Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit provides students with an introduction to a wide range of traditional and contemporary non-Western musics through lectures and participation in a percussive world music ensemble. It aims to develop an awareness of musical traditions, techniques and performance contexts of diverse musical traditions from around the world. Various case studies (e.g. West African drumming, North Indian music and Balinese gamelan ensemble) are used to examine specific musical practices and to generate broader questions about music such as: What is music? How do we learn music? What does musical practice tell us about social organisation? How are instruments iconic? How do musical traditions evolve over time? These are some of the questions that are explored in the unit through discussion and performance using percussion instruments.

This unit is an elective unit in the Music Studies major in the Bachelor of Arts degree. It is also open to students enrolled in other majors and degree pathways who fulfil the prerequisites and who have an interest in music. No prior musical experience is necessary for the unit.

6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) develop awareness of ethnocentrism and engage with diverse forms of music; (2) recognise a range of world musics and understand their context; (3) gain practical experience in at least one non-Western music ensemble; (4) analyse the organising principles and concepts of selected musical traditions around the world; (5) demonstrate application of non-Western music theory to practice and vice versa; and (6) demonstrate teamwork skills.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a research project; (2) workshop/ensemble participation; and (3) examination/tests. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Alan Lourens
Unit rules
any Level 1 Music unit
or ANTH1001 Being Human: Culture, Identity and Society
or ANTH1101 Being Human: Culture, Identity and Society
or ANTH1002 Global Change, Local Responses
or ANTH1102 Global Change, Local Responses
MUSC1010 Music in World Cultures
Contact hours
seminars: 2 hours per week
workshops/ensembles: 1 hour per fortnight
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.