Course Description

Approaches to, and use of, music in world cultures. Impact of world music on the western art music tradition.

This class will study the music of selected world cultures from the perspective of ethnomusicology. Students will survey musical traditions within six geographical areas for the music itself and for the music’s cultural significance. The cultural exploration of music will include social structures, politics, ritual, globalization, history, and identity. The geographical areas of interest are India, East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia, Latin America, and Native America. In addition, students will investigate the combination of Western (European and American) music and non-Western music from the areas above.

This course fulfills the Inquiry Arts (IA) piece of the Montana State University CORE Curriculum or 3 credits of the Fine Arts degree requirement in liberal studies.

NOTE: Music majors (MUED, MUS, & MTEC) who attend classes on the MSU Bozeman campus are NOT ALLOWED to take this online course unless given special permission by the instructor.

Meeting Place and Times



David Charles.


David Charles teaches in the School of Music, the College of Letters and Science, the American Studies Program, and the Liberal Studies Program at Montana State University. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in composition and theory from the University of South Carolina, where he studied jazz piano and composition. He earned a Master of Music degree in ethnomusicology from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied under Stephen Slawek (who is an acknowledged disciple of Ravi Shankar) and Gerard Béhague. While at UT, he also studied composition with Donald Grantham and was the keyboardist for the Afropop band Easy Motion Tourist. He taught piano privately to young people and adults for many years, first in Austin and then in Bozeman. In and around Bozeman, he has performed a variety of styles of American popular music. His primary interests are African-American music and culture as well as the music and culture of North India

Tuition and Fees

If you are accepted into a qualified online program, see the appropriate MSU Online Only Tuition and Fee table.

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please refer to the MSU Fee Schedule

Required Books/Materials

Excursions in World Music - Package
Edition: 7th edition
Author(s): Timothy Rommen, et al.
Publisher: Routledge / Taylor & Francis Group, 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1138666443
Price (new): $145 (approximately)

Misc. Info: This textbook can be found at most online retail book stores and at the MSU Bookstore.


Computer Requirements:

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

 This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

For course information, please contact David Charles.


How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.