Arts and culture

An Introduction to World Music and Ethnomusicology

World Music emerged as a distinct genre in the 1980s due to Western record companies’ promotion of foreign music. Although its existence as an industry was controversial, some considered the label offensive and many institutions replaced it with global music instead.

An Introduction to World Music

World music is a vast collection of cultures with various artistic styles and influences. In this course, we’ll examine the music of Asia, Africa, Europe and America through recordings, films, readings, concerts and hands-on experience.

Music Video: Genre and Space

Settings in music videos not only depict the song’s sonic characteristics, but they can also create an atmosphere. A Chinese guzheng or Indian raga video might be set under a sunny sky or amid desert landscape. Such settings help make the soundworld of these instruments and singers familiar so viewers can more readily relate to them.

Additionally, music videos often reflect the cultural context of the performance. When a band from Japan plays Hawaiian slide guitar, they symbolize an age-old transpacific musical tradition that is increasingly becoming recognized in America. Or consider an Indian fusion artist who incorporates sounds of the Middle East into his latest recording.

An Introduction to Ethnomusicology

Ethnomusicology provides an interdisciplinary perspective on music research. It draws from disciplines such as history of music, anthropology, sociology and cultural studies to investigate how difference shapes music. This course delves into ethical, political and aesthetic debates surrounding world music since its inception in the 1980s.

This course will examine the relationship between music and its social and cultural contexts. It also looks at how different musical genres function as expressions of distinct social identities, considering their implications for contemporary society.

This course will examine the broader implications of World Music as a new musical genre, such as its role in maintaining identity, social cohesion and national identity. In particular, it will emphasize the aesthetic and ideological value of difference within World Music.

At the start of this course, our focus was mainly on recognizing, describing and analyzing differences in musical styles, instruments, performances and contexts. But as it has progressed, we have also begun to examine how music is situated within cultural and linguistic frameworks.

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Music around the world is characterised by a wide range of timbres, instruments and styles. This has given rise to various aesthetic practices; some rooted in traditional acoustic instruments while others draw from modern music industry influences. This course will examine how these practices are affected by culture, gender equality, social contexts and technology.

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