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Musics of the World

Author Sean Williams

Publication Date - 01 June 2021

ISBN: 9780190235864

384 pages
7 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

A complete, accessible introduction to the music of the world


Musics of the World offers a rich and inviting introduction to music from around the globe, exploring a diverse array of traditions and genres in depth while helping students develop skills for approaching new music in their lives.
Clear, accessible introductory chapters give students a solid overview of ethnomusicology, setting the stage for eighteen geographically-focused chapters that ground students in a region's cultural context before exploring what makes each place musically unique. Throughout, videos, timed musical tracks, definitions, color photographs, recipes, and discussion questions provide a variety of avenues through which to engage with the music and cultures at hand.


  • Provides ample cultural and historical context to help students make sense of musical sounds disconnected from their home cultures
  • Brings a rich array of musical traditions and genres to life through integrated streaming audio, video, recipes, dynamic color photos, and exercises designed to help students engage with content
  • Offers a variety of in-text features designed to facilitate in-class discussion, further exploration, and greater student understanding, including:
  • o "Check It Out" boxes that highlight performers and recommended recordings from each area
  • o End-of-chapter discussion questions that can help launch in-class discussions or individual projects
  • o "You Can Do It" exercises and regional recipes meant to inspire students to learn the content in a hands-on way
  • Extends the survey with seven additional chapters that are exclusive to the e-book, giving instructors the flexibility to create a syllabus that aligns with their and their students' interests
  • Supported by a full suite of engaging online learning tools--integrated into an Enhanced e-Book and available for delivery through most learning management systems--as well as time-saving instructor resources to facilitate the creation of engaging in-person or online courses

About the Author(s)

Sean Williams has taught ethnomusicology and area studies for over 30 years at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.


"Musics of the World is an approachable, friendly, accessible text that doesn't condescend on the one hand and doesn't resort to dense jargon on the other."--Elizabeth Wollman, City University of New York, Baruch College

"A welcome addition to the general world-music studies collection, Musics of the World covers a lot of the same material as other books, but the writing style makes it stick out."--Justin Alexander, Virginia Commonwealth University

"Musics of the World is well organized with suggestions for in class activities and well-known performers that allow for expansion of the listening materials and more active student participation."--Ben Weatherford, Columbus State University

Table of Contents


    How This Book Works

    I. Introduction to Ethnomusicology
    Chapter 1. Welcome to Ethnomusicology!
    What Ethnomusicologists Do
    Being Interdisciplinary
    Music Can Identify You
    Are You an "Ethnomusicologist" or an "Insider"? Or Both?
    What Is It about Music?
    Learning to Play
    What Lens Do You Use?
    Are You Ready?

    Chapter 2. The Elements of Music
    Meter and Tempo
    Notating Rhythm
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 3. Music and...: Focusing Your Work
    Fine-Tuning Your Approach
    Issues of Identity
    Issues of Performance Practice
    Issues of Power and Control
    Issues of Belief
    Other Issues

    II. Africa and the Middle East
    Chapter 4. West Africa

    West African Development and Colonization
    Common Musical Features
    The Role of the Jali: A West African Bard in Gambia
    Listening Guide 4.1: "Kelefaba" and "Kuruntu Kelefa" by Foday Musa Suso
    Ghanaian Fontomfrom Drumming
    Listening Guide 4.2: "Fontomfrom" by the Eyisam Mbensuon Group
    Nigerian Jùjú Music
    Listening Guide 4.3: "Asiko Mi Ti To" by Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey

    Chapter 5. South Africa
    Colonial History
    South African Music
    Marabi: Early Zulu Township Music
    Listening Guide 5.1: "Pata Pata" by Miriam Makeba
    Mbaquanga: Later Zulu Township Music
    Listening Guide 5.2: "Kazet" by Mahlathini and the
    Mahotella Queens
    Isicathamiya: Zulu Choral Music
    Listening Guide 5.3: "Rain Rain Beautiful Rain" by Ladysmith Black Mambazo

    Chapter 6. The Arab World
    The History of Music Making in the Arab World
    Understanding Islam
    Tonal and Rhythmic Modes in Arabic Music
    Improvising within the Constraints of a Melodic Mode
    Listening Guide 6.1: "Taqasim" by Simon Shaheen
    Takht Ensemble Music
    Listening Guide 6.2: "Longa Farahfaza" by Simon Shaheen ensemble
    Post-Revolutionary Egyptian Protest Music
    Listening Guide 6.3: "Es'ha" by Arabian Knightz (feat. DC Amin)

    III. The Americas
    Chapter 7. Brazil

    Legacies of Colonization
    Legacies of Slavery
    Mixing European and African Spirituality
    Listening Guide 7.1: "Quilombo, O El Dorado Negro" by Gilberto Gil
    Bossa Nova
    Listening Guide 7.2: "Chega de Saudade" by João Gilberto
    Listening Guide 7.3: "O Fole Roncou" by Luis Gonzaga

    Chapter 8. African America
    The Development of African America
    Listening Guide 8.1: "(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man" by Muddy Waters
    Listening Guide 8.2: "Move On Up a Little Higher," by Mahalia Jackson
    Rap within Hip Hop
    Listening Guide 8.3: "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

    Chapter 9. Native North America
    Colonization Was Not the Beginning
    Native North American Music is Alive
    The Experience of Powwow
    Listening Guide 9.1: "Blackfeet Flag Song," by the Black Lodge Singers
    The Power and Importance of the Voice
    Listening Guide 9.2: "My People, My Land," by Ulali
    Tribal Hip Hop
    Listening Guide 9.3: "Prayer Loop Song," by Supaman

    IV. Asia and the Pacific
    Chapter 10. China

    Chinese Musical Culture Over Time
    A Short Guide to Chinese Religious Philosophy
    Scholarly Sounds from Ancient China: the Guqin
    Listening Guide 10.1: "Wild Geese Descending on the Sandbank," by Lin Youren
    Jiangnan Sizhu (Silk and Bamboo Music) and Heterophony
    Listening Guide 10.2: "Moonlight Over the River in Spring," by the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra
    Jingjú (Beijing Opera) and the Embodiment of Religious Philosophy
    Listening Guide 10.3: "Chu Ko Liang and Two Attendants," Chinese opera

    Chapter 11. India
    The History of the Indian Subcontinent
    Hinduism in India and its Influence on the Performing Arts
    Raga and Tala, the Performance of Indian Melodic and Rhythmic Modes
    North Indian Khyal Performance
    Listening Guide 11.1: "Raga Gaud Malhar" by Kishori Amonkar
    South Indian Vina Performance
    Listening Guide 11.2: "RagaPurvikalyani" by Ranganayaki Rajagopalan
    Bollywood Songs: Filmi G?t
    Listening Guide 11.3: "Did Tera Devar Deewana" by Lata Mangeshkar & S.P. Balasubrahmanyam

    Chapter 12. Indonesia
    Religious and Colonial Influences
    Central Javanese Gamelan
    Listening Guide 12.1: "Ketawang: Puspawarna" by K.R.T. Wasitodipuro
    Balinese Gamelan
    Listening Guide 12.2: "Sekar Jupun" by Peliatan Dance Troupe
    Dangdut Popular Music
    Listening Guide 12.3: "Begadang II" by Rhoma Irama

    V. Europe
    Chapter 13. Ireland

    The Historical Context of Irish Music
    Irish Melodies and Modes
    Singing in Irish-Gaelic and English
    Listening Guide 13.1: "Anach Cuain" by Joe Heaney
    Instrumental Music for Dancing and Listening
    Listening Guide 13.2: "The Maids of Mount Cisco/The Old Pigeon on the Gate" by David Power
    Listening Guide 13.3: "Gift from the Fairies/Drops of Brandy/Is the Big Man Within?" by James Kelly and Zan McLeod

    Chapter 14. Spain
    The Historical Background
    Flamenco Music of Andalucia
    Listening Guide 14.1: "Soleá" by María de la Burra
    The Jota of Aragón
    Listening Guide 14.2: "Jota Antigua" by La Orquestina del Fabirol
    The Sound of the Local in Galicia
    Listening Guide 14.3: "Vals de Libunca" by Milladoiro

    Chapter 15. Russia
    A History of Russia
    Nation Building through Classical Composers and Folkloric Troupes
    Music and Culture after the Revolution
    The Russian Orthodox Chant
    Listening Guide 15.1: "Hymn for the Day" by the Choir of the Dormition Church of the Novodevichy Covent
    The Balalaika as both Musical Instrument and Symbol
    Listening Guide 15.2: "Kokhanochka" by the Andreyev Balalaika Ensemble
    Throat Singing in Tuva, Southern Siberia
    Listening Guide 15.3: "Kozhamik with Khoomei, Sigit, and Kargiraa" by Kara-ool Tumat

    e-Book Exclusive Chapters
    Chapter 16. Turkey

    Orientalism and its Appearance in Music
    Tonal and Rhythmic Modes in Turkish Music
    Music of the Sufi Mevlevi Orders (The "Whirling Dervishes")
    Listening Guide 16.1: "Hicaz Taksim" by Aka Gündüz Kutbay
    Fasil Instrumental Suites
    Listening Guide 16.2: "Ud Taksim; Nihavent Saz Semaisi" by Necdet Yasar Ensemble
    Arabesk Popular Urban Music
    Listening Guide 16.3: "Bir Teselli Ver" by Orhan Gencebay

    Chapter 17. The Andes
    The Incan Empire, Colonialism, and Chaos
    The Arrival of the Spanish
    Modern Times
    The Panpipes in Andean Music: Wind and Breath
    Listening Guide 17.1: "Akamani" by Musicians of the Kaalaya Community
    The Charango
    Listening Guide 17.2: "Huayno from Ayacucho," by Louis Lamasca
    Brass Bands
    Listening Guide 17.3: "Danza del Turco" by Banda San Santiago de Madrigal
    The Fiesta in Highland Life (written with Ellen Koskoff)

    Chapter 18. The Texas-Mexico Borderlands
    The Development of the Tejano Sound
    Listening Guide 18.1: "Margarita, Margarita" by Flaco Jiménez
    Listening Guide 18.2: "El Tejano Enamorado" by Oscar Martinez
    Listening Guide 18.3: "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" by Selena Quintanilla

    Chapter 19. Japan
    Japan's History and People
    Solo Shakuhachi (Bamboo Flute) Music
    Listening Guide 19.1: "Sagari Ha" by Tajima Tadashi
    Gagaku (Imperial Court Ensemble) Music
    Listening Guide 19.2: "Etenraku" by the Imperial Court Ensemble of Japan
    Kumi-daiko (taiko drumming ensemble)
    Listening Guide 19.3: "Suwa-Ikazuchi" by the O-Suwa Daiko Drums ensemble

    Chapter 20. Hawai'i
    Early Sound and Movement
    Contemporary Hawaiian Music and Dance
    Mele Hula Chant and Song
    Listening Guide 20.1: "Hole Waimea" by Lokalia Montgomery
    The 'Ukulele
    Listening Guide 20.2: "Aloha 'Oe" by Eddie Kamae
    Slack Key Guitar
    Listening Guide 20.3: "Hi'ilawe" by Gabby Pahinui

    Chapter 21. Bulgaria
    Who Are the Roma?
    Bulgarian Wedding Dance Music
    Listening Guide 21.1: "Hristianova Kopanitsa" by Ivo Papasov
    Vocal Harmony
    Listening Guide 21.2: "Dimyaninka" by the Filip Koutev Ensemble
    Bulgarian Music Abroad
    Listening Guide 21.3: "Bulgarian Chicks" by Balkan Beat Box

    Chapter 22. Fieldwork
    How Does One Do "Fieldwork"?
    Case Studies in Fieldwork
    Writing about Fieldwork

    Glossary and Pronunciation Guide
    List of Suggested Resources for Further Study

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