Pieces of the Musical World: Sounds and Cultures: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Pieces of the Musical World: Sounds and Cultures

1st Edition

By Rachel Harris, Rowan Pease


292 pages | 150 Color Illus.

Companion Website
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415723114
pub: 2015-05-07
SAVE ~$14.19
Hardback: 9780415723107
pub: 2015-05-07
SAVE ~$33.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315857879
pub: 2015-05-01
from $35.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


Pieces of the Musical World: Sounds and Cultures is a fieldwork-based ethnomusicology textbook that introduces a series of musical worlds each through a single "piece." It focuses on a musical sound or object that provides a springboard from which to tell a story about a particular geographic region, introducing key aspects of the cultures in which it is embedded, contexts of performance, the musicians who create or perform it, the journeys it has travelled, and its changing meanings.

A collaborative venture by staff and research ethnomusicologists associated with the Department of Music at SOAS, University of London, Pieces of the Musical World is organized thematically. Three broad themes: "Place", "Spirituality" and "Movement" help teachers to connect contemporary issues in ethnomusicology, including soundscape studies, music and the environment, the politics of identity, diaspora and globalization, and music and the body. Each of the book's fourteen chapters highlights a single musical "piece" broadly defined, spanning the range of "traditional," "popular", "classical" and "contemporary" musics, and even sounds which might be considered "not music."

Primary sources and a web site hosting recordings with interactive listening guides, a glossary of musical terms and interviews all help to create a unique and dynamic learning experience of our musical world.

Table of Contents

Part I: Place: Introduction 1. Soundscapes of the Old City: Listening to Jersualem's Old City (Israel/Palestine) Abigail Wood 2. "Soliyo" (Calling the horses): Song and memory in Mande music (Mali) Lucy Duran 3. "Aqqu" (White Swan): Sound Mimesis and Spirit Evocation in Kazakh Qobyz Performance (Kazakhstan) Saida Daukeyeva 4. "Grande Mestre": Longing and celebration in Capoeira Angola (Brazil) Zoe Marriage 5. "Asŭrang": Buzz, modernity and tradition in China (China) Rowan Pease Part II: Spirituality: Introduction 6. “Sogasugā”: a song of songs (India) Richard Widdess 7. "Subhanallah": listening and weeping in a dhikr ceremony (East Turkestan) Rachel Harris 8. "Tamuke": A Shakuhachi Requiem (Japan) Kiku Day 9. "Sudamala" (Freed from evil): Exploring a ritual piece for Balinese gendér wayang (Indonesia) Nick Gray 10. "Ibeji": Sounding the Sacred Twins of the Yorùbá (Nigeria) Amanda Villepastour Part III: Movement: Introduction 11. "Song of Akuak": Audio-letters from South Sudan: Tracing Dinka networks, connections and intimacies beyond the war zone (Sudan) Angela Impey 12. "Dancing Girl": Flows, Formats and Fortune in Music (USA) Caspar Melville 13. "Tezeta" (Nostalgia): Memory and Loss in Ethiopia and the Diaspora (Ethiopia) Ilana Webster-Kogen 14. "El Alto de La Paz" – Digital cumbia, circulation of music, and music of circulation (Argentina) Geoffrey Baker

About the Authors

Rachel Harris is Reader in the Music of China and Central Asia at SOAS, University of London. She is the author of two books on musical life in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and leader of the research project "Sounding Islam in China".

Rowan Pease is editorial manager of The China Quarterly and also serves as a senior teaching fellow for the department of music, SOAS, University of London. She has published several chapters on music of the Chinese Koreans and also on the Korean Wave in China.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / Ethnomusicology