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MUSIC 2A03 Music/Wrld Culture

Academic Year: Winter 2018

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Ryan Bruce



Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: Tuesdays 12:30–1:30 PM

Course Objectives:

This course is an introduction to the ethnomusicological study of some of the major musical cultures of the world. We will be examining the relationships between sounds, behaviours, and concepts found in the geographic areas of South Asia, the Middle East, Indonesia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Some of the topics we will cover include the function of music in society, how music is created, the relationship between music, identity and other domains of culture, how and why music changes, and what it means. By the end of the course, students will be able to:

- Recognize and describe musical styles of the cultures discussed in class.

- Discuss and describe the various meanings and functions of music in these cultures as they relate to social identity, transmission, agency, change, and social structure.

- Explain ethnomusicological practices including topics of organology, “transcription,” analysis and musical ethnography

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

1. Excursions in World Music (7th ed.), Nettl, Rommen, et. al. Publisher: Routledge.

2. Recorded examples from Excursions in World Music (available online with textbook order).

Method of Assessment:

There will be 5 in-class listening tests, one for each of the areas studied. Each test is worth 12%. Students will have received 10% in this course by March 16, 2018.

South Asia – Friday January 26

Middle East – Friday February 9

Indonesia – Friday March 2

Sub-Saharan Africa – Friday March 16

Latin America and the Caribbean – Thursday March 29


Cumulative Final Exam (TBA, Wednesday April 11–Thursday April 26): 40%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Music 2A03: Course Schedule

Listening and viewing examples will be assigned each week according to the topic being studied. Details of this schedule may be changed throughout the duration of the course.

Dates Topic Reading
Week 1 (Jan. 4, 5) Introduction Chapter 1
Week 2 (Jan. 9–12) Ethnomusicology  
Weeks 3 and 4 (Jan. 16–26) South Asia Chapter 2
Weeks 5 and 6 (Jan. 30, Feb 1– 9) Middle East Chapter 3
Weeks 7 and 8 (Feb. 13–Mar. 2) Indonesia Chapter 7
Weeks 9 and 10 (Mar. 6–16) Sub-Saharan Africa Chapter 8
Weeks 11 and 12 (Mar. 20–30) Latin America and the Caribbean Chapters 10 and 11
Weeks 13 (Apr 3–6) Review and Wrap-Up