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MITx: World Music: Global Rhythms

Learn to recognize, feel and play rhythms from around the world

World Music: Global Rhythms
5 weeks
5–6 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

6,822 already enrolled! After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Dec 4

About this course

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In this course, you’ll be learning about musical rhythm from across the world. You don’t have to read music notation to take this course; you don’t have to play an instrument. You don’t need to know any special musical terminology or theory to begin; You will learn all the concepts you need as we go… and the terminology and how it varies across the world. The course will explore music from all over the world and throughout time, from traditional African music, to Balinese Gamelan, to classical Japanese, Indian, and Western music, to contemporary reggaetone and punk music. You will learn how to recognize specific kinds of rhythms, and follow their development through time and around the world. You will also learn how different cultures developed different styles and ideas about rhythm, meter, melody and structure, and learn to start to distinguish some main ideas. So whether you’re a virtuoso violinist or tabla player, or your main musical expertise is singing in the shower, all you need to succeed in this course is curiosity and a willingness to jump in with both feet.

At a glance

  • Institution: MITx
  • Subject: Music
  • Level: Introductory
  • Prerequisites:


  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated skills: Curiosity, Virtuoso, World Music, Violin, Musical Notation

What you'll learn

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  • Learn to recognize important global rhythms, understand some of their history and how they have impacted contemporary music
  • Learn to feel and play these rhythms
  • Concepts and techniques of rhythm and metric structure

Week 1: Meter and Beat

Week 2: Cycles and Timelines

Week 3: Rhythm Details

Week 4: Texture

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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