Approved by Faculty Senate

University Studies Course Approval

Department or Program: Music
Course Number: 114
Semester Hours: 3
Frequency Offered: Yearly
Course Title: World Music

Catalog Description:

A survey of selected world music cultures. Cultures covered are chosen from Africa, India, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and the Americas. Designed for the general student as well as the Music Major or Minor. Offered yearly. Concert/Listening Lab Required.


A2C2 Approved Course: Yes

Requested Approval: Unity and Diversity -- Multicultural Perspectives

Contact person: Dr. Catherine Schmidt (243 PAC; 457-5256;


a. demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and belief as manifest in different cultures;

In World Music students study the music of four or five different culture areas, including the different ways in which cultures conceptualize and value music, how the music relates to the belief systems of the culture, and the aesthetic values of the culture. Background materials discussed and used in developing an understanding of the music culture include the basic religious values of the culture group, historical information, and general cultural values. Students write a research essay, examining the music of a culture group of their choice and how it relates to the thought, values, and beliefs of that particular group. Students also write response papers to the weekly concert labs, addressing any understanding of the culture they may have gained from the concert as well as discussing the music.

b. understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretations and expression of events, ideas and experiences;

In "World Music", students examine the influence of cultural values and norms on the interpretation of musical events. Students learn about the differing views of performance context, audience-performer relationships, and the functions of music in relationship to deeply embedded cultural norms and values. For example, something that might sound very much like a musical "performance" to western ears, might be conceived as just a part of daily work routine and not intended "for a listening audience" in the views of someone from another part of the world. A quiet audience in the west is considered respectful; in India, it might be a sign that the audience does not enjoy or appreciate the performance. In many culture groups in Africa, there is seldom a clear line between performer and audience--the music is participatory and reflects the general values for community interaction.


c. examine different cultures through their various expressions; and /or

"World Music" looks at several specific cultures through a thorough examination of the music and its cultural context. Music is an expressive form that clearly provides a window for developing an understanding of diverse cultures.


d. possess the skills necessary for interaction with someone from a different culture

or cultural group.

Cultural understanding and insight are prerequisites for positive interactions between people of diverse cultural backgrounds. The readings, research essay assignment, class discussions, videos, and live musical performance experiences of this course, focused on the music of diverse culture groups, will provide a basis for developing these prerequisites and will help prepare students for future interactions with individuals from the groups studied. Additional opportunities to develop the skills for interaction with people of a different culture occur due to the opportunities to ask questions during the concert lab portion of the class (the International Series at the Residential College on Thursday evenings) and to talk informally with the musicians following the performances.



9:00 – 9:50 am: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 159 PAC

Lab: 7:00 – 9:00 pm: Wednesday, North Lounge, Lourdes Hall (West Campus)


Instructor: Cathy Schmidt Phone: 457-5256


Office: PAC 243 E-Mail:


Course Description:

World music is a survey course designed to present a small selection of world music culture areas to both the music major/minor and the university studies student. Emphasis is placed on developing an understanding of the musical characteristics and traditions of diverse and representative world cultures, the field of ethnomusicology, the role of music in culture, and an appreciation for the rich variety of musical traditions and systems found in all parts of the world.


This course fulfills the requirements for the Multicultural Perspectives portion of the Unity and Diversity category for the University Studies Program by including learning activities that promote students’ abilities to:

A. demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifest in different cultures;

B. understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences;

C. examine different cultures through their various expressions; and

D. possess the skills necessary for interaction with someone from a different culture or cultural group.



Worlds of Music: An Introduction to the Music of the World's Peoples, 3rd. Edition. Jeff Todd Titon, General Editor. New York: Schirmer Books, 1996. (accompanying Compact Discs or Cassettes tapes required)

Note: Budget for Xeroxing of extra reading assignments at Maxwell Library.


Course Outcomes:

The student will be able to: bulletDescribe basic principles in the field of ethnomusicology. bulletDiscuss and describe different musical systems using appropriate vocabulary and concepts. (USP Outcome C) bulletDescribe several musical traditions from specific culture areas with regard to their cultural contexts, values, and belief systems as well as the influence cultural values have on musical expression. (USP Outcomes A, B, C and D) bulletListen to and analyze the basic musical characteristics of selections from several diverse culture areas. (USP Outcome C) bulletArticulate a global vision and outlook toward music phenomenon. (USP Outcomes A, B, and D) bulletArticulate an understanding of and appreciation for the integral link between music and culture. (USP Outcomes B and C) bulletDevelop an appreciation for the rich variety of musical expressions, traditions and systems found in the various culture groups in the world, their evolution and their history. (USP Outcomes A, B, C, and D)




bulletTextbook and other reading assignments. bulletListening assignments in the Media Center and on Text CDs/Cassettes. bulletTwo quizzes, including both listening and written components. bulletMidterm and Final Exams, including both listening and written components. bulletOne short research essay examining a selected world music genre or culture group. bulletLab attendance with written responses.

Evaluation Criteria:

Midterm and Final Exam: 100 points each Total Points: 400

Quizzes (2): 30 points each The grading scale is based on a percentage of total points:

Essay: 30 points 90% and above = A

Lab Responses: 70 points 80% - 89% = B

Lab Attendance: 30 points 70% - 79% = C

Class Attendance, Movie responses, 60% - 69% = D

and other in class activities: 10 points 59% and below = F

Attendance Policy

Students are required to attend class unless they have an excused absence due to illness, family emergency, or other reasonable circumstance. Excused absences require prior notice or communication regarding the circumstances as soon as possible after the missed class. I will take attendance on randomly selected days. Class attendance and in-class activity points will be awarded based on the number of unexcused absences recorded along with the quality of in-class movie reviews and other in-class activities.