World Music: Aesthetic and Anthropological Approaches


This class samples musical traditions from around the world, including the United States, to understand how, what, where, and why we make and listen to music. We will focus on music and musicians that have made it onto international stages or into cross-cultural recording collaborations, exploring the stories and analyzing the contentions behind their success.


  • to think critically about the music as an aesthetic, technical, social, and political phenomenon.
  • to expand students' knowledge of a range of musical styles practiced around the world;
  • to hone students' listening skills through guided listening;
  • to identify the contributions that various disciplinary approaches (especially ethnomusicology and anthropology) can make to the study of music by placing these approaches in conversation.

Through readings and guided listening to both recorded and live music from select varied geographic locations, in "traditional", popular and "classical" styles, we will learn about ways in which forms of identity, means of empowerment, belief systems and patterns of social interaction are encoded and manifested through musical performance and sound. 

No prior musical experience is necessary.

World Music: Aesthetic and Anthropological Approaches

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