Mapping Musical Cultures in Massachusetts

This first year seminar focuses on the folk musics of the United States and the ways that music, as a cultural and artistic expression, articulates a community’s values, identity, heritage, and worldview. We explore the music of various immigrant cultures, such as the Scotch-Irish in Southern Appalachia, the Germans in the upper Midwest, the Cajuns and Creoles in Louisiana, and the Caribbean nations people in urban centers.

Students connect the broader issues of folk music in the United States to the local experience by designing and collaborating on a project to document the musical cultures of Massachusetts, relating the cultural practices to the immigration patterns of the region. Their work is presented here as a set of websites they have developed that tell the stories about the musical life of towns around the Commonwealth. It dovetails with the folklore work done at the state level, which can be viewed at Keepers of Tradition.

Map source:

Spring 2017

Fall 2016

Fall 2015