Music of Islam Week 1

Listening examples for this last week are available here. You will notice that I uploaded the two examples of the Call to Prayer. As I stated in class, these will not be on Monday’s Listening Quiz.

Looking to next week… On Monday we will be covering Sufi music in Turkey and Syria. The assigned article, Jonathan Shannon’s “Sultans of Spin,” is available here. Lace Spencer is going to lead us in a demo. If anyone is uncomfortable with either moving or Zikr, please contact me through email. For Thursday, we will be covering Sufi music in Egypt, and I’ve asked you to read Scott Marcus’s musical discussion of Madh from Music in Egypt as well  Charles Hirschkind’s “Islam, Nationalism, and Audition” from his book, The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics.


CCM and More

As we discussed in class today, since I was out on Monday, we lost a class. Thus, we will be doing an extra class meeting this Saturday at 2:30PM in HCL 4.

In addition to 3 pages in Deep Listeners, the related readings are “Three Little Essays on Evanescence” by Mitchell Morris and “The Splintered Art World of Contemporary Christian Music” by Jay Howard and John Streck. Please prioritize the reading by Morris.

For those interested, I am attaching a video of the Charles Mingus Big Band (courtesy of Michael Waas).

Listening for Week Two

As promised, here is a link to the listening files for the week in addition to 3 recordings from a Gregorian Requiem Mass. Remember that those 3 tracks will not be considered quiz material. Everything else from this week is fair game.

As you begin preparing for the quiz, remember to consider both how we talked about these recordings in class (in terms of context and musical qualities) as well as how you respond to them. Subjective (and aestheticized) responses are ok so long as they are tempered by how this music functioned in its time.

Becker Chapter 1

I have made a scan of Chapter 1 available (with some of my marginal notes…) as a PDF here. The first 10 pages of Becker are easily accessible through Google Books and Amazon Preview. I’m cross-posting this on Newdle (and clearly learning the unique properties of New College technologies).

UBorrow and Deep Listeners

A prospective student of the class tells me that the entirety of Judith Becker’s Deep Listeners is available through UBorrow. If you have trouble, the first 10 pages are available for free through Google Books, and I have a low-quality scan of chapter 1 that I can email you if you need — it’s just a matter of asking.

Good luck!

Books on Reserve

Due to a request at yesterday’s mini-class, I am officially requesting all books related to this class (including required textbooks  and those not on-sale in the book store) be put on reserve in the campus library. This should go into effect over the next week or so.

Syllabus Draft!

Hello all!

I’m posting a draft of the syllabus here without the listening assignments to make it easier to navigate. The listening assignments will be on the NewDLE, once I get that up an running. The first reading assignment (Becker’s Deep Listeners, pp: 1-10; 25-44) is listed under the “Schedule of Classes.” Please email me if you have any questions.


prof. kg

Music and Religious Ecstasy


Class Meetings:

Mondays and Thursdays


CFA 212


Kariann Goldschmitt

CFA 219

(941) 487-4287

Office Hours:

Mondays and Thursdays: 3-5PM

Required Texts:

Becker, Judith. Deep Listeners: Music, Emotion, and Trancing. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. 2004. ISBN: 978-0253216724.

Beck, Guy. Sacred Sound: Experience Music in World Religions. Waterloo, Ont: Wilfred Laurier University Press. 2006. ISBN: 978-0889204218.

Murrell, Nathanial Samuel. Afro-Caribbean Religions: An Introduction to their Historical, Cultural, and Sacred Traditions. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 2009. ISBN: 9781439901755.

Recommended Text:

Crocker, Richard. An Introduction to Gregorian Chant. New Haven: Yale University Press. 2000. ISBN: 978-0300083101.

Course Description:

Throughout history, one of humanity’s most common uses of music has been in the service of spiritual contemplation, mysticism, and religious ecstasy. In this course we will examine trajectories of music and ecstasy in monotheistic religions from Europe, Asia, and the Americas, focusing on how people have used music in the service of attaining “oneness” with the divine. For the first unit, we will focus on Christian sacred music, drawing from Western Music History from the 10th century to the present including examples from the last 100 years such as gospel and Contemporary Christian Music. In the second unit, we will shift our focus to the music of Sufi muslims in three different parts of the world: Egypt, Pakistan, and the United States and how music and movement work together to bring about mystic oneness with divinity. For the third unit, we will cover the use of music and dance in Jewish traditions, such as klezmer, chant, and folk music in Jewish religious ritual and community building. In the final unit, we will consider the use of music in trance and possession in religions that map aspects of West African religions on Catholic saints, such as Santería in Cuba and Vodou in Haiti. No previous knowledge of music is required for this class.

Class objectives include:

  • increasing basic understanding of the relationship of music and religion;
  • strengthening critical analysis tools of reading and listening skills;
  • further developing one’s ability to produce clear, potent arguments about the music and religion through brief response papers.
  • understanding the diversity of musical practices as related to different religions;
  • exploring the connections between religious and secular musical practices in popular culture and in day-to-day life.

Course Expectations and Evaluation:

  • Student success in the course will be evaluated based on in-class participation and attendance, brief response papers, listening quizzes, and one medium-length paper.
  • For in-class participation, students are expected to do all reading for the course before class and have questions and comments prepared before class convenes. The easiest way to succeed is to take note of questions that arise as you engage with course materials and bring those concerns to class meetings.
  • Students are expected to keep up with the listening on a regular basis. The musical examples for this course will be available through links on the course website (available at <<>> under “Audio examples”), often in the form of streaming audio. Be sure to have Quicktime installed and use Firefox as your browser for best results.
  • All students with documented disabilities will be given special dispensations if they so require them. Please notify me during the first sessions of class.
  • I am happy to answer questions and chat with you about your thoughts and ideas about this class. Please feel free to visit me during Office Hours. I am also available by appointment via email, chat or phone and I maintain an open door policy with all students.


All required listening will be available through newdle divided by unit. I will also maintain a separate and active list of items I consider to be fair game for quizzes.


  1. For each unit, students will be required to write a brief response (approx. 3 pages) demonstrating critical engagement with the religious and musical practices under examination. Although the professor will offer a final deadline for each response, students are more than welcome to complete these early.
  2. For the final paper, each student will choose one religious musical tradition/repertoire to engage with on a deeper and more critical level, and write about it in a medium-length research paper (approx. 7 pages). Papers should include a thesis, a minimum of 5 scholarly sources in the bibliography, and an engagement with the music. I will discuss these more at length as the semester progresses.
  3. All required reading and listening assignments will be evaluated based on student participation in classes and the potency of arguments in regular response papers.

This syllabus is subject to change as the semester progresses.

Schedule of Class Meetings (13 Weeks)

Unit 1: Music and Christianity

Music | Religion | Ecstasy

Wk 1: August 22 | Introduction to Music, Trance, and Religion

Deep Listeners: 1-10; 25-44.

Wk 1: August 25 | Psychological and Musical Qualities of Trance

Deep Listeners: 45-68; 108-130.

OPTIONAL: Durkheim, Émile. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. 153-182.

OPTIONAL: Maslow, Abraham. Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences. 1-39.

Wk 2: August 29 | Intro to Christianity and Music

Sacred Sound: 61-88.

Crocker, Richard. “Chant, Chanting, and Gregorian Chant.”

OPTIONAL: Crocker, Richard. “Gregorian Chant in the Roman Rite.”

Wk 2: September 1 | The Early Church and Music: Gregorian Chant

Crocker, Richard.  “Singing the Praises in the Early Christian Church” and “Monastic Chant in Time and Eternity.”

OPTIONAL: other chapters in Crocker.

Wk 3: September 5 | Controversy in Early Church Music , Ecstasy and Polyphony: Hildegard von Bingen, Perotin

Weiss/Taruskin: “The Church Fathers on Psalmody and on the Dangers of Unholy Music,” 25-28; “Before Notation,” “Embellishing the Liturgy,” and “Musical Notation and Its Consequences,” 41-53; “The Emergence of Polyphony,” 59-62.

Wk 3: September 8 | Renaissance and Protestant Reformation

Weiss/Taruskin: “The Life of the Church Musician,”124-128.

Barzun, Jacques. From Dawn to Decadence, 3-11; 26-31; 34-36.

Music of Political Upheaval

Wk 4: September 12 | English Reformation and Music in the Colonies

Kerman, Joseph. “Music and Politics: The Case of William Byrd (1540-1623),”

Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 144/3 (Sep., 2000), pp. 275-287.

Deep Listeners: 87-100.

Wk 4: September 15 | Devotional Music in the Late Renaissance and the Enlightenment

Rambuss, Richard. Closet Devotions (Durham and London: Duke University Press,

1998), introduction pp. 1-10.

Deep Listeners: 13-24

Wk 5: September 19 Music and the N. American Black Church

Small, Christopher. “Rituals for Survival I: An Extatic Delight in Psalmody.” Music of the Common Tongue: Survival and Celebration in African American Music. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press. 1987.

Ramsey, Guthrie P. “‘Santa Claus Ain’t Got Nothing On This!’: Hip-Hop Hybridity and the Black Church Muse.” Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2003.

Wk 5: September 22 | Pentecostalism, Evangelism, and CCM

Howard, Jay R. and John M. Streck. “The Splintered Art World of Contemporary Christian Music.” Popular Music 15/1 (Jan., 1996): 37-53.

Morris, Mitchell. “Three Little Essays on Evanescence.” Musicological Identities: Essays in Honor of Susan McClary. Burlington, VT: Ashgate. 2008. 179-190.

Unit 2: Music and Sufi Islam

Wk 6: September 26 | Introduction to Music and Islam

Sacred Sound: 89-112

Marcus, Scott L. “The Call to Prayer: A Communal Endeavor.” Music in Egypt. New York: Oxford University Press. 2007.

Wk 6: September 29 | Qawwali in Pakistan

Qureshi, Regula. “The Background.” Sufi Music of India and Pakistan: Sound, Context, and Meaning in Qawwali. New York: Oxford University Press. 2006.

Wk 7: October 3 | Mawaliyyah in Syria

Shannon, Jonathan H. “Sultans of Spin: Syrian Sacred Music on the World Stage.” American Anthropologist 105 (2): 266-277.

Wk 7: October 7 | Madh in Egypt

Marcus, Scott. “Madh: A Genre of Sufi Religious Music.” Music in Egypt.

October 10 No Class for Fall Break

October 13 No Class for Fall Break

Wk 8: October 17 | Sufi Music in United States

Winnegar, Jessica. “The Humanity Game: Art, Islam, and the War on Terror.” Anthropological Quarterly 81.3 (2008): 651-681.

Unit 3: Music and Judaism

Wk 8: October 20 | Introduction to Music and Judaism

Sacred Sound: 88.

Wk 9: October 24 | Chant in Ashkenazi and Sephardic Judaism

Schleifer, E. “Current Trends of Liturgical Music in the Ashkenazi Synagogue.” World Of Music 37.1. (1995): 59-72.

Barnea, E. “Music and Cantillation in the Sephardi Synagogue.” Musical Performance 1.2 (1997): 65–79.

Wk 9: October 27 | Hasidic Niggunim

Koskoff, Ellen. “Performing the Past in Music” and “Performing the Modern in Music.” Music in Lubavitcher Life. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 2001. 105-119, 160-190.

Wk 10:  October 31 | Klezmer

Slobin, Mark. “Klezmer Music: An American Ethnic Genre.” Yearbook for Traditional Music 16 (1984): 34-41.

Wk 10:  November 3 | Reform Jewish Folk Music

Cohen, Judah. “’And the Youth Shall See Visions’: Songleading, Summer Camps, and Identity among Reform Jewish Teenagers.” Musical Childhoods and the Cultures of Youth. Edited by Susan Boynton and Roe Min-Kok. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press. 2006. 187-208.

Unit 4: Yoruban Religions in the Americas

Wk 11:  November 7 | Yoruban Religions and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Afro-Caribbean Religions: 13-36.

**OPTIONAL** Afro-Caribbean Religions: 37-56.

Wk 11:  November 10 | Class to be rescheduled: Hatian Vodou

Afro-Caribbean Religions: 55-91.

Wk 12:  November 14 | Cuban Santería

Afro-Caribbean Religions: 95-113.

Wk 12:  November 17 | Brazilian Candomblé

Afro-Caribbean Religions: 159-182.

Browning, Barbara. Samba: Resistance in Motion. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 1995. 35-73.

Wk 13:  November 21 | Brazilian Umbanda

Afro-Caribbean Religions: 183-201.

Wk 13:  November 24 | No class: Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wk 14:  November 28 | Yoruban Religious Ecstasy in American Popular Music