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World Music

Course Code: PEFA 3236
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course builds on PEFA 1136, and explores both social and musical parameters of a diverse range of contemporary world music styles. Case studies explore ways in which distinct regional music traditions have evolved uniquely and examine ways in which world music styles have adapted to an increasingly interconnected world.

Course Content

1. Ethnomusicology and Musical Anthropology

Issues and Approaches

2. The Commodification of World Music in the 21st Century

Pop Production and ‘Ethnic’ Music; Traditional Music Adaptation to the Modern Urban Connected World; Digital Production and Distribution; Sampling; Migration and Urbanization

3. Case Studies Exploring Evolving Styles and Cultures from Each Continent

Students will study a range of styles and cultures in world music drawn from the following topics:

a. Sub Saharan Africa

  • South African Township Jazz Syncretism; Afro American influences
  • West African Pre/Post Colonial Participatory Traditional Styles; Highlife; Afro Pop; African Diaspora and Pan African Styles

b. The Americas

  • Latin America Afro Latino Salsa and Samba; Argentinian Tango; Meztizo Music; Brazilian Remix
  • American Aboriginal First Nations Traditional Ceremonial Music; Inuit Throat Singing; Metis Fiddle Music; Contemporary Fusions;

c. Europe

  • East European Folk Balkan Folk; Influence on 19th C. and 20th C. Composers; Balkan Jazz; Bulgarian Wedding Bands; Balkan War Punk and Ska; The Origins of Klezmer
  • Celtic Traditions Irish; Scottish; Breton; The Celtic Diaspora

d. South Asia

  • Indian Hindustani and Carnatic Classical Traditions; Punjabi Folk; Bhangra; Bollywood; Jazz and Pop Fusions
  • Indonesian Gamelan Balinese; Javanese; Sudanese; Gamelan in Europe and North America; Influence on 20th C. French Composers

e. East Asia

  • Japanese Music Traditional Aesthetic; Japan Since WW2; J Pop; Karaoke
  • Korean Music Classical; Folk; K Pop

f. Australasia

  • Aboriginal The Dreaming; Ceremonial Music; Contemporary Fusions of Indigenous and Western Styles

g. Middle East and Arabic Africa

  • North Africa The Arab Spring and Hiphop; Rai Music; Egyptian Radio and Recording Industry
  • Persian Music Influence of Qu'ranic Recitation; Maqam; Iranian Popular Song

Methods of Instruction

  1. Lecture and class discussion, with focus on active listening to music;
  2. Viewing of video programs on music;
  3. Attendance at live concert performance(s);
  4. Presentation(s) by guest speaker(s);
  5. Student presentations

Means of Assessment

Annotated Playlist (Group Assignment) 10%

Research Presentation (Individual Assignment) 25%

Reviews of Live Concerts and Videos to a total of 30%

Weekly Listening and/or Reading Quizzes 20%

Final Examination 15%

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course the student will have developed the following:

1. An awareness of and ability to identify a range of contemporary and traditional world music styles and fusions;

2. A detailed awareness of how music traditions are shaped by cultural context, technology and transmission, and performance practice;

3. The ability to distinguish and identify characteristics of non-western music forms and structures by ear;

4. An appreciation of the effects of globalization and digital technology on a variety of musical traditions, and the ability to recognize the impact of wider cross-cultural contexts for music production and distribution.

course prerequisites

PEFA 1136, or MUSC 1120, or MUSC 1121, or by permission of the instructor



curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.