World Music

Fall 2003

MUSIC 171  World Music

Prof. Madelyn Byrne

Fall 2003


Office:  D-3L, Ext. 2809

Office Hours:  Wednesday 2:30 – 6:00                       

                         Thursday 11:30 – 1:00






Concert reports – 20%

Quizzes – 20%

Group work – 10%

MT – 25%

FE – 25%


A survey of world music including that of the North American Indian, Africa, African American, Latin America, Mexico, Japan, India, Indonesia, the Middle East and China, with emphasis on understanding the cultural background, instruments, musical characteristics and the impact of world music on 20th and 21st century culture.



Upon completion of course student will be able to:


1. Identify the music and its importance in the belief systems, the rituals, the work songs, as well as entertainment music in each of the specific cultures prominent in the U.S. such as   African American, Native American, Asian-American (Japan, China, and Indonesia), and Latino.

2. Compare the social and artistic position of women and men in the composition and performance of music of various cultures as pertains to their ritual, work, and child-rearing, as well as their contribution to the music which has as its goal artistic expression for its own sake.

3. Identify in each musical culture that music which reflects class difference, social concern, political protest and religious fervor as well as that music which is written specifically for dance and entertainment.

4. Explain music as a cultural phenomenon.

5. Characterize the significance of music in religion and in the integration of society.

6.   Identify the traditional meanings of music in each culture, what its powers are, and how it relates to other aspects of life.

7.   Deduce some aspects of each culture's view of the world as seen through each music.

8.   Define the nature of musical sound from a holistic picture of musical life and musical culture.

9.   Identify musical instruments and specific characteristic of each music.

10.  Identify each musical culture in its geographical setting.

11. Compare and contrast musical cultures as they exist in the 20th and 21st centuries.

12. Contrast the specific worldview of Euro centrism with a variety of worldviews about music.






This course will survey the music of several cultures around the world and will include the philosophy upon which each musical culture has emerged, the instruments developed, and general technical aspects of each musical theory.  Each section will be based upon an opening philosophical précis, which includes those aspects, which all cultures have in common.


I.          Introduction

            A. Definition, purpose and importance of world music studies;                                

            B. Basic assumptions underlying our understanding of musical cultures;     

            C. Pre-judgment in a Euro centric society;

            D. Universal elements pervading all musical cultures;

            E. Why different cultures have different kinds of music;

            F. Meaning of ethnomusicology;

            G. The world music opportunities in San Diego Country.


II.        The following musical cultures will be studied throughout the semester:

            A. North American Indian

            B. Sub-Saharan Africa

            C. African-American 

            D. India

            E. China 

            F. Indonesia

            G. Japan 

            H. Latin America

            I.  Mexico

            J. Middle East

            K. Cross cultural music


III.       The following considerations will be addressed during the study of each  

            musical culture:

            A. Historical significance

            B. Development of instruments

            C. Specific musical traditions of each culture

            D. The religious and/or philosophical and social basis out of which each music 

            specifically evolves including music for ritual, dance, work, and child rearing.

            E. The music that expresses class difference, social concern, political protest

            and religious fervor.

            F. The significance of women and/or men in musical composition and


            G. The importance of music in dance and poetry for its own sake;

            H. The impact of each world music tradition or contemporary society through the

            musical poetic and social attitudes it expresses, through its immediate influence  

            upon changing rituals in our society and in commercial popular and/or classical


     I. The theoretical aspects of each music which can be understood by non-


            J. The identification of unique musical characteristics in each culture through the    

            listening of music.


IV.       During the last two weeks of the class, a discussion will evolve around the similarities and differences of world cultures with the traditional European classical culture.




Tilton, Jeff Todd. World of Music:  An Introduction to the Music of the World's Peoples. 3rd edition.  New York: Schirmer Books, 1996.




A 3-CD set comes with the text and includes several pieces of music for each chapter.  Students must listen to this music and read the appropriate pages about each piece in the text.




At the end of each chapter in the text additional reading, listening and video viewing is suggested.  Students are encouraged to pursue additional study from this list on some aspect of the music they are particularly interested in.




Students are required to do the following:

1.      Take notes on their text and lectures in class;

2.      Write a two-page report on each of three (3) concerts attended throughout the semester; at least one of these concerts must involve African American, Native American, or Latino music.

3.      Answer in paragraph form approximately fifteen questions on every test given throughout the semester.

4.      Develop in outline form a chart comparing the music cultures studied throughout the semester.  This chart outline will        include for each culture the significant historical dates and events; instruments; types of rhythms and scales used; the philosophical and/or religious background, and social settings and rituals out of which music evolves; and the significance of gender in musical composition and performance.







Students are expected to spend a minimum of three hours per unit per week in class and on outside assignment, prorated for short-term classes.


1.      Read and take notes on assigned readings in the text;

2.      Listen to the assigned taped musical examples each week and read the appropriate section in the text which explains the technical aspects of the music as well as the place of each piece of music within the culture (as ritual, work song, child rearing song, dance and entertainment).

3.      Attend three different concerts of world music, one of which must be from either the African American, Native American, or   Latino music culture.  Write a two page report on each             concert which should include the name of the person or group, the types of instruments used, the form and/or social settings of the songs sung or instrumental music played, the content of the lyrics (if possible), whether a narrator or          program attempted to place each piece performed in its cultural or historical settings, and an evaluation of whether the music itself showed the influences of its own culture by way or religious and/or philosophical beliefs, social rituals or work ethics, or child rearing attitudes.  In a final paragraph students will express their opinions as to whether they liked or disliked the concert and why.

4.  There will be group presentations at the end of the semester.  There will be some time allotted in class to work on these.



8/25 Introduction/ Chapter One

The Music-Culture as a World of Music

Assignment:  Read Chapters One and Three


9/1 Labor Day.  NO CLASS


9/8  The Music of Africa/Ewe,…

Assignment:  Read Chapter Four


9/15 North America/Black America

Assignment:  Read Chapter Six



9/22 India/South India

Assignment:  Read Chapter Two


9/29 North America/Native America


10/6 Review for Midterm




Assignment:  Read  Handout on the Music of China



10/20 The Music of China

Assignment:  Read Chapter Seven


10/27 Asia/Indonesia

Assignment:  Read Chapter Eight


11/3 East Asia/Japan

Assignment:  Read Chapter Nine



11/10 – Veterans Day.  NO CLASS


11/17 Latin America/Ecuador

Assignment:  Read Handout on Celtic Music


11/24  Celtic Music

Assignment:  Work on class presentations



12/1  Class Presentations


12/8  Review for Final Exam