MUS1011 : Understanding World Music

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
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, will be introduced.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture142:0028:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion741:0074:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching42:008:00Seminars-Guided listening; research discussions; screenings; opportunities for follow-up discussions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Seminars (Review Sessions)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study188:0088:00N/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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A60Unseen
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A401,500-2,000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

• The combination of essays and exam will provide opportunities to apply critical and analytical strategies within different contexts.
• The final essay enables students to apply concepts examined in the course to an original research topic, reflecting, on a grand scale, their understanding of those concepts.
• The exam (unseen) tests general comprehension and familiarity with materials covered in the course

Reading Lists