The Vernacular Music Center at Texas Tech University

The Vernacular Music Center is a center for research, teaching and advocacy in the realm of the world's oral-tradition and popular musics. We offer courses, workshops, concerts, and other sponsorship, and serve as liaison between the School of Music and a range of outside entities, including the Buddy Holly Symposium, the Caprock Celtic Association, the Fine Arts Academy of India, and the Texas Governors Music Office. VMC annual events include the Caprock Celtic Fall Fest and Caprock Celtic Christmas (the latter now in its sixth year). The Center is the chief sponsor of the Vernacular Music Center Scholarship, an annual, competitive scholarship awarded to School of Music students who are also practitioners of one or more traditional art form. The VMC also participates in the TTU Madrigal Dinners, the Caprock Early Music Spring Festival, the West Texas Native American Association Pow-wow, the Symposium in World Musics, and other annual events.

Mission:

The mission of the VMC is to provide a center for in-depth and comparative research, study, teaching and advocacy on behalf of the world's vernacular musics—their construction, history and role in defining cultural life in human communities—in all cultures and historical periods.

Activities:

The VMC:

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Offers graduate and undergraduate courses and ensembles, open to students in music, arts & humanities, social sciences, business, law, and international public policy. The VMC emphasizes “teaching across the curriculum”, drawing on the expertise of a faculty team from a range of disciplines;

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Offers a graduate minor in “Music and Cultural Studies,” especially recommended for arts administrators, specialists in entertainment and copyright law, sociologists and social workers, and those interested in international education;

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Sponsors a calendar of annual arts & cultural events (most notably the TTU Caprock Celtic Christmas);

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Administers the VMC Scholarship in Traditional Music, a competitive scholarship available to students in the School of Music with expertise in traditional music;

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Provides opportunities for interaction with visiting scholars and guest teachers;

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Serves as liaison and consultant for partners both within and beyond the State of Texas educational system, including learned societies, music archives, museums, public broadcasting, and private corporations;

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Publishes a website, an electronic newsletter, monographs, and occasional recordings;

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Serves as advocate for the study, appreciation, and support of vernacular musics in the academy and in the community at large.

A message from Dr Christopher Smith, director of the VMC

Visit a VMC gallery of images.

New! "The Celts in the Hills": VMC at TTU's Hill Country Campus, Summer 2008

An exciting new initiative is making it possible for students (undergraduate and graduate) to pay TTU tuition and receive college credit for studying Celtic music and culture with Dr Christopher Smith at Tech's beautiful Junction campus in the Texas Hill Country. See link 1 (html) and link 2 (MSWord) for more information.

Courses offered under VMC sponsorship

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HONS3304 Music, Folklore, and Tradition in Irish Cultural History
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Sample Syllabus

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MUEN3210/5106 Celtic Ensemble
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Sample Syllabus

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MUHL4300/5320 World Music
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Sample Syllabus

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MUHL4300/5320 Musics of the African Diaspora
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Sample Syllabus

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MUHL4300/5320 Topics in Ethnomusicology
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Sample Syllabus

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MUHL5300 Duke Ellington
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Sample Syllabus

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MUHL5321 American Music and Radical Politics
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Sample Syllabus

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MUHL5337 American Music
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Sample Syllabus

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MUHL4300/5320 Zappa, Ellington, Ives
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Sample Syllabus

MUBA: Bachelor of Arts in Traditional Music

The VMC is the institutional home of Texas Tech's innovative MUBA: the Bachelor of Arts Degree with concentration in Traditional Music. Undergraduate students desiring a degree in music but with a special interest in musical traditions of the world may elect for this Bachelor of Arts (as opposed to the School of Music's Bachelor of Music); in turn, MUBA students have a much greater degree of flexibility in selecting and combining courses from within and outside the School of Music to fulfill their curricula. For more information about the MUBA, contact VMC director Dr Christopher Smith. Find a checklist of MUBA requirements here.

The Vernacular Music Center Scholarship

 More information about this annually-awarded competitive scholarship here.

Partners

The VMC views partnership with other arts and cultural organizations as an important part of its mission. Partnering organizations have included the Buddy Holly Center and Symposium, National Cowboy Symposium, Fine Arts Academy of India, public television station KTXT, public radio station KOHM, the Caprock Early Music Association, the High Plains Irish Dancers, the TTU International Cultural Center, the TTU Steel Drum Band, the West Texas Native American Organization, the Lubbock Arts Alliance,