Fall 2024: European, African, and Asian Adventure

MU 132 Exploring World Music [CRN 70736]

Overview of Course

This course investigates global aspects of music and its meaning with connections to the environment, sound, and world cultures. It will focus traditional and contemporary music in each region and port-of-call on our journey, providing a unique opportunity to study music firsthand. The course will begin with a brief tutorial on basic music skills from a western perspective (rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre, texture, improvisation, etc.) as a way to inform the critical listening that we will practice. The course will then explore and contrast the sounds and structures of the various musical styles and cultures we encounter, focusing not only on the sound of different musics, but also on their aesthetic foundations, cross-cultural similarities, relation to social and cultural contexts, rituals, values, historical development, and cross-cultural interactions and influences. We will also examine the development of global styles from traditional to popular, as global influences and internal factors affect the boundaries of style and cause worldwide hybridizations.

Assignments and activities include reading scholarly publications, listening to ethnographic recordings, viewing ethnographic video recordings, playing instruments, singing, and concert attendance of performances of world music. Additionally, the course will include written assignments, field assignments, and focused class discussion. Through these exercises, students should acquire a fundamental knowledge of social contexts, values, practices, aesthetics, styles, occasions, genres, and traditions as they relate to musical creativity for the people of these regions. Students also develop a basic ethnomusicological vocabulary for the analysis of form, melody and performance techniques, and the study of instruments.