Undergraduate Program

The undergraduate major in Ethnomusicology provides students with a wide-ranging liberal arts education in music. At its core, this includes (1) comprehensive knowledge of music cultures of the world, (2) understanding of the interrelationship of music, society, and culture, (3) grounding in the basics of Western music theory and musicianship, and (4) the experience of playing in one or several musical ensembles from various traditions around the world.

The major is offered with two concentrations: one in Jazz Studies, and one in World Music.

Ethnomusicology majors are also eligible to fulfill a Music Industry minor.

Graduate Program

At the graduate level, the department offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in ethnomusicology with a specialization in systematic musicology. An MM in Jazz Performance is offered through the Music Department. See Monk Institute Masters in Jazz Program for more information.

Description of the Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

Instruction in ethnomusicology tries to achieve a balance between understanding the important intellectual issues in ethnomusicology and depth of specialization in one or more of the world's music-culture areas, including Africa, Europe, the Americas, west, east, south, and southeast Asia. The sounds and structure of music and musical performance are central features of faculty research and teaching, along with interpretations of the complexities of musical sound in social and cultural terms. Underlying the curriculum is a commitment to the theoretical and analytical study of music as well as to the performance of the music and involvement in its cultural context. In-residence performance faculty support this goal by providing the opportunity for students to participate in ensembles from some ten different cultures.

Students in the world music undergraduate concentration may, through elective courses, prepare for a variety of career goals, including the study of ethnomusicology in graduate school, composing and performing music, working in the music industry, serving society in the nonprofit sector, or becoming a K-12 music teacher.

In systematic musicology, laboratory research in acoustics, psychoacoustics, and psychology of music has focused on musical communication and expression; music, film, and animation; natural and synthetic instrument timbres; gamelan acoustics and tuning; music perception and cognition, and computer applications in music research. Philosophical work in the program is applying the insights of continental philosophers such as Hans-Georg Gadamer, Martin Heidegger, and Paul Ricoeur to music and to concepts of musical culture and tradition.

In jazz studies, students develop skills in performing, interpreting, and composing a wide variety of music. They learn the art of improvisation, which encourages them to discover their own musical styles. Students also study the styles of other performers and composers and how they developed them. Classes include jazz theory, history, composition and arranging, keyboard harmony, and a variety of combos.