Queen's University

World Musics [MUSC 289]

From the Calendar: An introduction to the study of music in culture, based on world music traditions. The course focuses on a selection of Native North American, African, European, Eastern and Middle Eastern, as well as other musical contexts. LEARNING HOURS: 112 (36L;24O;52P)

● World Musics is also offered online


Detailed Course Description:

The human process of music-making is found all over the world and can form a crucial part of both our most profound experiences and our most playful moments. It is a global phenomenon, a human universal, yet offers an immense diversity of expressive experience. Much more than a combination of sounds, music gives us a glimpse into worldviews that can be quite different from our own and offers examples of globalized interaction through fusions and cross-overs. Through a series of geographical case-studies, this course will explore the variety and the universals of the world of music, and seek to achieve the following objectives:

  • ✔︎ To familiarize students with the features of various music systems
  • ✔︎ To introduce issues of musical universality and diversity, social function, continuity and change, and other questions of musical meaning
  • ✔︎ To offer students some ways of appreciating and understanding some of the wonderful musics the world has to offer

This material will be taught through readings, lectures, in-class discussions and activities, and in-class guests when possible, and will be assessed through short multiple choice quizzes, a mid-term test, on-line discussions, a short written assignment, and a final exam.


About the Instructor:

Dr. Margaret Walker served as the Director of the School of Music between 2010 and 2015, and was instrumental in the creation of the new School of Drama and Music. She is a member of the Kingston Symphony Association Board of Directors, Secretary of the Canadian University Music Society Executive Board, and regularly serves as a peer reviewer and conference program committee member. 

Dr. Walker is a graduate of the University of Toronto (Musicology/Ethnomusicology) and the Royal Conservatory of Music Professional School (Piano Performance and Pedagogy) and she joined the School of Music at Queen’s in 2006. Her teaching and research cross disciplinary boundaries, and include ethnomusicology, historical musicology, historiography, music teaching and learning, and dance studies. 

For more information about the professor, click here to read her full bio.