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Online College Courses in World Music: Course Descriptions

Online courses in world music are widely available. Students can take courses that provide a broad overview of global music or ones that specialize on a particular region of the world. Occasionally, non-credit courses are available through college continuing education programs. These courses would fill the needs of non-students who are seeking a greater understanding of the many varieties of world music.

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Online World Music Courses

Below are some common world music course topics offered online.

  • World Music Course: This course explores music from around the world and the cultures and traditions from which it arises. Students discuss sounds from across continents and latitudes. Most courses provide a broad overview of the music of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • African Music Course: Students learn about the diverse contemporary music of the African continent and its historical beginnings. The course generally breaks up music by the north, south, east and west regions. The course also discusses native music and its relationship to colonialism, gender, history, politics and religion.
  • Survey of Latin American Music Course: Students are introduced to the music of Latin America, from traditional folk to contemporary pop. Music of the region is explored in the context of the culture, its adaptation and its modern manifestations.
  • Music of America Course: Students take an in-depth look at the music of America, its diverse ethnic roots and religious influences. They also discuss key cultural figures and movements. The course also teaches listening skills through the study of the music.
  • The Dream Machine: A History of Rock and Roll Course: Students have a unique opportunity to actually witness music history as it was made. They can trace the origins of contemporary music by watching video recordings of live performances and gain an appreciation for the role that non-musicians like producers and music managers played.
  • Music of India Course: In this course, students will learn about the classical music of India. Musical traditions in the country's ancient history will be covered, in addition to Indian culture and art.
  • Chinese Popular Music Course: This course covers various genres in Chinese-speaking music such as Taiwanese rap and Cantopop. Other topics include identities in Chinese popular music, social and political values and how Chinese music helps communities to connect with each other.

Program Information

Online courses in world music are typically offered through college music departments as electives for both music and non-music majors in addition to graduate certificates, associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees. The curriculum varies by school, but it generally covers musical traditions across continents and discusses music in its cultural context, including history, politics and religion. Students can also explore music from specific areas, such as Africa and Latin America.

Students can study world music online via standalone courses, graduate certificates, associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs. Various course topics include African music, the music of India and Chinese popular music.

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