World Musics | Arts and Science ONLINE

World Musics

MUSC 289/3.0

An introduction to the study of music in culture, based on world music traditions. The course focuses on a selection of Native North American, African, European, eastern and Middle Eastern, as well as other musical contexts.

Please note: This course is typically offered in the winter term

Learning Outcomes

After completing MUSC 289, students will be able to:

  1. Identify elements of different music systems and differentiate universal and cultural elements.
  2. Analyze examples of musical fusion as types of cultural exchange.
  3. Explain connections between musical and cultural values and musical and social structures in a variety of traditions and societies.
  4. Assess the relationship between sonic expression and human society.
  5. Evaluate and critique concepts of musical tradition and community to interpret social constructions of musical meaning.


MUSC 289 is an introduction to the study of music in culture, based on world music traditions and evolutions. The human process of music-making is a global phenomenon and nearly a human universal, yet it offers an immense diversity of experience and meanings. This course enables students to explore these experiences and meanings, and to create their own understanding of a world of musics.

In this course, students will expand their general musical vocabulary and understanding, allowing them to connect musical practices and sounds around the globe. We will explore traditional as well as contemporary music-making in a variety of cultures, and apply sociological theory to examine how music functions to affect and reflect cultural norms.

The course is an essential stepping stone for students of musicology, but also serves as engaging learning for students whose educational path includes music for interest sake alone.

Please note the significant, mandatory group-work component of the course. Students must be prepared to work cooperatively with classmates to meet several peer-established deadlines.


To be determined
Course Dates: 
Exam Dates: 


15% - Tests (x3)
10% - World Music Issue Group Discussion
20% - Performance Analysis Group Project with Peer Review
20% - Mythology Essay (Individual Submission)
35% - Take-Home Final Exam

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Live Sessions

This course has optional live sessions (e.g. webinars, synchronous activities).

Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.


Professor Robb MacKay (

Instructor message

Robbie MacKay is a Lecturer at Queen's School of Music, and a Special Education teacher in the Limestone District School Board. His research areas include the effects of gender in music education and, more broadly, social justice issues in education. When he's making music, Mr. MacKay is primarily a drummer amd percussionist. At Queen's, he also teaches MUSC 171 "The Social History of Popular Music."


Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 9 - 10 hours per week (108 - 120 hours per term) on study, practice and online activity for MUSC 289.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks, if required, can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.