The Middle East, home to many of the world’s oldest civilizations and major religions, remains a region of remarkable cultural diversity. From the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1922 to the Arab Spring and the current refugee crisis, this vast territory has experienced extraordinary political and social change over the past nearly one hundred years. While often riven by conflict, the Middle East is also a site of ever-renewing intellectual, artistic, and political movements. The musical soundtrack of the Middle East is animated by shifting social environments and ongoing intercultural encounters. Arabs, Turks, Persians, Jews, Kurds, Greeks, Berbers, Armenians, Assyrians, and many other groups all claim unique forms of musical expression, often mirroring their diverse environments. In this course we will examine nearly a century of music-making in the Middle East and its intersections with religious practices, nationalism, gender, sexuality, language, ethnicity, protest movements, and migration. Through an exploration of elite, popular, folk, and sacred music, among others, we will attempt to make sense of the rich and varied soundscapes of the modern Middle East. Though we will also discuss musical structures and terminology, no prior musical training is necessary for this course.