Dan Kruse is a familiar voice at Arizona Public Media, serving as the local host of All Things Considered. Kruse is also well known to the Arizona Senior Academy from prior presentations concerning, among other subjects, the history of rock and roll, the mysteries of ethnomusicology, and his fascination and affection for the snare drum. On Thursday (May 7) at 11:30 a.m. he will examine the qualities of music which seem to cross cultural lines in a program, entitled “Musical Universals.”
This will be the first in a series of Arizona Senior Academy programs dealing with “Ethnomusicology: Music in a Cultural Context.”
Kruse recalls from childhood watching television with his parents and seeing the great Louis Armstrong performing for people from distant lands, like Africa, none of whom spoke English. Audiences responded enthusiastically to the music with dancing, clapping and singing. Indeed it seemed there were aspects of music that cross borders and cultures.
Kruse will explore these aspects through the study of musical instruments, how they are made and the similarity of sounds they create. He will look at the similar roles music plays in supporting social and cultural activities regardless of geography, language, and environment. Finally he will look at the qualities of music itself: melodies, rhythms, harmonies, textures, and structures.
Do listeners from primitive cultures experience similar feelings as listeners from sophisticated western cultures when hearing similar qualities? He will combine audio and video recordings from diverse lands and cultures and discuss the writings and observations of well-known musical researches.
Written by Marcia Reinagel, Academy Village Volunteer