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 fourteen chapters highlights a single musical "piece" broadly defined, spanning the range of "traditional," "popular", "classical" and "contemporary" musics, and even sounds which might be considered "not music."
Primary sources and a web site hosting recordings with interactive listening guides, a glossary of musical terms and interviews all help to create a unique and dynamic learning experience of our musical world.