Music 1115 -Intro to music.

As human culture-producers, we have much more that connects us than separates us, and of all the arts, music surely offers one of the most vital ways to feel the glow of connectedness—to loved ones and friends, community and nation. But what about connecting to strangers, and to cultures we consider alien, impenetrable, or even uncivilized? Might we also better understand them by listening to their music? In doing so, might we come to see, hear, and ultimately trust them in a more intimate and human way? My answer is a resounding “yes.”

--Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, liner notes, The Silk Road: A Musical Caravan
(SFW CD 40438)

man playing a siku

Native american drummersThere is so much music “out there” in the world, so many different voices, instruments, and styles. This music is created and produced by a myriad of cultures, and each culture considers its music to be special. For some, music is a way to restore order to a world out of balance; for others, music provides a way to become one with the creator; and for still others, “music,” because of its association with the sinful and sensuous, is something to be avoided at all costs. Ethnomusicologists—those scholars who study and compare music from around the world—have emphasized that music must be examined “as an aspect of culture,” insisting that it can be properly understood only in its cultural context. The study of world music, therefore, will not only broaden your exposure to different musical systems, but it will also serve to enhance your understanding of the world’s many different cultures.
3 people playing Indian instruments Introduction to World Music is part of the General Education Core Curriculum and fulfills three Fine Arts credits of the nine Humanities and Fine Arts credits required for the Associate in Arts and Associate in Science Degrees. This course has been approved by the Illinois Articulation Initiative and transfers as F1 903N.


man playing a pipa (string instrument)Music 1115, An Introduction to World Music, will:

  • expose you to a variety of musical cultures from around the world, including Africa, the Caribbean, India, China, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, the Middle East, Latin America, and North America.
  • explore the relationship between cultural context and the various forms of musical expression found around the world.
  • enable you to aurally identify a variety of instruments and musical styles from selected cultures throughout the world.
  • help you to identify the basic elements of music, such as melody, rhythm, harmony, timbre, texture, and form, as found in various musical cultures.
  • help you to better understand the attitudes, biases, and assumptions about music that we share—as products of a particular culture.
  • teach you to identify the variety of uses and functions attributed to music in many different cultures.



Q: Is prior musical experience a requirement for enrollment in this course?
No previous musical experience is required for enrollment in Music 1115. The authors of our textbook assume that students come to the book with no prior musical experience. My written lectures, together with the material in the text, will introduce and explain basic musical terminology, making certain that everyone embarks upon the musical journey with an understanding of some fundamental musical concepts. World Music courses, moreover, are never just about music, for they focus on the relationship between music and culture. The text and I will devote about as much time to a discussion of world cultures as we devote to the musics of those cultures.

Q. Do I need any special skills or qualities to complete this course successfully?
This course requires the ability to motivate yourself. There are deadlines to this course and you must complete the required work within the framework of the deadlines, or you may complete it early. Late work will not be accepted except under extraordinary circumstances. This is not always easy. Even some excellent and talented students can't do Distance Learning. Alternatively, some very mediocre students do well with Distance Learning.

It is also very important that you can read at the college level. This course is almost all reading and writing. It is helpful if you enjoy reading. If you don’t like to read or write, you may have difficulty completing the class.

You must be careful to read directions and follow them.

It is also helpful if you are comfortable using email, the World Wide Web, and word processing, though you don’t need to be highly skilled.

Q: What are the exams like?
All three exams are timed, open book examinations, which you will submit online. The exams consist largely of multiple choice questions, though the first exam will have several questions that require you to listen to a CD track and respond with either a short answer or an essay. Be advised that my multiple choice questions are more challenging than those found on the publisher’s website.

Q: How do I register for this course?
You may enroll in person at the Registration Office in SRC 2048 on the COD campus. There are several other ways to register: telephone self registration at (630) 942-3555; mailing or faxing your registration; and (for returning students), using online registration over the Internet at

COD Online
(630) 942-2490
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