COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester

Damascus Kafumbe

Associate Professor of Music

 work(802) 443-5578
 By appointment
 Mahaney Arts Center 305

Damascus Kafumbe is a performing ethnomusicologist, teacher, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, composer, and instrument technician from Uganda. He holds a B.A. in Music from Makerere University as well as an M.M. and Ph.D. in Musicology from Florida State University. Since joining the Middlebury music faculty in 2011, Professor Kafumbe has developed and taught several courses in ethnomusicology and world music, directed the Middlebury African Music and Dance Ensemble, and maintained the College’s Ugandan musical instrument collection.

Professor Kafumbe specializes in the musics of East Africa. His research interests span diverse fields, including African studies, ethnomusicology, performance, history, politics, ritual, and social organization. He has published articles, reviews, and interviews in African MusicEthnomusicologyWorld of Music, and Yearbook for Traditional Music. His music has been commissioned or published by Deer Pants Productions, Odd Freak Films, Endongo Records, and Sony BMG. His recent publications include Tuning the Kingdom: Kawuugulu Musical Performance, Politics, and Storytelling in Buganda (University of Rochester Press, 2018:

Professor Kafumbe is a recipient of multiple research grants from the Pabst Charitable Foundation of the Arts and a recent Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow. An active member of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM), the African Studies Association (ASA), and the African Theatre Association (AfTA), he currently serves on the SEM Council and as president of the Northeast Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology (NECSEM). 




Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1484 - World Musical Instruments      

World Musical Instruments
Every culture has musical instruments, and we admire musicians who play them well. Yet, musical instruments can tell us a lot more about a society if we have the tools to analyze their sounds, morphologies, functions, classifications, playing techniques, and scales or tuning systems. In this seminar we will develop critical skills for analyzing these elements through a selection of world musical instruments. We will also have the opportunity to construct musical instruments out of recycled materials. Course activities will include intensive reading, writing, discussions, research, oral presentations, and hands-on activities. No prior musical background is required. 3 hrs. sem. ART CMP CW

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1545 - African Musical Lifestyles      

African Musical Lifestyles
Musical practice in Africa varies from culture to culture, but Africans generally conceptualize music in ways that differ greatly from those in the West. In this seminar we will explore these variances through a wide range of activities, including music and dance performances, lecture demonstrations, group discussions, film screenings, reading and writing, as well as research and oral presentations. Stressing a sense of “music” as a verb rather than a noun, we will develop a fresh appreciation for and understanding of African musical practice as a way of life. No prior musical background is required. 3 hrs. sem. ART CMP CW SAF

Fall 2019

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MUSC 0134 - What in the World is Music?      

What in the World is Music?
In this course we will explore global musical cultures in order to better understand both those musical cultures and our own in relation to one another. The course has two goals: to introduce students to unfamiliar ways of listening to and thinking about different elements of music (including – but not limited to – rhythm, melody, timbre, texture, harmony, and form); and to develop skills for appreciating cultural significances of these elements. We will achieve these goals through readings, lectures, discussions, film screenings, listening sessions, workshops, concerts, and hands-on activities. 3 hrs. lect. ART CMP

Fall 2017, Spring 2020

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MUSC 0205 - Performance Lab      

Performance Lab
Credit can be conferred for performance in faculty-supervised ensembles: (see listing of "Ensembles" in the requirements section). One unit of credit to accrue over two semesters (spring then fall only). The appropriate supervising faculty will give grades, based on attendance and quality of performance. A student should inform the ensemble director of intent to sign up for this course before starting, and should actually register for MUSC 0205 only the SECOND of the two terms by adding it as a fifth course. MUSC 0205 does not fulfill any major course requirements and may not be taken more than once. (Approval required) ART

Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020

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MUSC 0235 - Music Ethnography      

Music Ethnography
In this course we will study various methods and techniques for conducting field research about musical phenomena. Students will learn how to design feasible research projects, document musical activities in human communities, analyze collected data, and present their findings. Class and out-of-class activities will include writing ethnographic notes, making audio/video recordings, conducting interviews, photography, writing research reports, and making oral presentations. Students may have the opportunity to do field research that will involve field equipment and editing software. Some background in reading or writing about music is recommended. ART SOC WTR

Winter 2018

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MUSC 0244 / DANC 0244 - African Music Dance & Perform.      

African Music and Dance Performance
This course will introduce students to various techniques of performing East African (primarily Ugandan) musical and dance traditions through regular rehearsals, culminating in an end-of-semester concert. As an ensemble, we will learn and master how to play and sing/dance to bow-harps, thumb-pianos, xylophones, tube-fiddles, bowl-lyres, gourd shakers, struck gourds, reed-box rattles, ankle bells, leg rattles, and various types of drums. Some background in performing music is recommended, but prior knowledge of performing African music and dance is not required. 3 hrs. lect./lab AAL ART SAF

Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

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MUSC 0334 - Music in World Cultures      

Music in World Cultures
In this course students will develop skills for analyzing a wide range of music styles and appreciating their social, economic, and political importance. We will explore selected case studies through readings, lectures, discussions, film screenings, listening sessions, workshops, concerts, and hands-on activities. (MUSC 0209 or MUSC 0261) 3 hrs. lect. AAL ART CMP

Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

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MUSC 0400 - Senior Seminar      

Topic is determined by the instructor - refer to section for the course description. ART

Fall 2020

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MUSC 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Admission by approval. Please consult published departmental guidelines and paragraph below.

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

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MUSC 0704 - Senior Work      

Senior Work
Senior work is not required of all music majors and joint majors. However, students interested in and eligible for departmental honors (see guideline above, in "Departmental Honors" section) may propose one or two-semester Senior Work projects. Projects may be in history, composition, theory, ethnomusicology, performance, or electronic music, and should culminate in a written presentation, a public performance, or a combination of the two. MUSC0704 does not count as a course toward fulfillment of the music major.

Project and budget proposals for Independent Study and Senior Work should be submitted by the previous April 1 for fall and winter term projects, and the previous October 15 for spring term projects. Budget proposals will not be considered after those dates. Project proposals will be considered after the deadline but are more likely not to be approved due to previous commitments of faculty advisors or other scheduling reasons.

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

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Program in International and Global Studies

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Middlebury College
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