Traditional Music Ensemble (MPF4221.01)

John Kirk

We will study and perform from the string band traditions of rural America. Nova Scotia, Quebecois, Irish, New England, Scandinavian, African-American dance and ballad traditions. In addition, these will be experienced with listening, practice (weekly group rehearsals outside of class), and performing components. Emphasis on ensemble intuition, playing by ear, and lifetime personal music making skills (transposition, harmonizing, etc.). Performances in past terms include: contradances, music workshop appearances, arts-in-education programs for local elementary schools, and participation in a traditional Pan-Celtic music session (Saratoga Springs, NY).


Learning Outcomes:
• Expanding awareness of traditional folk music and dance forms from an historical and musical viewpoint.
• Learning these music and dance forms through direct, hands on experience.
• Opening and deepening an awareness of multi-cultural originations of these music and dance styles.
• Learning personal music making skills through daily practice.
• Learning to teach yourself how to write, play, and practice as a life long art.

Delivery Method: Remotely accessible
Prerequisites: Please contact instructor via email ( and describe previous instrumental/vocal experiences. Previous playing experience required on one or more of the following instruments: violin, guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass accordion, concertina, penny whistle, flute, bodhran, harp, ukulele, or piano. Students must have three to five years of instrument playing experience, and must have their own instrument or arrange for instrument use per term.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 2
W 10:00AM-10:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: Every Term

Categories: All courses , Ethnomusicology , Performance , Remotely Accessible
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