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  • Chris Anderson

Music Revision - World Music - Overview

This month we’ll look at World Music. This is quite a large topic so today I’ll give you an overview and over the coming blogs I’ll go into more detail. It is a broad and diverse genre that encompasses traditional and contemporary music from various cultures around the world. It is often used to describe music that is rooted in specific cultural traditions and may incorporate instruments, melodies, rhythms, and vocal styles unique to those traditions.


Here are some key characteristics and aspects of world music:

  • Cultural Diversity: World music represents the rich and diverse musical traditions of different countries and regions. It can include music from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and beyond.

  • Instruments: World music often features traditional instruments that are specific to particular cultures. Examples include the sitar in Indian music, the djembe in West African music, and the pan flute in Andean music.

  • Rhythms and Percussion: Percussion plays a significant role in many world music traditions, with complex rhythms and drumming patterns being a hallmark of the genre.

  • Vocals: World music may incorporate unique vocal techniques and styles, such as throat singing in Mongolia, ululation in Middle Eastern music, or call-and-response singing in African music.

  • Fusion and Cross-Cultural Influences: Contemporary world music often incorporates elements from other genres, resulting in fusion music. Artists may blend traditional elements with modern instrumentation, electronic music, or other styles to create a new sound.

  • Ethnomusicology: Ethnomusicologists study world music to understand its cultural context, history, and significance. They work to document and preserve these musical traditions.

  • Globalisation: Advances in technology and increased cultural exchange have facilitated the spread of world music around the globe. Musicians from different backgrounds collaborate, and audiences have greater access to a wide range of world music styles.

  • Examples of World Music: World music encompasses a vast array of styles, including reggae from Jamaica, flamenco from Spain, samba from Brazil, gamelan from Indonesia, and many others.

  • World Music Festivals: There are numerous festivals and events dedicated to world music where artists from different cultures come together to showcase their music. Examples include the WOMAD Festival (World of Music, Arts, and Dance) and the Rainforest World Music Festival.



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