Global and Popular Musics
Explore the diversity of the world’s people and their music through our interdisciplinary Global and Popular Musics program.
Opportunities to create and explore abound, with a multitude of courses, concerts and performances. Learn about Indian raga music or Tuvan throat singing. Perform in the Union College Zakuro-Daiko Japanese Drumming Ensemble and Global fusion band. Or study with Indonesian master performers on the island of Bali, renowned for its outstanding artists.
Our program is directed by a full-time ethnomusicologist and offered through the departments of music and anthropology. It focuses on Africa and the African Diaspora, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America. Students take a range of courses that reveal the intersection of music and cultural anthropology. They develop skills in ethnographic methods, and encounter specific musical styles and cultures through hands-on performance and academic study. A number of courses focus on diversity, social justice and community engagement.
The World Music Studio, located in the Taylor Music Center, is home to a variety of global instruments and an extensive music library. Instruments include a large collection of Japanese percussion, strings and flutes, as well as the Union College gamelan gong kebyar (a Balinese orchestra of gongs and xylophones). Zakuro Daiko also enjoys rehearsing in this space.
Our faculty-led winter break mini-term in Bali is an intensive study of the performing arts, featuring group instruction with master performers in gamelan and dance. Private lessons, live performances, studies of related arts forms, and visits to key cultural and historic venues round out this program.
Those with a minor in Global and Popular Musics gain cross-cultural knowledge as well as skills such as research, critical thinking and writing, which are invaluable in any field. In fact, most students who study music at Union go on to careers in medicine, law, business and math. Several pursue Ph.D.s in ethnomusicology, which can lead to jobs in academia, public sector work, arts programming, cultural societies and more. Others have secured jobs as performers, conductors, composers and lyricists.