Nation, Region and Ethnicity

You will be writing about a nation, region or ethnicity that is not represented in the textbook. Students can easily reference which nations are covered by the textbook by scanning the home page of the C4E course. . 

As you consider your selection, please do not select any area that is native to you, or that you that you have a fair amount of experience with. Consider this paper to be an opportunity for a more in-depth study of a specific foreign culture that interests you.

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Once you have selected your location, you will need to conduct research into the general culture and customs of the place, the musical traditions of the place and how that music fits into the wider overall culture. Simultaneously, you should sample a variety of musical recordings from the location and eventually select three pieces of music that you will write about in your paper. Be sure to document your sources and your recordings.

Your paper should be organized into several distinct sections:

Cultural, Historical and Geographical Overview

This section should endeavor to briefly summarize the nature of of area’s culture (especially music) and how it has been shaped by the history and geography of the area. Cultural exchange with neighboring areas or trading partners is a potentially interesting area of exploration, as is the way in which music relates to other art forms. This portion of the paper should provide the reader with a framework for understanding the context of the musical examples. This section will likely be a minimum of 1.5 – 2 pages, however I’m more concerned with the quality of the writing than I am with length.

Three Musical Examples

The student should explore a wide variety of musical selections from the area. While doing so, keep the following things in mind.

  1. The student will eventually select three musical examples that will be written about in the paper.
  2. Students would be wise to select musical examples that they enjoy, and that they feel comfortable writing about. Topics to be covered for each example will include background information on the artist(s), composer(s), performer(s), any relevant cultural information, and an aural analysis which makes good use of a wide selection of the musical terms we learned in chapter 2. This analysis should also include information about the instruments used and their classifications, along with a description of how they are played.
  3. Much of the music will likely prove to be difficult to conduct research on. Before selecting an example to be included in your paper be sure to search the internet to get an idea of how much information exists.
  4. Provide a link to each musical example in the body of your paper and in your sources section.

Each musical example will likely take ⅔ to one page, but again this is just a rough guide.

Remember that resources for finding world music recordings have been listed at this link, however students are welcome to search other resources:


Your conclusion should make some “wrap up” statements about what you learned about your chosen area. Also, address any issues that may still not be resolved for you. Don’t be reluctant to address any issues that aren’t easily resolved or have negative or ambiguous outcomes. I am not necessarily looking for a neatly wrapped up conclusion with no loose ends. I am looking for a conscientious, thoughtful look at the assigned topics in your area, sharing of the major ideas you uncovered regarding the music or the culture, and any unanswered questions, if any, you are still dealing with.

The conclusion section will likely be ½ to one page.


Link to your musical selections here.

Cite your sources using your choice of MLA or APA formats.


Submit your papers as text entry directly in Canvas, or you may upload a file as Microsoft Word or PDF formats.

A portion of this assignment borrowed from plans made by Virginia Montecino at George Mason University.

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