MUSI1004 Introduction to the Musics of the World
Course Type: disciplinary elective for music majors/minors, free elective for others
Prerequisite: NIL
Instructor: Dr. Sheryl CHOW
Semester: Second Semester 2023/24
Time: 10:30am-12:20pm, Wednesday
Venue: CPD-LG1.22 Rehearsal Room
Approaching music as a product of individual, social, and historical reflection and creation, this course introduces a wide range of musical traditions from around the world. Music has always played an integral role in shaping human life and societies; it serves to negotiate identities, define communities, and foster cultural interactivities. To understand the diverse and dynamic ways in which music structures our lives, we shall examine musical genres of different communities in relation to their histories, aesthetics, political situations, and religious beliefs. Topics include Javanese gamelan and colonialism, Bob Marley’s Reggae and the “Back to Africa” movement, gay identity in Cuban music, the aesthetics of Japanese kawaii metal and The Antwoord, and the global and local dimensions of Hip Hop.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • demonstrate knowledge and appreciation of the diversity of musical cultures around the world;
  • identify and discuss selected musical traditions based on an understanding of their social, cultural, and historical contexts;
  • listen to music from an unfamiliar culture and be able to appreciate it on its own terms.
Attendance and Participation 10%
Tests 30%
Written Assignments (800-1000 words) 20%
Proposals for Final Paper (400-500 words) 10%
Final Paper (1200-1500 words) 30%
  • Introduction: From “World Music” to “Musics of the World”
  • Javanese Gamelan and Colonialism
  • African Music and Society
  • Ry Cooder’s “World Music” Albums
  • Qawwali: From Sufi Ritual to Commercial Pop
  • Hip Hop: Global Dimension and Local Meaning
  • Back to Africa with Bob Marley’s Reggae
  • Music and Protest: The Japanese Anti-Nuclear Movement
  • Rites and Politics in Colombia’s Black Pacific
  • Music and Gay Identity in Special Period Cuba
  • Kawaii Metal: A Localised Feminisation
  • Birenbaum Quintero, Michael. Rites, Rights, & Rhythms: A Genealogy of Musical Meaning in Colombia’s Black Pacific. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.
  • Bohlman, Philip V. World Music: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press
  • “Buena Vista Social Club.” PBS.org. Accessed July 4, 2021. http://www.pbs.org/buenavista/music/ry_cooder_bio.html
  • Mitchell, Tony. Global Noise: Rap and Hip Hop outside the USA. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2001.
  • Morad, Moshe. Fiesta De Diez Pesos: Music and Gay Identity in Special Period Cuba. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2014.
  • Music and Globalization: Critical Encounters. Edited by Bob W. White. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2012.
  • Nettl, Bruno. The Western Impact on World Music: Change, Adaptation, and Survival. Schirmer Books, 1985.
  • Sawyers, June Skinner. Celtic Music: a complete guide. New York: Da Capo Press, 2001.
  • Shelemay, Kay Kaufmann. Soundscapes: Exploring Music in a Changing World. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006.
  • Small, Christopher. Music,Society, and Education. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2011.
  • ------. Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2011.
  • Sumarsam. Javanese Gamelan and the West. Rochester, NY; Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer,2013.
  • Talmon-Chvaicer, Maya. The Hidden History of the Capoeria: A Collision of Cultures in the Brazilian Battle Dance. Texas: University of Texas Press, 2007.
  • Taylor, Timothy D. Global Pop: World Music, World Markets. Routledge, 1997.
  • ------. Music and Capitalism. A History of the Present. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2016. (chapter on the rise of “World Music”)
  • The Cambridge History of World Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  • Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop. Edited by Jeff Chang. New York: Basic Civitas, 2007.
  • Young, Richard. Music, Popular Culture, Identities. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002.