratory, Recitation, Joking, …..

                        Jazz, Classical, Pop, R&B, R&R, Alternative, Rock, Acid Rock, World,  Grunge


Week 5             Instruments of speech (vocal auditory channel, telephonic, computer,  writing)

Musical instruments  (piano, guitar, bass, ….)

                        Dance instruments  (body, other accoutrements)


Week 6             The different natures of communication through speech and music

                        Music and speech in space and time

                        Trance, dance, and possession in music and speech  (cf.  Kapchan)


Week 7             Speaking of Music, and Musical renditions of speech


Week 8             Analyzing speech and music structurally


Week 9             Speech and Music in Religion


Week 10           Acquisition of competence in speaking and musicianship


Week 11           Preferences and Taboos in Speech and Music


Week 12           Identity Issues w/ speech and music   (cf. Shannon)


Week 13          Power and persuasion in speech and in music


Week 14          Curing with speech, curing with music   (Bribri,  Kuna)


Week 15          





Stance: Ideas about Emotion, Style, and Meaning for the Study of Expressive Culture  Harris M. Berger


Among the Jasmine Trees: Music and Modernity in Contemporary Syria    Jonathan H. Shannon


Traveling Spirit Masters: Moroccan Gnawa Trance and Music in the Global Marketplace       Deborah Kapchan


The Singing Neanderthals:  The Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body  -  Steven Mithen


The World in Six Songs    Daniel J. Levitin   

       Review - 


This is your brain on Music   Daniel J. Levitin


 Music, Language, and the Brain   Aniruddh Patel,    Oxford University Press.