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Exploring the World of Music

Distributed by Annenberg Learner, PO Box 55742, Indianapolis, IN 46205-0742; 800-532-7637
Produced by Pacific Street Films and the Educational Film Center with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Telefis Eireann in Ireland, and Teleac/NOT in the Netherlands
Directed by Martin D. Toub
VHS, color, 12 min.
Jr. High - Adult

Reviewed by Brad Eden, Ph.D., Head, Web and Digitization Services, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   

Exploring the World of Music is a 6 hour program designed to be an introduction to music fundamentals from a world music perspective, or ethnomusicological point of view. The 12 videocassettes, each 1/2 hour long, can be used in a number of educational settings: in music appreciation, introduction to music, or world music classes in colleges and high schools; as a complete college-level telecourse for distance-learning students; as a library and media center reference for teachers and students of history, anthropology, sociology, ethnic studies, and ethnomusicology; and for lifelong learning at home.

The titles of the 12 videocassettes are:

  1. Sound, Music and the Environment
  2. The Transformative Power of Music
  3. Music and Memory
  4. Transmission: Learning Music
  5. Rhythm
  6. Melody
  7. Timbre: the Color of Music
  8. Texture
  9. Harmony
  10. Form: the Shape of Music
  11. Composers and Improvisors
  12. Music and Technology

Coordinated materials that are available for use with this series include: a Reader/Guide of original essays, a Faculty Manual, and 3 CDs or audiocassettes that contain 64 audio selections from the videos.

This reviewer examined a preview video of the entire series that included a general introduction to the videocassettes and the entire content of volume #8 on Texture.

The series focuses on music from an ethnomusicological point of view, which is distinctly different from past music appreciation teaching approaches, which examine music from the perspective of the Western classical music tradition. In videocassette #8, the concepts of monophony, heterophony, homophony, and polyphony are examined in the context of world music traditions such as Japanese music, modern Australian choral music, Jamaican streetbands, Bosnia/Herzogovina traditional choral groups, Western classical chamber music, Irish folk music, and various other ethnic cultures.

Music appreciation that integrates world music into the traditional teaching curriculum has been gaining adherents for the past decade, and this video series is an excellent compilation and explanation of the fundamentals of music incorporating both Western classical and world music traditions into the classroom. Highly recommend, there is potential in this series for reaching out to music students of various ethnic and religious backgrounds whose exposure to the Western classical music tradition is limited and of little value in their everyday life, but who wish to learn and gain knowledge about the fundamentals of music in a way that is both familiar and geared toward the understanding of music from a world perspective.

Each of the videocassettes costs $24.95 separately, or the 12 videocassettes can be purchased together for $269. Telecourse prices include $500 per semester plus $20 per student for the license, off-air taping is $150 per series, off-satellite taping is $250 plus $150 for Adult Learning Satellite Services Associates.