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MUS108 Music in World Cultures

Online Resources

Links to Online Databases (eBooks). Just click on the links for articles from encyclopedias. (you also can use these to start your own search.)


From Gale: Music and Religion in Japan: Traditionally, religious music in Japan consisted of songs and dances that were performed as offerings to various gods.

From EBSCO eBook Collection

Music, Modernity and Locality in Prevar Japan: Osaka and Beyond: This anthology addresses the modern musical culture of interwar Osaka and its surrounding Hanshin region.

Shaped by Japanese Music: Kikuoka Hiroaki and Nagauta Shamisen in Tokyo: Using an ethnographic approach, this study situates musical analysis in the context of its creation, demonstrating that traditional Japanese music is hardly an archaic song form frozen in the present, but an active sociocultural system that has been reproduced in Japan from the seventeenth century to the present day. 

Taiko Boom: Japanese Drumming in Place and Motion: Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted among taiko groups in Japan, Taiko Boom explores the origins of taiko in the early postwar period and its popularization over the following decades of rapid economic growth in Japan's cities and countryside. 

Traditional Folk Song in Modern Japan: Sources, Sentiment, and Society: Traditional folk songs (min'yo) from the countryside are strongly linked to their places of origin and continue to play a role there. Today, however, they are also taught as a quasi-art music, arranged for stage and television, quoted in Westernized popular songs and so forth.



From Gale: 

Music: Music and Religion in China, Korea, and Tibet: The three main streams of religion in East Asia—Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism—all employ music to express beliefs and ideas. Ancient shamanic practices as well as Christianity and Islam also play a part in the musical histories of China, Korea, and Tibet.

From EBSCO eBook Collection:

Dynamic Korea and Rhythmic Form: The South Korean percussion genre, samul nori, is a world phenomenon whose rhythmic form is the key to its popularity and mobility.  

Korean P'ansori Singing Tradition: Development, Authenticity, and Performance History: P'ansori is a music genre—an oral tradition comprisingi arias and narratives. Often the individual singer acts out the story of young and old, good and bad, and male and female.



From: Gale's Encyclopedia of Modern China (Vol. 2. )

Music, Popular

Tan Dun: 1957, composer and conductor, was born on August 18, 1957, near Changsha, in Hunan, and lives in New York. He grew up in the Hunan countryside with his grandparents. In 1974 Tan was sent to live among the peasants of a commune in the vicinity of his hometown Changsha, sharing their daily work, rice-planting, for two years. While he thought he would be forever committed to agricultural life, music offered a “way out.” Tan began to collect folk songs and became a “village conductor,” leading musical celebrations and rituals. 

Music, Western and Russian Influence on Chinese music.

Cui Jian 1961: Called the father and godfather of Chinese rock and China’s Bob Dylan, Cui Jian is an influential figure in popular music.

Gramophone and Gramophone Records: Alternative to live performances.

Flim Industry: The trajectory of the development of Chinese film over the last century can best be evaluated against the backdrop of actual historical events, through a sometimes amorphous institutional setting, and especially by the contribution of an outstanding group of individuals.



From Gale: Music: Music and Religion in India: Music has historically given unity to Indian society and civilization, often doing so in contrast to the discord among the dominant religions and multiple sects of South Asia.

From Gale: Rāma: the hero of the Rāmāyaṇa, an epic of ancient India, is the figure most celebrated in literature, music, and art throughout India and Southeast Asia.

Music and Musical Thought in Early India: a broad perspective of the philosophy, theory, and aesthetics of early Indian music and musical ideology.

Sonic Liturgy: Ritual and Music in Hindu Tradition: beginning with the chanting of the Sama-Veda alongside the fire sacrifices of the ancient Indo-Aryans and with the classical Gandharva music as outlined in the musicological texts of Bharata and Dattila, Beck establishes a historical foundation for an in-depth understanding of the role of music in the early Puja rituals and Indian theater

Solkattu Manual: An Introduction to the Rhythmic Language of South Indian Music: spoken rhythms and patterns of hand-clapping used by all musicians and dancers in the classical traditions of South India.



From Gale: Indonesia: The Republic of Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country located in Southeast Asia between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, is an archipelago of more than 13,000 islands, about 6,000 of which are inhabited.

Musical Journeys in Sumatra: musical arts and cultures.

Unplayed Melodies: Javanese Gamelan and the Genesis of Music Theory: The gamelan music of Central Java is one of the world's great orchestral traditions.

Women, the Recited Qur'an, and Islamic Music in Indonesia: takes readers to the heart of religious musical praxis in Indonesia, home to the largest Muslim population in the world. Anne K. Rasmussen explores a rich public soundscape, where women recite the divine texts of the Qur'an, and where an extraordinary diversity of Arab-influenced Islamic musical styles and genres, also performed by women, flourishes.



Hawaiian Hula 'Olapa: Stylized Embodiment, Percussion, and Chanted Oral Poetry: genuine performing art practice shapes and transmits oral history via a distinct set of performative means of framing and stylization.

Hawaiian Music in Motion: Mariners, Missionaries, and Minstrels: performance, reception, transmission, and adaptation of Hawaiian music on board ships and in the islands, revealing the ways both maritime commerce and imperial confrontation facilitated the circulation of popular music in the nineteenth century. 

Kika Kila: How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed the Sound of Modern Music: he instrument's definitive history, from its discovery by a young Hawaiian royalist named Joseph Kekuku to its revolutionary influence on American and world music.

Ukulele: The World's Friendliest Instrument: Celebrate the history of the ukulele and its unique culture.


New Zealand

From Gale: New Zealand: A largely Protestant nation, New Zealand consists of two major islands, North and South. The country is located deep in the southern Pacific Ocean almost a thousand miles east of Australia. 

Sing New Zealand: The Story of Choral Music in Aotearoa: describes New Zealand's choral music trajectory, from the amateur efforts of the nineteenth century to today's internationally renowned choirs.

Maori Music:  best introduction available to Maori music - the instruments played, the songs and dance styles and what they were used for, performance, composition, teaching, etc.

Many Voice: Music and National Identity in Aotearoa/New Zealand: The papers offer various perspectives on the interconnections between music and identity, while providing case-studies on diverse topics including performance, composition, and musical styles.

Making New Zealand' Pop Renaissance: State, Markets, Musicians: an instructive case for the ways in which 'after neo-liberal' states steer and co-ordinate popular culture into market exchange by incentivizing cultural production.


South America

From Gale: Music: Music and Religion South America is a remarkably musical and religious continent. All of its countries show vigorous popular and indigenous traditions, which have music and dance as its core.

Pre-Columbian Music of South AmericaMusic once illuminated secular and sacred life throughout South America. Today we have nothing but the archaeological remains of musical instruments and iconography, which have been preserved mainly in the Andean region.

From Gale: Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture (Vol. 4. 2nd ed.)

Music of South America

Musical Instruments of South America

Sarmientos de León, Jorge Alvaro (1933–): Jorge Alvaro Sarmientos de León (b. 1933), Guatemalan composer, conductor, and percussionist. 

Huayno: The most common and popular genre of Andean traditional music, the huayno (wayno, wayñu) is heard with many variations from Ecuador to northern Argentina.

Carnival: Carnival ("farewell to flesh") is a pre-Lenten festival celebrated throughout much of Europe and Latin America. Carnival ("farewell to flesh") is a pre-Lenten festival celebrated throughout much of Europe and Latin America. Origins of the festival are diverse.



From: Gale's New Encyclopedia of Africa(Vol. 3. 2nd ed.)

Music, Modern Popular

Ethnomusicology and the Study of Africa


Music: Music and Religion in Sub-Saharan Africa

Musical Instruments

Ladysmith Black Mamboso