Music Cultures of the World

Course Number: MUS 108
Transcript Title: Music Cultures of the World
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: June 7, 2017
Total Credits: 3
Lecture Hours: 30
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: Yes
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0

Prerequisite / Concurrent

Course Description

Examines musical cultures throughout the world with attention to cultural contexts and musical styles, including but not limited to Africa, the Americas, Asia, Near East, Europe and the South Pacific. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Overcome ethnocentrism through awareness about diverse peoples’cultural communities and traditions. Use the social, political, and cultural contexts for different musical practices to gain a better awareness.
  2. Relate music to history, society, culture, and the individual while incorporating intellectual concepts, material resources and listening skills to appreciate and analyze diverse music from a global intercultural perspective.
  3. Understand the relationship of music to history, society, culture, and the individual while learning about intellectual concepts, material resources and listening skills necessary to appreciate and analyze diverse music from a global intercultural perspective.
  4. Experience music "dynamically" by appreciating the uniqueness and value of each culture and its music through particular cultural moments, origins, precedents and potential influence upon other forms of music.
  5. Appreciate the artistic, social, historical, and cultural contexts of world music through observation and critique to become an informed listener.
  6. Generalize course content to other cultural expressions (including but not limited to music and genres not covered in the course) so that one can understand and value a broad spectrum of cultural expressions within diverse cultural settings.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

In-depth 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)


4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

At the beginning of the course, the instructor will detail the methods used to evaluate student progress and the criteria for assigning a course grade. The methods may include one or more of the following tools: examinations, quizzes, listening assignments, research papers, class participation, and concert reports.

Course Activities and Design

Class lectures may be supported by digital geographic imagery, recorded examples of assigned topics, video documentary, in class live performance with Q&A sessions. Reference materials, texts and recordings are available in the library for individual study.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Melody
  • Harmony
  • Rhythm
  • Form
  • Timbre
  • Improvisation
  • Music of North America/Native Americans
  • Music of Africa
  • Music of Black Americans
  • Music of Central/Middle East
  • Music of India
  • Music of Asia/Indonesia
  • Music of East Asia/Japan
  • Music of Latin America
  • Music of Other Ethnic Cultures


The following competencies are expected to be achieved to successfully meet the minimum requirement ("C" or "Pass") of the course.

  • Define the musical terms that apply to the basic elements of world music
  • Identify aurally the six basic elements of music
  • Identify aurally the listening examples for each culture presented in class.
  • Apply musical understanding when writing musical reviews of performances.
  • Complete basic research on the music and culture of one specific group
  • Achieve the ability to conduct simple musical formal analysis
  • Distinguish families of musical instrument from one another
  • Sharpen general aural abilities within the basic elements of music