EMU5400EN - Fundamentals of Music in African Cultures

Course description

Africa is a vast continent comprising many different cultures. However, common traits can still be found in its musical norms and traditions. In this course, students gain an in-depth knowledge of how African music is used, learned and performed, with numerous examples to illustrate its various characteristics.

How this course benefits students

Students end the course confident they have the tools to study, understand and analyse music from the African continent, and are able to apply this knowledge to missional work across Africa, particularly in terms of ethnodoxology and contextualizing the Gospel.

Why this course is important

Without a clear understanding of what makes African music 'tick', it is easy for Western missional workers to make errors of understanding in their mission work. This course enables students to engage in missional work with knowledge and authority, with a real understanding of the artistic, spiritual and social elements of African culture.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

In Matthew 28, Christ told his disciples to "go into all the world and preach the Good News". Jesus used parables to teach; this was a means of contextualizing the Gospel for those listening. In the same way, using indigenous artforms is a powerful tool for communication.

Missionally driven

We cannot easily evangelize if we do not understand the culture we seek to reach. Understanding African music and culture is a crucial part of being missional, and shows that Christ came for all peoples.

Contextually informed

Understanding how music differs in an African context from the Western one enables students to effectively engage in missional work.

Interculturally focused

It is this knowledge which enables students to be intercultural, and to apply their knowledge to intercultural missional work and worship.

Practically minded

The professor spent many years studying and promoting indigenous worship in Africa, and so draws upon this vast knowledge and experience to provide practical insights for students.

Experientially transformed

Students engage in ethnographic research of an African culture, as well as practical musical tasks to build knowledge and experience.