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World music: introduction

Course 2016-2017

Admission requirements

Participants must have an elementary knowledge of music. The ability to read music is not required.


As a result of globalisation, migration and the Internet, what is today known as world music has become part of our musical landscape. This is borne out by the hundreds of concerts and festivals that take place every year, and by the impressive sales of CDs and DVDs. In this module, world music will be studied from a practical viewpoint, since music is first of all a practical activity: a question of listening and doing, of repeating and creating. Under the supervision of a number of specialists, students will become familiar with music from different regions, such as Indonesia, India, West Africa, and the Balkans. As well as basic concepts such as rhythm and melody, other subjects to be addressed include modality, composition and improvisation, oral and written traditions, and forms of transmission.

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to apply but also challenge some of the notions about music that are ingrained into Western musical thinking; as well as to make participants aware that in spite of the great diversity of instruments, types of ensembles, genres and styles worldwide, there are also similarities, particularly in the way music is made and reflected on.

Time table:

2016-2017, Second semester

The courses take place at the Lipsius building (Cleveringaplaats 1, Leiden), room 228, Tuesdays from 13.00-17.00 hrs.

Dates (day-month-year):

((((2016-2017, First semester.

The courses take place at the Lipsius building (Cleveringaplaats 1, Leiden), room 208, Fridays from 14.00-16.00 hrs.

The first meeting will be on Friday 23 September 2016.
The last meeting will be on Friday 18 November 2016.

PLEASE NOTE: There will not be a meeting on Friday 28 October 2016.))))

Teaching method:

Lectures and workshops

Test method:

Assessment will be made on the basis of:
1. Examination of the assigned literature and information given in the lectures
2. Attendance (at least 5 sessions – will be checked by means of an attendance list)
3. Homework assignments based on the listening to music examples
4. Final exam



Required reading:

Compulsory: – Articles, to be disseminated via Blackboard and read in advance to every lecture; – Handouts

Recommended: – Philip V. Bohlman, World Music: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. – Simon Broughton & Mark Ellingham (eds.), The rough guide to world music. London and New York: Rough Guides, 2000. 2 vols – Nicholas Cook, Music: a very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998, reprint 2000.


Rogier Schneemann
Aleksandra Markovic


Register for this course via uSis.

For other courses in the domains of music and fine arts, please visit:
Elective courses music and fine arts