Organology – ETHM 514

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

The study of sound instrument classifications and characteristics, their use in Western and non-Western cultures, and the variety of contexts in which instruments are found. Emphasis is also given to recent approaches and uses in the field of organology.




Music instruments form much of the repertoire of music in nearly every culture. They are used in ritual as a means of manipulating spirits and in the praise of God. This course provides a basis for the study and classification of instruments, their symbolic nature (where applicable), how they are used as cultural expression, and how its history may impact its potential for use in Christian worship.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Define classification systems of sound instruments (Program Learner Outcome:
  2. Define the functions of sound instruments (Program Learner Outcome: 1).
  3. Describe the function of sound instruments in culture (Program Outcomes 1, 2)
  4. Describe general characteristics of major music systems of the world through the use of music instruments (Program Outcomes: 1, 3, 4).

Course Assignment

Textbook and Online readings

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (8)

Students are to participate in 8 Discussion Board Forums. Each forum requires the student to post a thread in response to the topic and a reply to at least 2 classmates’ threads. Threads should be at least 250 words and replies 100 words. Topics are based on the Reading & Study of each 2 module/week section.

Reflection Papers (3)

Three Reflection Papers based on organology will be written in this course. Each paper will be 1,000 words (or 3–4 pages) and written based on current Turabian style. Topics will be provided during the course as well as a grading rubric.  Reflection Papers are due at the end of Modules 2, 4, and 6. 

Final Project

The Final Project will be a 2,000-word (approximately 8 pages) analysis of a non-Western sound instrument selected from a specific ethnic people of interest. The instrument and people group chosen for the Final Project topic should be submitted to the instructor by the end of Module 6.  The project is due at the end of Module 8.