COVID-19: Essential Information

Damascus Kafumbe

Associate Professor of Music

 work(802) 443-5578
 Fall 2021: Tue. 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. & Thur. 12:00-1:00 p.m., or by appointment
 Mahaney Arts Center 305

Dr. Damascus Kafumbe holds a B.M. from Makerere University and an M.M. and Ph.D. in Musicology from Florida State University. He is currently an Associate Professor of Music at Middlebury College, where he teaches courses in ethnomusicology, global musics, and performance. He also directs Middlebury’s African music and dance ensemble and Afropop band, maintains the College’s Ugandan musical instrument collection, and serves on the Faculty Strategy Committee. 

As a musicologist and ethnomusicologist, Professor Kafumbe’s research focuses on the music traditions and cultures of East Africa. However, his interests span diverse fields, including African studies, ethnomusicology, performance, history, philosophy, politics, ritual, spirituality, and social organization. Professor Kafumbe’s research has appeared in African MusicEthnomusicologyWorld of Music, and Yearbook for Traditional music. His book, Tuning the Kingdom: Kawuugulu Musical Performance, Politics, and Storytelling in Buganda (University of Rochester Press, 2018: received an Honorable Mention for the 2019 Ogot Book Prize of the African Studies Association. The book also won the 2020 Kwabena NketiaBook Prize of the African and African Diasporic Music Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology. 

His two forthcoming book projects—Royalist Musical Intellectuals: Performance, Mutuality, and Kingship in Twentieth-Century Buganda and Recasting the King’s Song in the State: Royalist Music, Reception, and National Politics in Twenty-First Century Uganda—are under review.  

Professor Kafumbe is also a multi-instrumentalist, dancer, composer, recording artist, producer, instrument technician, and filmmaker. He recently published a documentary film titled Drum Making as a Way of Life in Southern Uganda (Alexander Street Press, 2020): His latest music albums include Nsomesa Okwagala/Teach Me to Love (Bandcamp and CD Baby, 2018), Nsomesa Okwagala/Teach Me to Love Remixes (Bandcamp and CD Baby, 2018), and Together in Difference: Recasting Ugandan Soundscapes (Bandcamp and CD Baby, 2020):



Course List: 

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

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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IGST 0703 - LAS Senior Thesis      

Latin American Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Fall 2021

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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, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

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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, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

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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 0236 / BLST 0236 - African Soundscapes      

African Soundscapes
This course will introduce students to musical cultures and practices from the African continent with a focus on particular regional styles. Through readings, lectures, discussions, film screenings, listening sessions, concerts, and hands-on activities, we will develop skills for analyzing and appreciating the diversity of African musical practices and their social, economic, and political value in traditional and contemporary contexts. Some background in music may be necessary. 3 hrs. lect. AAL ART SAF

Fall 2020

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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 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

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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 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

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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 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

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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 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

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Department of Music

Mahaney Center for the Arts
72 Porter Field Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753