World Musical Instruments | Newberry

World Musical Instruments

Led by Brian Oberlander. Four sessions.
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Four sessions. Tuesdays, November 9- December 7th. Class will not meet on November 23



For the Fall 2021 term, we’re offering a mix of virtual and in-person classes. Although we are still primarily virtual, you will find a smaller selection of in-person seminars in the schedule. For more information about the Newberry’s virtual seminars, including a Zoom tutorial, please see our Virtual Seminars FAQ page. Registration opens on September 1st at 9am (Central time). Registration will take place through our online platform, Learning Stream.

Seminar Description

Explore the sound, construction, and social significance of musical instruments in this global survey: from the bone flutes of the Upper Paleolithic to Tutankhamun’s trumpets, we examine musical instruments as archaeological artifacts. From cane harvested in southern France to picks fashioned from eagle quills and tortoiseshells, we consider their material and ecological dimensions as well. The mbira of Zimbabwe, associated with healing and spirit possession, keys us into their symbolic significance. We conclude by following the violin and the lute, iconic European instruments, into Morocco, South India, and the Middle East: a global musical journey that attunes us to histories of trade, colonialism, and globalization.

Four sessions. Registration – $170

Brian Oberlander holds a PhD in Musicology from Northwestern University. He has taught courses in Music History at Northwestern, National Louis University, Columbia College Chicago, and the Newberry.

Materials List


  • Instructor Distributed Materials

Cost and Registration Information 

Registration Information

Registration opens at 9 am (CST) on Wednesday, September 1st . Newberry Associates members at the Literati level and above will have access to early registration beginning August 25th at 10am. Learn more about membership benefits and becoming a Newberry Associate.

Please note: The Newberry is moving to a new registration system called Learning Stream. This will simplify the registration process for participants, instructors, and staff. For more information about registration, including a guide to online registration, see our Registration Information page. Questions? Please contact seminars program staff via email at

We offer a 10% discount to members, seniors, and students.

This seminar is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about registering for a seminar, program policies, or teaching a seminar.