MUS101: Introduction to World Music

Course Credits:
Course Hours Per Week:

Course Overview

This course is designed to increase students' awareness and knowledge about the diversity of music in an increasingly global society by introducing them to traditional and modern music in selected cultures. Students will develop listening skills, and learn and apply music-specific vocabulary and concepts to listening examples. They will also consider their own cultural worldview as a component of learning about and understanding unfamiliar musics and the cultures from which they derive. Students will learn about the types of cultural interactions that have occurred over time, and the impact of those interactions on music. In the process, students will increase their understanding of today's global society and their ability to be more receptive to unfamiliar cultural practices and ways of thinking.

The course content leads students through an introduction to selected non-western cultures, including:

  • The properties of musical sound, including pitch, melody, harmony, texture, timbre, dynamics, tempo, and form
  • The components of a music culture, including underlying belief systems, material culture (including instruments), contexts for music performance, cultural associations about music, transmission of music, and repertories of music
  • The role that personal worldview plays in encountering unfamiliar music cultures, including the potential pitfalls of ethnocentrism
  • Historical background, instruments, genres, and other aspects of both traditional and modern musics of Ghana, West Africa; Japan; and North India
  • Additional examples of cultural interaction and blending via syncretic types of Latin and African music
  • The impact of cross-cultural interaction on the development and evolution of music over time

Students have the option of taking this course or ART101.

Course Learning Objectives

  • Identify and explain the elements of a music culture.
  • Apply active listening skills to discern and describe features of musical works according to specific criteria.
  • Describe the development of music cultures over time, including the role of media (technology, communication, dissemination) and the mutual influences of Western and non-Western cultures.
  • Explain how understanding a culture through its music contributes to increased understanding of the global community.