What in the World is Music? is an interactive electronic textbook/print book package designed for the World Music undergraduate survey course or for a Music Appreciation course more inclusive than the traditional survey of Western music history. This e-textbook explores the ways humans experience and organize sound, and the contexts in which music takes place. Examining the uses of music deepens our insights both into its nature and into the nature of those who make, enjoy, move, and live surrounded by music.

What in the World is Music? features integrated multimedia resources that are central to the curriculum. These consist of nearly three hundred video clips and over sixty audio tracks, all accessed directly through the online e-text. The print book is available with the purchase of the interactive e-textbook at no extra cost. The purpose of the print book is to provide a convenience for re-reading and studying offline. Users may also download the e-text onto their computer or mobile device for offline reading. Instructions inside the front cover of the print textbook explain how to access the interactive electronic textbook.

For details on the innovative textbook content, please visit this Routledge webpage.


Most audio examples come via the music streaming service, Spotify. Both students and instructors need to create a free account. Sign up at Free Spotify for log-in.