Thinking through Music and the Arts


Immersion in the Duke departments and programs in music and the arts is an important backdrop for this new Focus cluster that brings artists and musicians to the classroom, as well as taking students to performances in music, theatre, film, and visual arts.  The opportunity to combine research, writing and performance will allow students to begin their Duke career in a robust and profound fashion.  Courses include lectures in global musical traditions, musical & artistic identities and entrepreneurship, conducting, ethnomusicology, instrumentation, composition, choreography, fine arts from historical and contemporary perspectives, theatre, documentary studies and film, and dance.  The IDC seminar will include integrated dinner discussion and participation in events hosted by Duke Performances. 


Music 190FS/Art History 190FS/Cultural Anthropology 190FS/Documentary Studies 190FS - Knowing through Music and the Arts (ALP, CCI)

John Brown

John Brown, Vice Provost for the Arts; Professor of the Practice of Music

Introduction to fundamental concepts and approaches to the study of music, theatre, dance, documentary film studies, art history, creative writing and performance.  Students will have the opportunity to do original research in their field of choice, while also working with a group of Duke and Triangle faculty from across different areas of the Arts at Duke.

Music 191FS/Neuroscience 115FS - Music, Meanings, and the Brain (NS, CCI)

Yana Lowry
Edna Andrews

Yana Lowry, Assistant Director, FOCUS Program

Edna Andrews, Nancy & Jeffrey Marcus Distinguished Professor; Professor of Linguistics and Cultural Anthropology; Chair of Linguistics Program; Faculty Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

The search for meanings in musical works occupies a central theme in music studies. The composer’s intentions, social and political circumstances, and the score itself are all part of the broader search for meaning and level of impact of a given work for individuals and cultures at large. Drawing from the latest research in neuroscience, musicology, linguistics and semiotics, this course seeks to understand how musical meanings are constructed, as well as how interpretations of artistic works are negotiated and made by naive listeners and scholars.