Primarily for courses in American music, popular music, or rock music; and also appropriate for courses in ethnic studies.
Through a blended historical, ethnic, and musical approach, with a strong contemporary focus and the inclusion of a wide variety of musical styles from American society's broad ethnic groups, this text meets the needs of the new generation of faculty and students by more accurately reflecting the diverse musical traditions of the United States.
Elizabeth Barkley wrote this book to meet the needs of today’s more diverse student population. Returning to the classroom after nine years as an academic Dean, she was aware of the student demographic changes, but unprepared for the pedagogical implications of those changes. As she struggled to engage her students in a traditional music survey course, they looked bored and apathetic and it was then that she knew she had to find a better way. As a result, she created a new course called The Musics of Multicultural America, based on her analysis that an important characteristic that seemed to unify her students was “Americanness.” Working with UC Berkeley’s Center for the Study of American Cultures, she developed a course that traced a variety of contemporary musics such as rock ‘n’ roll, salsa, gospel, blues, jazz, Cajun, zydeco, and Tejano from their roots in the music traditions of immigrant groups to their hybridization and development into uniquely new American musics. Soon her classes were filled with enthusiastic students who had enrolled on the recommendation of former students, friends and counselors. The traditional survey course had averaged anywhere from 40 to 60 students per year; in 2005-06, the capped annual enrollment was at 1,250. This textbook is the result of her work developing materials for that course.