Welcome to the companion website for Pieces of the Musical World: Sounds and Cultures, edited by Rachel Harris and Rowan Pease.

Pieces of the Musical World: Sounds and Cultures is a fieldwork-based ethnomusicology textbook that introduces a series of musical worlds each through a single “piece.” It focuses on a musical sound or object that provides a springboard from which to tell a story about a particular geographic region, introducing key aspects of the cultures in which it is embedded, contexts of performance, the musicians who create or perform it, the journeys it has travelled, and its changing meanings.

A collaborative venture by staff and research ethnomusicologists associated with the Department of Music at SOAS, University of London, Pieces of the Musical World is organized thematically. Three broad themes: “Place,” “Spirituality,” and “Movement” help teachers to connect contemporary issues in ethnomusicology, including soundscape studies, music and the environment, the politics of identity, diaspora and globalization, and music and the body. Each of the book’s 14 chapters highlights a single musical “piece” broadly defined, spanning the range of “traditional,” “popular,” “classical,” and “contemporary” musics, and even sounds that might be considered “not music.”

This dynamic website includes many resources for students and instructors, including:

  • Interactive listening guides
  • Glossary of musical terms
  • Additional audio and video
  • Image gallery
  • Links to further resources