Music in New Worlds: Global Encounters in the Age of Discoveries, 1492–1800


Table of Contents

Course Information

Music in New Worlds: Global Encounters in the Age of Discoveries, 1492–1800
College Department of Music
University of Rochester
MUR 205 (CRN 85058), HIS 287 (CRN 86174), REL 267 (CRN 86088), MHS 281 (CRN 89500)
Fall 2018
4.0 (3.0 for MHS 281) credits
Prerequisites: None


Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:05 a.m.–12:20 p.m. RRLIB 416 (Robbins Library, 4th floor of Rush Rhees Library)

Instructor Information


Andrew A. Cashner, PhD
Assistant professor of music
Office: Dewey 1-318
(585) 275-4180
Office hours: Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to noon, or by appointment

Course Materials

  1. Richard Cullen Rath, How Early America Sounded (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003), ISBN 978-0-8014-7272-5, $24
  2. Geoffrey Baker, Imposing Harmony: Music and Society in Colonial Cuzco (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008), ISBN 978-0-8223-4160-4, $27
  3. David R. M. Irving, Colonial Counterpoint: Music in Early Modern Manila (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), ISBN 978-0-19-537826-9, $32
  4. Jesús A. Ramos-Kittrell, Playing in the Cathedral: Music, Race, and Status in New Spain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), ISBN 978-0-19-023681-6, $47
  5. Pen, pencil, notebook, folder (Use of electronic devices will not ordinarily be permitted in the classroom, and only pencils may be used when rare books are in the room)


  • Other readings and music will be made freely available online.
  • All course materials will be on reserve in the Art-Music Library at Rush Rhees Library.
  • You will need to bring any assigned reading to class in hard copy, so you will need to print out online texts.

Course Description

After 1492, Europeans and other peoples around the globe began to discover each other in new ways, and music played a vital role in their encounters. This course equips students to develop a global perspective on music in the early modern era. Through case studies in Latin America, New England, China, and Africa, students will gain insight into the ways people use music as an agent of political and religious power in processes of cultural exchange and conflict. The course examines how missionaries and colonial leaders mixed musical cultures to build new social structures; and how colonial subjects responded creatively, in collaboration or resistance, to shape hybrid identities. We will study musical practices from both sides of the encounters, including Chinese and Native American musics and exported European practices like religious choral music and popular dances. Meets in the Robbins Library for hands-on engagement with rare books and manuscripts. No prior musical knowledge is required.

Learning Goals and Objectives

This course provides you with an opportunity

  1. to develop a global perspective on music in the early modern era and understand the different ways that Europeans and non-Europeans interacted through music
  2. to understand how music works as an agent of political and religious power in processes of cultural encounter, exchange, and hybridization
  3. to build research skills with early modern books and other primary archival sources
  4. to develop a research project in which you
    • find and use high-quality primary and secondary sources in a responsible and critical way;
    • articulate a coherent and persuasive argument in professional-level writing; and
    • present the gist of your work in a clear and engaging oral presentation.


  1. Research paper
    • Proposal
    • Annotated bibliography
    • Draft
    • Final revision, after detailed feedback
  2. Presentation
    • With handout and bibliography
  3. Primary source project
  4. Weekly writing assignments


There are no exams in this course.


Task Value
Research paper 40 %
Task Value
Proposal 10 %
Annotated bibliography 20 %
Draft 30 %
Final 40 %
TOTAL 100 %
Presentation 20 %
Primary source project 20 %
Weekly writing assignments 20 %
TOTAL 100 %


Staying in Contact

Please check both the Blackboard site and your e-mail every day for announcements from this class. Make sure you have configured Blackboard to send announcements and site changes to your e-mail address, and make sure you have your university e-mail set up so that you can check it easily. You may contact me through my e-mail (listed at the beginning of the syllabus), and I will respond as soon as I can during normal business hours. Be advised that I may not be able to respond to e-mails on evenings, weekends, or holidays until the start of the next business day.

Official office hours are listed at the beginning of the syllabus. You do not need an appointment; please just drop by. If someone else is already there, just knock or say hello so I know you are waiting and I’ll make sure there is time for you. I am also available by appointment: e-mail me or ask me after class and we’ll find a time. I am here to help you and I want the opportunity to get to know you!

Coming to Class and Getting Involved

I will take attendance at every class. While there is no grade for attendance and participation, you will learn best if you come to every class and get involved as fully as you can in whatever we are doing in the classroom. That involvement starts before you come to class as you prepare each class session’s listening, reading, and writing assignments.

The music and reading for each class is listed below the title and date of the class session. You are expected listen to and read all of the assigned material before you come to class that day.

Keeping Focus

Unless I tell you otherwise, you may not use computers, phones, tablets, or other electronic devices in class.

Turning in Assignments

Please turn in your work on paper to the bin on my office door. Use a basic 12-point font, double spaced, with one-inch margins on all sides. Staple the pages together, and make sure they include your name and the name and date of the assignment. Unless you make arrangements with me in advance, which I must confirm in writing, I will only accept work in hard copy, not via e-mail.

Assignments are due on the date listed in the syllabus. Assignments turned in after that time will be considered late, and a penalty may be deducted from the grade. Unless you arrange an extension with me in advance, which I must confirm in writing, I will not accept assignments more than a week after the original due date.

I will only arrange makeups for quizzes or exams in exceptional circumstances such as a documented health or family emergency.

Building a Supportive Classroom Community

It is my goal to build a safe, welcoming, and encouraging classroom community for every student, and I invite you to join me in working toward that goal. I and my colleages in the Department of Music are fully committed to preventing any kind of harassment or discrimination. The following is an excerpt from the university’s official statement on this issue:

The University of Rochester seeks to provide a setting that respects the contributions of all the individuals composing its community, that encourages intellectual and personal development, and that promotes the free exchange of ideas.

To ensure nondiscrimination and equal opportunity, the University prohibits and will not engage in discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, military/veteran status, national origin, race, religion/creed, sex, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by law. The University also prohibits retaliation and will not retaliate against any person who makes a complaint of discrimination or harassment on the basis on a protected status or who provides information or otherwise participates in a investigation of such a complaint.

If you believe you have been discriminated against or harassed due to your protected status, you have several options for how to respond.

These options are listed on the university’s Equal Opportunity website.

Feedback for Improvement

There will be opportunities throughout the course for you to give feedback anonymously on your learning experience, in addition to the university’s student-evaluation process at the end of the semester. If you have any ideas for how this course could be improved, if you perceive any obstacles to your learning, or if you need any kind of accommodation to help your learning, please take advantage of these opportunities to let me know. Otherwise please feel free to speak to me or e-mail me directly and I will do the best I can to help you.

My supervisor is Prof. Honey Meconi, Chair of the Music Department.

University Policies

Accommodating Disabilities

Your success in this course is important to me, and every University of Rochester classroom respects and welcomes students of all backgrounds and abilities. I encourage you to talk with me about any concern or situation that affects your ability to complete your academic work successfully. If you require accommodations for a documented disability, or need to have a disability documented, please contact the Office of Disability Resources: 1-154 Dewey Hall,, (585) 275-9049.

Academic Integrity

All assignments and activities associeted with this course must be performed in accordance with the University of Rochester’s Academic Honesty Policy.

Academic honesty means avoiding anything that would unfairly advance your academic standing over that of your classmates, such as cheating on an exam or presenting someone else’s work as your own. Plagiarism includes any verbatim copying; unattributed, incorrectly attributed, false, or misleading citations; or unacknowledged help from others (e.g., having someone else write a paper for you).

Group assignments will include specific additional instructions about how to comply with the Academic Honesty Policy in your collaborative work. If you are not sure whether something counts as plagiarism or academic dishonesty, I can help you if you ask me about it before turning in the assignment.