Student Pages
Undergraduate course

Music in World Cultures

  • ECTS credits15
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeMUG105
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Main content

ECTS Credits

15 stp

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

This course presents a survey of music in selected cultures of the world, drawing from areas including Native America, Africa, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Middle East, and Latin America. The course will also present an overview of research methods in ethnomusicology, which the students will apply in their own individual fieldwork research projects. The course should be of interest to students in music and other students in the humanities.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes:


The student...

  • can recognize and place specific musical traditions within their cultural, geographical, historical and stylistic contexts.
  • has an understanding of ethnomusicology as a field of academic study.


The student...

  • can apply ethnomusicological concepts and methods to the study of music in their own society.
  • can critically assess pieces of ethnomusicological research in the form of books and articles.

General competence

The student...

  • can reflect on the place of music in social and cultural phenomena such as religion, ritual, collective memory, and identity.
  • can reflect on the global circulation of musical pieces and styles.

Required Previous Knowledge


Recommended Previous Knowledge

Basic knowledge of music theory, but this does not need to be formally documented.

Access to the Course

The course is open for all students at the University of Bergen.

Teaching and learning methods

One semester of lectures including listening examples.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

The requirement for attendance to teaching activities is cancelled for the Spring 2021 semester due to the situation with the coronavirus. The course coordinator may assign additional work, for example written or other work, as a substitute. The amount and nature of this work will be in accord with the number of absences the individual student has, such that the learning outcomes in the course may be achieved.

The oral presentation of a fieldwork project will be replaced by a presentation on a world musical tradition chosen by the student (in consultation with the instructor).


Under normal circumstances "compulsory assignments and attendance" are as follows:

  • Attendance at lectures.
  • Students will carry out and report on, in both written and oral form, a fieldwork project on a local musical culture.

All mandatory instruction must be completed and approved of before the exam. All instruction is compulsory. Absence of more than 20% leads to loss of right to take the exam.

Forms of Assessment

Due to the situation with the coronavirus, the Institute Board at The Grieg Academy - Department of Music have implemented temporary changes to the forms of assessment for the Spring 2021 semester:

  • A book review (1700-2000 words, 4-5 pages at one and one half spacing), worth 25% of the total grade.
  • Open book home exam, with a duration of two weeks, worth 75% of the total grade.

Internal evaluation with at least two examiners. Both assignments must be completed with a passing grade.


Under normal circumstances "forms of assessments" are as follows:

Grading of assignment portfolio. The student will turn in 2 assignments totalling 4000-6000 words (12-15 pages, one and one-half line spaced):

  • One assignment is a book review (1700-2000 words, 4-5 pages at one and one half spacing), worth 25% of the total grade.
  • The other assignment is a report (3200-4000 words, 7-10 pages at one and one-half spacing) on a fieldwork project the student will carry out, worth 75% of the total grade.

Internal evaluation with at least two examiners. Both assignments must be completed with a passing grade.

Grading Scale

Letter grade from A to F.

Assessment Semester


Reading List

The literature list will be available by 01.06. for the Autumn semester and 01.12. for the Spring semester.

Course Evaluation

The course will be evaluated in accordance with the quality assurance system of the University of Bergen.

Programme Committee

The Program Board is responsible for the academic content and structure of the study program, and for the quality of all the subjects therein.

Course Administrator

The Grieg Academy - Department of Music at the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.


The study adviser can be contacted at: studieveileder.kmd@uib.no