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Fall 2022: WORLD MUSIC seminar, open to all 4000-5000 level

Dr Christopher Smith, Chair of Musicology & Director of the Vernacular Music Center

COURSE: MUHL4300-002 (CRN 16365)/MUHL5337-001 (CRN 33751): WORLD MUSIC


MUHL4300-003/MUHL5337-001 is a one-semester upper-level course, organized on a “Topics” basis, which explores the interaction between music and other aspects of cultural expression in 13 different culture areas around the globe.


Music is a form of communicative expression which spans boundaries of time, space, politics, and culture. Across time and around the world, human societies have used music to make sense of themselves and to communicate with others. In this course, taught by the Chair of Musicology and Director of the Vernacular Music Center, join student colleagues from across the TTU campus in an exploration of music, meaning and culture from around the world.


Meets TR 9:30-10:50am – M218 School of Music (next to SUB)


Course requirements include reading and listening, mid-term and final essay exams, and a research project (paper, website, other medium) assignment. Fulfills Grad and UG MUHL requirements


All materials open-access.


Facebook “Event” at:


Suitable for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students but does not presume any extensive formal musical knowledge; enrollment is thus welcomed from American Studies, History, Mass Communications, Anthropology, International Studies, and Political Science, as well as Music. NO SPECIAL MUSIC TERMINOLOGY OR NOTATION SKILLS ARE REQUIRED, and the course is open to both music majors and non-music majors.


This course will introduce students to the wealth of vernacular musics created by the world’s peoples. As the global village becomes smaller, the tremendous cultural diversity expressed in world musics reaches across geographic and linguistic boundaries. Music becomes a way for cultures to know and relate to one another. Thus, understanding music from a range of cultures helps students understand a range of cultural perspectives. As a result, this course is useful for students both inside and outside the formal discipline of music, including those majoring in arts & humanities, cultural and social sciences, economics, and international relations.


In this course, we will explore the rich traditions of musics from outside the Anglo-American pop mainstream, tracing their histories, influences, and modern permutations, and examining them on recordings, video, and in live performance. Looking at exemplary genres from a range of cultural and geographic areas, understanding these styles and others, we will expand our own musicianship, artistic sensitivity, and socio-cultural perspectives.


Our theme will be the complex combinations of social, historical, political, colonial, economic, biographical, and artistic factors which have shaped many different musics in many different contexts. We will focus on ideas and processes that shape music’s role in defining human societies.

Instructor’s Personal Statement:

I have been a student and scholar of global musical styles, instruments, performance practices, and cultural context since approximately 1974. Thus, although I am a settler, I nevertheless consider myself an ally of marginalized musics and of the complex and challenging cultural experiences from which they emerge. I believe deeply in the depth, power, artistry, and profound human experience that lives within these musics and I have spent a lifetime advocating on their behalf. At the same time, I recognize that I am an outsider to many forms of experience and I vow to always seek to center native and BIPOC voices in this course’s content, practice, personnel, and outlook.

Contact Dr Christopher Smith ( or visit the Vernacular Music Center's website ( for more information.


Chris Smith


School of Music

Event Information
Time: 9:30 AM - 10:50 AM
Event Date: 8/25/2022