The music of the Hu was chosen as the soundtrack to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order because it sounded otherworldly to Western audiences. In fact, the Hu draw on ancient musical traditions from Central Asia, one of the most culturally and musically diverse areas of the world. This course introduces students to a wide range of music practices, genres, and styles in historically nomadic and sedentary regions of Central Asia: throat-singing, sounds of shamanic and Sufi Islamic rituals, epic performance, narrative instrumental playing, oral poetry competitions, folk and art singing, Western-influenced classical and popular music genres (Central Asian repertoires of opera and symphony, Azerbaijani jazz, Uzbek estrada, Kazakh Q-pop and crossover music, Mongolian heavy metal and hip-hop). The roles and meanings of music and the status of musicians are discussed in relation to wider aspects of cultural and social life, the impact of Soviet culture policies, post-Soviet national revival and globalization. The course draws on extensive audiovisual materials and is open to students of all levels. No background in music or Central Asia is required.
The course audio/video resources are available here: https://www.musicofcentralasia.org/Tracks