World Music

World Music
Exploration of music making from a global perspective.
MUSIC
307
 Hours2.0 Credit, 2.0 Lecture, 0.0 Lab
 PrerequisitesMUSIC 194 & MUSIC 196 & MUSIC 198; Music major status; Music 201, 202 or equivalent.
 TaughtFall, Winter
Course Outcomes

Understanding of Non-Western Musical Practices

Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the methods of musical creativity in several non-Western cultures, including various approaches to melodic, rhythmic, timbral, and formal organization.


They will also be able to identify various musical instruments as well as the methods through which various cultures conceptualize and taxonomize instruments, and be able to show an understanding of how various modes of musical transmission (oral tradition, notation, media) affect musical practices over time.

Music, Values, and "Cross-Domain Mapping"

Students will articulate how a culture's values can be embodied and discerned within musical practices.


Students will learn how music's organizational principles (see the previous learning outcome) can be mapped onto various non-musical aspects of that culture. In other words, students will be able to observe and articulate how the way a music sounds relates to what that music means. Some areas of exploration related to this learning outcome could include:

  • musical practices in various cultures that project power and legitimacy within political contexts
  • musical practices in various cultures that reinforce social cohesion in a community context
  • musical practices in various cultures that convey reverence or worship in a religious context

In discussions, assignments, and essays, students will use this concept of "cross-domain mapping" to articulate the connection between sound and meaning in various musical contexts. They will also use this as a basis to for written self-reflection:

  • How does the music the students themselves use in personal, social, and religious contexts resonate with their personal, community, and religious beliefs and values?
  • How do LDS musical practices, for example, reflect, shape, and strengthen Mormon identity?

Ethnomusicology as a Path to Cultural Understanding

Students will be able to articulate and demonstrate how the discipline of ethnomusicology and the scholarly methods it entails foster cross-cultural awareness, understanding, and empathy.

Students will fulfill this objective by reading about the history and practices of ethnomusicology as an academic discipline, studying the methods and ethical considerations applied in ethnomusicological fieldwork, writing about their findings in assignments and exam essays, and completing a review of a scholarly monograph based on ethnomusicological fieldwork. Students will articulate in a written essay how the goals, methodologies, and ethical standards of the discipline of ethnomusicology align with the purposes and outcomes articulated in BYU's Global and Cultural Awareness Foundation Document.

Music and Global Change

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which music reflects and contributes to large-scale international and intercultural changes.

Students will examine the ways in which major changes such as colonial and postcolonial political shifts, international economic developments, new media technologies, shifting social norms, religious proselytizing, etc., affect and are affected by musical practices. Students will demonstrate an understanding of musical culture as a continual interplay of tradition, hybridization, retrenchment, and change, and will be able to draw on various specific musical case studies to reflect on the complex cultural issues globalism raises. These case studies could include such things as:

  • How various historical encounters, from the Silk Road to the Crusades to the World Fairs of the late 19th and 20th centuries, contributed to musical cross-pollination.
  • How a Colombian soap opera helped turn a little-known provincial folk music style into an international phenomenon.
  • How the advent of the recording industry in India dramatically changed the role of women in Indian classical music.
  • How a Tibetan folk musician living in the U.S. balances his sense of stewardship over his tradition with the desire to broaden his audience.
  • How members of the LDS Church throughout the world navigate the relationship between local traditional culture and shared LDS culture through the musical celebrations that precede temple dedications.
  • Etc.