FREE LECTURE: School of Music Presents: Research Seminar Series - Winthrop Professor Benjamin Smith: Archaeomusicology: some thoughts on the origins of music
|School of Music Presents: Research Seminar Series - Winthrop Professor Benjamin Smith: Archaeomusicology: some thoughts on the origins of music
Archaeomusicology: some thoughts on the origins of music
This seminar will be dominantly grounded in the archaeology of Africa. Early music is archaeologically elusive. The first plausible musical implements only appear in the archaeological record after modern humans reached Europe, but we are certain that music existed long before this. Its origins must lie, alongside our human origins, in Africa. This seminar will therefore look at the archaeological underpinnings for the origins of music in Africa: the first symbolic thinking, ideas about the origins of complex modern language and the world’s oldest art. We will then look at the first peoples of Africa, in particular the Kalahari Bushmen and the central African Pygmies and explore the fundamental role of music in their religious practices. Extrapolating from this ethnographically informed view of music, I will then consider how archaeological evidence may provide glimpses of the nature and purpose of early music.
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