What in the World is Music? Second Edition is an undergraduate, interactive e-textbook that explores the shared ways people engage with music and how humans organize and experience sound. It adopts a global approach, featuring more than 300 streaming videos and 50 streaming audio tracks of music from around the world. Drawing from both musicological and ethnomusicological modes of inquiry, the authors explain the nature and meaning of music as a universal human practice, making no distinction between Western and non-Western repertoires while providing students with strong points of connection to the ways it affects their own lives.
The What in the World is Music? curriculum is divided into five parts, with a fully integrated multimedia program linked directly to the chapters:
- The Foundations of Music I proposes a working definition of "music" and considers inquiry-guided approaches to its study: Why do humans have innate musical perception? How does this ability manifest itself in the human voice? A catalog of musical instruments showcases global diversity and human ingenuity.
- The Foundations of Music II continues the inquiry-guided approach, recognizing the principles by which musical sound is organized while discussing elements such as rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, form, genre, and style. Where did music come from? What is it for?
- Music and Identity examines how music operates in shaping, negotiating, and expressing human identity and is organized around three broad conceptual frames: the group, hybridity, and conflict.
- Music and the Sacred addresses how music is used in religious practices throughout the world: chanting sacred texts and singing devotional verses, inspiring religious experience such as ecstasy and trance, and marking and shaping ritual space and time.
- Music and Social Life analyzes the uses of music in storytelling, theater, and film. It delves into the contributions of sound technologies, while looking at the many ways music enhances nightlife, public ceremonies, and festivals.
Part 1: The Foundations of Music I / Chapter 1: What Is Music? / Chapter 2: What Is Music Made Of? The Human Voice / Chapter 3: What Is Music Made Of? Musical Instruments / Part 2: The Foundations of Music II / Chapter 4: What Is Music Made Of? The Elements of Music / Chapter 5: Where Does Music Come From? The Origins of Music / Chapter 6: What Is Music For? The Functions of Music / Part 3: Music and Identity / Chapter 7: Music and Group Identity / Chapter 8: Music and Hybrid Identity / Chapter 9: Music and Oppositional Identity / Part 4: Music and the Sacred / Chapter 10: Sacred Chant and Devotional Singing / Chapter 11: Sacred Embodiment and Sacred Enactment / Chapter 12: Sacred Space and Sacred Time / Part 5: Music and Social Life / Chapter 13: Narrative Singing, Theater, and Opera / Chapter 14: Music in Public Spaces / Chapter 15: Music and Tourism, Sound Recording, and Film / Glossary / Further Resources / Credits / Media Index / Index
"Arnold and Kramer's deep dive into music is astonishing in its breadth. It takes readers from old camp meetings songs at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Atlanta to khoomei singers in the Mongolian steppes, from the tenor Caruso and Italian castrati to Chinese legends about music and bells that survive from ancient times, from singing to celebrate independence and ethnic identity in Estonia as the Soviet Union collapsed to Ella Fitzgerald, and from American country music to Western Africa’s Salif Keita and the 'Voice of Egypt,' Umm Kulthum. The project is distinguished, not just for its breadth, but because of the multiple video and audio files, some field recordings and others studio quality, that illustrate the text. These will prove of immense use for students and teachers alike, bringing into one place materials that otherwise require detective work to source. There are, of course, many musics in the world, and Arnold and Kramer offer much more than a mere ethnomusicological account. They attempt, with considerable success, to be inclusive. Their task begins with defining what music is – they tighten John Blacking's pithy 'humanly organized sound' to 'sounds organized by humans and intended for human purposes.' They erect a scaffold, asking pertinent questions: What is sound? What is hearing? What are the elements of music? Where does music come from? Multiple answers are found for each question, precisely because human creativity has created a treasure-trove of musics that are almost infinite in their diversity, but which nonetheless are brought here into a single resource."
—Keith Howard, Professor Emeritus of Music, SOAS, University of London
"The second edition of What in the World is Music? not only explores the various ways we can study and interact with music styles from around the world, but also demonstrates how different musical cultures can be both related and unique. The authors' perspicuity and book's theme-based approach make it accessible to undergraduates, including non-music majors who wish to explore music’s cultural, political, spiritual, and economic importance in global contexts. Readers of What in the World is Music? will deepen their understanding of other cultures' music in relation to that of their our own."
—Damascus Kafumbe, Professor and Chair, Department of Music, Middlebury College
"What in the World is Music? is aimed at undergraduate students seeking to experience the role, the function and the meaning of music from a global perspective. It is an enjoyable and yet authoritative interactive e-textbook that engages students with the richness of its visual and audio material. Organized around interesting and important themes and approaches to the study of music, each chapter provides a starting point for a particular topic informed by several case studies that are integrated with video and audio files. A very useful list of key terms and concepts, as well as study questions at the end of each chapter, reinforce the educational effectiveness of the textbook. The book provides material with which it is possible to make the study of music more wide ranging and inclusive, particularly in its aim to dissolve the opposition between so-called Western and non-Western repertoires. It is a rich and stimulating work that can be read, listened to, and used to teach. I recommend What in the World is Music? to students and to instructors. Arnold and Kramer have demonstrated their skills and understanding in the way they have put the project together, and in their ability to broaden our musical horizons."
—Alessandra Ciucci, Associate Professor of Music, Columbia University
"Arnold and Kramer’s What in the World is Music? offers a distinctive structure for undergraduate music appreciation courses. Their work succeeds in flattening pedagogical hierarchies between art and folk music, the sacred and secular, and traditional and popular styles. The textbook makes a point of drawing out unlikely comparisons. A section on Umm Kulthum follows one on Jimmie Rodgers, for example: 'the voice of Egypt' alongside 'the singing brakeman' from Meridian, Mississippi. Arnold and Kramer's textbook offers students robust ways of understanding the material of music (voices and musical instruments), the structure of music (rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, form, genre, style), and the ways in which music is inseparable from social, historical, and political contexts. They make use of a broad catalog of audio and video examples as they scaffold a layered and well-designed student curriculum. As broad as it is creative, What in the World is Music? is a brilliant roadmap for revealing the relevance and radiance of music studies for today’s undergraduate students."
—Jonathan Henderson, Professor of Music, College of the Atlantic
"The second edition of What in the World is Music? offers fascinating, meaning-filled practical experiences, which enable one to understand that music is highly vital to human experience by exemplifying many cases using text, video, and audio files illustrating musical behavior across the globe in an original, simple, but a deeply engaging scholarly way. I highly recommend this ground-breaking, thought-provoking e-textbook for music students, educators, and researchers."
—James Isabirye, Lecturer of Music and Music Education, Kyambogo University (Kampala, Uganda)
"In What in the World is Music?, Alison Arnold and Jonathan Kramer, drawing upon their personally rich, backgrounds, both intersecting and complementary, have created a highly commendable, innovative textbook which stands out among many laudable peers. Although their title question may in the end be definitively unanswerable, they have grappled with it effectively and engagingly through a range of physiological, psychological, philosophical, musically analytical, and sociological approaches and criteria. What in the World is Music? is clearly among the most au courant of extant World Music textbooks in its attention to sound technologies, hybridity, and musical change, as well as the authors' highly imaginative choices of musical traditions. My warmest congratulations to Arnold and Kramer for their imaginative, insightful, and innovative achievement."
—Ted Solis, Professor of Music and Ethnomusicology, Arizona State University
"Asking foundational questions about the nature of music (what is it, what is it made of, where does it come from) and about the way people use it to express their identities, their spirituality, and their place in society allows the authors to survey an astonishing range of human music making, put vastly different musical traditions in conversation with each other, and demonstrate the richness of musical experience that all humans share. This textbook is a most welcome and highly original intervention in the way music can be taught in undergraduate classes."
—Tim Rice, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Ethnomusicology, UCLA
"A decorous envisioning of World Music in its transcendental and diverse nature. Jonathan and Alison bring us yet another updated edition of What in the World is Music? considering how World Music has evolved since their first edition. This second edition e-textbook is a timely contribution to Ethnomusicology and general music scholarship, as well as the Social Sciences and general humanities globally. Their transcontinental perspectives are represented with diversified case studies that rightly articulate World Music in its broadest sense. It is indeed an essential companion for every undergraduate music program internationally."
—Nicholas Ssempijja, Lecturer in Music, Makerere University (Uganda)
"In the second edition of What in the World is Music?, Arnold and Kramer have compiled a monumental array of audio and video examples demonstrating the diversity of musical activity around the world. This text investigates not just the 'what' but also the 'how' and the 'why' of music making, illustrated through myriad case studies. Framed through the themes of identity, the sacred, and the social, What in the World is Music? leads students to decipher musical meanings using analytical, contextual, semiotic, and performative lenses. This inquiry-guided approach provides the tools for students to engage thoughtfully with any music… anywhere."
—Gavin Douglas, Professor of Ethnomusicology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro