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MUS1011 : Understanding World Music

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Nanette De Jong
  • Lecturer: Professor David Clarke, Dr Richard Elliott
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


• To provide an introduction to the academic study of world music at UG level
• To provide a platform for the study of cultural options in world music later in the UG degree programmes
• To enable a familiarisation with the basic characteristics of a selection of musical styles and systems across the globe
• To acquire knowledge and appreciation of the diverse forms of musical expressions found in varied parts of the globe.
• To acquire an understanding of the importance and relevance of considering music and music-making in relation to their cultural and social contexts
• To provoke thought and understanding of world music traditions, including their differences and similarities as well as how (and why) they arise and develop
• To instil appreciation regarding the ways music and musical participation provide mediums into understanding world cultures in general

Outline Of Syllabus

The general purpose of this course is to introduce students to the scholarly study of traditional, popular, and classical musics from around the world through in-depth reading and close listening to assigned sound recordings, available on Blackboard, and performance. Students will be introduced to a range of scholarly approaches to world music. This introduction to world music will be grounded by looking at a number of specific case studies (identified by geography) through wide ranging analytical frames and/or themes. These may include: Caribbean music and rhythmic codes of identity (to include the study of Big Drum ritual in Grenada, merengue in Dominican Republic, and reggae in Jamaica); Indonesia and the study of music and trance (to include the use of gamelan in Barong and Kris Dance); and Southern Africa and the ‘collaborative’ process in world music production (to include an examination of Paul Simon’s Graceland album and Zimbabwe’s chimurenga). The varied musical modal patterns, including maqam, raga, slendro and pelog, and rhythmic patterns, including clave, tala, djelifoli and gongan, likewise, may be introduced.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion741:0074:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials82:0016:00non-synchronous online lectures with accompanying lecture materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture32:006:00PiP. If necessary these can be converted back to non-synchronous online lecture materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching42:008:00PiP seminars - guided listening, discussions, screenings (can be converted to online if necessary)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops13:003:00PiP seminars (Review Sessions) (can be converted to online if necessary)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study193:0093:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

• Encourages students to engage with the materials individually as well as part of a group, within a variety of learning contexts

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1A602,000-2,500 words; written responses to weekly-set questions, submitted collectively as a portfolio during Semester 1 Assessment
Essay2A401500 - 2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

• The combination of essay and response posts will provide opportunities to apply critical and analytical strategies within different contexts.
• The final essay enables students to extend concepts examined in the course to a more comprehensive research project, reflecting, on a grander scale, their understanding of those concepts.
• The responsive posts tests general comprehension and familiarity with materials covered in the course

Reading Lists