Music of East Asia:Tradition, Modernity and Globalisation


What is the music of East Asia? What does its music tell us about the region and its people?

East Asia is a geocultural unit including countries that have historically shared some ideological and cultural features. Mainly referring to China, Korea and Japan, East Asian countries have interacted with one another and have been exchanging influences on other cultures not only within but also outside the region including other parts of Asia, the Middle East and as far as Europe and North America.

Viewing music as a social and cultural manifestation, this course investigates how East Asian countries have been transformed in this and past centuries from both local and global perspectives; what social backdrops and variables have affected the particular shaping of places and identities in East Asia; and what frame of reference music presents us to better understand its societies and cultures.

Various case studies drawn on the range of East Asian musical genres will help students to gain insights into distinctive constructions of individual local identities by means of cultivating each country’s own indigenous cultures in relation to the discursive changes brought by the rapid process of globalisation. At the same time the course will contemplate the ways in which a collective cultural identity, generally referred to as “East Asian”, is constructed, perceived, contested and negotiated.


Coursework only



Availability 2023

Not offered in 2023; planned for 2024




ANTHRO 329: 15 points


30 points at Stage II