From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The term world music includes traditional music (sometimes called folk music or roots music) of any culture that are created and played by indigenous musicians, including Western music (e. g. Celtic music). Most typically, the term world music has now replaced folk music as a shorthand description for the very broad range of recordings of traditional indigenous music and song from around the world.
The term World music includes:
- Traditional music (sometimes called folk music or roots music) of any culture that are created and played by indigenous musicians or that are "closely informed or guided by indigenous music of the regions of their origin", including Western music (ie. Celtic music). Most typically, the term "world music" has now replaced "folk music" as a shorthand description for the very broad range of recordings of traditional indigenous music and song from around the world
- Other non-Western music (including non-Western popular music and non-Western classical music)
The term "World music" does not include:
- Western popular music
- Western Art music (ie. European classical music)
The term became current in the 1980s as a marketing/classificatory device in the media and the music industry, and it is generally used to classify any kind of non-Western music.
In musical terms, world music can be roughly defined as music that uses distinctive ethnic scales, modes and musical inflections, and which is usually (though not always) performed on or accompanied by distinctive traditional ethnic instruments, such as the kora (West African harp), the steel drum, the sitar or the didgeridoo.
There are several conflicting definitions for world music. One is that it consists of "all the music in the world", though such a broad definition renders the word virtually meaningless. The term also is taken as a classification of music that combines western popular music styles with one of many genres of non-Western music that were previously described as folk music or ethnic music. However, world music is not exclusively traditional folk music. It may refer to the indigenous classical forms of various regions of the world, and to modern, cutting edge pop music styles as well.
Music from around the world exerts wide cross-cultural influence as styles naturally influence one another, and in recent years world music has also been marketed as a successful genre in itself. Academic study of world music, as well as the musical genres and individual artists with which it has been associated, can be found in such disciplines as anthropology, Folkloristics, Performance Studies and Ethnomusicology.