The World of Cuban Music

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Arts & Department of Music

Module overview

Though a relatively small island, Cuba has produced some of the most influential and important dance music since the early decades of the 20th century, and has also made a huge impact on jazz, popular music and contemporary music in Africa.

Now in the new millennium, the current massive popularity of Cuban projects such as Buena Vista Social Club has put Cuban music back in the limelight.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

This module aims to provide an understanding of the roots,developments and current trends of Cuban dance music -ie what the Cubans call "MUSICA BAILABLE" -, tracing its various sources from Africa, Spain, and the Latin Caribbean, and looking at the impact of political events particularly since the 1959 revolution.

The module focuses on the island of Cuba (opposed to music in the Cuban Diaspora), though it will also touch briefly on cross-fertilizations with dance music in Africa and with the wider world of salsa.


  • 2 hours per week

Method of assessment

  • 750-word formative essay outline (worth 20% of marks)
  • 2,000-word essay (worth 40%)
  • Aural exam (2 30-minute exams) (worth 40%)


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