Universiteit Leiden

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Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA)

MOOC – The Importance and Power of Music in Our Society

Launched in 2017, The Importance and Power of Music in Our Society is an open online course, taught by Professor of Auditory Culture Marcel Cobussen and music philosopher Hafez Ismaïli M’hamdi and accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

About the Course
Music plays an important role in our daily lives and is woven into the fabric of society. We listen to music while alone or in company, in a dance club or at home, through simple headphones or via high-end speakers, as background or as foreground, after we get up or before we go to bed. Music accompanies us when we are traveling, doing sports, shopping, working or relaxing. This omnipresence of music raises several questions: how does music affect our lives? What is the relation between the society we live in and the role, function, and position of music within that society? How is music influenced by and how does music influence social, political, economic, technological, and multiple other developments? 

Marcel Cobussen: “Music mirrors society just as society mirrors music.”

The Importance and Power of Music in Our Society provides a thorough introduction to the various ways in which music and society are connected through engaging lectures, insightful interviews, challenging assignments, interesting readings, and of course a lot of musical examples. The course aims at increasing your insights on where, how, and why we listen to music; how music contributes to shaping and deconstructing identity; how music forms, expresses, and subverts political ideas; and how music affects our thinking about ethics as well as our concrete moral norms and values.

Hafez Ismaïli M’hamdi: “Music is paint for the canvas that is society.”

Beyond the Course
The creation of this MOOC is just one of many results flowing from Marcel Cobussen’s  work at the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts. Besides books and articles, he has published an open access e-pub on musical improvisation and complexity theories; he is editor-in-chief of the online open access Journal of Sonic Studies; together with Edwin van der Heide he creates sound artworks in public urban spaces; and he is preparing a new e-pub and podcast on everyday sounds and sonic materialism.

A short introduction

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