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Outstanding Overview of World Music
on August 29, 2010
This textbook takes a travel approach to learning more about music from around the world. This helps you relate the music to the various lands and you really get a sense of how neighboring regions' music can affect each other.
The writing style is very readable and never comes across as "stuffy." I purchased this textbook because it was required for a college masters class and I truly enjoyed the reading assignments. So often textbooks at that level get so bogged down in terminology and "academic speak" that they are a chore to read. While there is plenty of terminology with this subject, the authors take time in the first 3 chapters to set you up for the journey. This includes explaining their philosophy and terminology used throughout the book. Major terms from the text are also defined in the margins next to where they were introduced which makes studying for tests and researching for papers and projects much easier.
Accompanying the text are 2 CDs (included) and generous amounts of photographs that allow you to hear and see the cultures as you study them. There is also a website for the book which includes even more supplemental materials. The book is broken into "sites" and as you "arrive" at each site you are introduced to the history, geography and native culture. You then dive in to one or more styles of music native to that region. Since music is a reflection of its culture, you can really understand the cultural basis of the music with this approach.
The book is designed to be an introduction to world music and not an exhaustive text on any one culture. That being said, I still came away with what I felt was a thorough primer of music from other lands. There is a lot of material in this textbook and it is a worthwhile read. While clearly a college text, I believe it would work well for a high school class in the hands of an enthusiastic instructor.