Folklore | Mbira Performance & Culture
F301 | 12134 | S. Matiure


Above class meets at 501 N. Park.

This course requires the purchase of a $230 instrument, which is
automatically charged to the student’s Bursar account. Students may
pick up their mbira starting the first week of classes at the
Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, 504 N. Fess Ave., from 8
am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 5 pm Monday through Friday.

This course introduces students to Zimbabwean music and culture
through a combination of hands-on training in playing the mbira and
lectures discussing music traditions of Zimbabwe. Students will
engage in hands-on experience playing the Nyunganyunga mbira (also
known as karimba or dimba), a 15 key, plucked instrument found along
the border of Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and one among more than six
types of mbira found in Zimbabwe. Students will be introduced to
modal playing, and will be expected to apply their training to at
least three songs throughout the semester. In the process of
teaching how to play, aural skills will be emphasized, in particular
those required to appreciate the polyrhythmic and the polyphonic
structures in mbira music.

Lectures will explore issues such as the geographical distribution
of instruments similar to the mbira in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well
as issues specific to mbira performance and culture in Zimbabwe.
Mbira music and spirituality, and in particular Shona cosmology,
will constitute some of the major discussions during the course of
the semester.

Class readings will include works by Hugh and Andrew Tracy, Thomas
Turino and others. Paul Berliner’s Ethnography, “The Soul of Mbira”
will constitute the main text for the class and students may
purchase this from the IU Book Store. The syllabus will be posted on
OnCourse.

Fulfills COLL Arts & Humanities, CSA