Ethnomusicology

Explore how people around the world use music and sound to shape their lives.

Ethnomusicology at the Conservatorium

Our students examine how culture shapes music—and how music shapes culture. By studying the practices, values and ideas related to music making in a particular culture, we seek to make broader claims about social life in the modern world.

Our program is defined by its methods, which include ethnographic fieldwork, interviewing, and participant observation, as well as its questions, which draw from approaches in anthropology, media studies and other related disciplines. Our program is closely allied with Musicology and popular music studies.

Study Ethnomusicology

We will provide you with multiple pathways into learning about traditional, popular, and art musics from around the world. Undergraduate Bachelor of Music students can apply to major in ethnomusicology, taking a guided program of specialised study. Graduate student study options include the Graduate Diploma (by coursework) and research higher degrees (MMus and PhD).


Undergraduate students from other areas of the University can learn about non-Western traditions and popular music styles through related breadth study subjects such as Musics of the World, Global Pop, and Area Studies in Ethnomusicology.

World music performance ensembles

We support a diverse world music performance program featuring five non-Western ensembles. As a student, you will have the opportunity to acquire practical skills in a range of traditions, including the Chinese silk-and-bamboo ensemble, the Central Javanese gamelan, West African drumming, Japanese shakuhachi, and world choral styles.

Ethnomusicology courses

The most enjoyable part of my study is learning about cultural diversity through the wide array of music found around the world. Everything from Japanese rap to Brazilian samba to Hindustani classical music — it is incredibly compelling

James McKinnon
Bachelor of Music, specialisation in Ethnomusicology
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Conservatorium Events

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Wednesday 3 Jul 2019 at 11:00am
The Ian Potter Southbank Centre
‘Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue’ is a solo trombone recital exploring the conversations trombone creates. American composer TJ Anderson’s ‘Minstrel Man’ explores the unique and personal aspect of African American music. Prokofiev’s ‘Five Melodies’ is a vocal workout...

Guitar Perspectives Concert 1 - Meng Su

Friday 2 Aug 2019 at 7:30pm
The Ian Potter Southbank Centre
Meng Su began studying the guitar at the age of 5 and showed her talents from an early age under the guidance of Professor Chen Zhi at the Central Conservatory in Beijing. Multifaceted guitarist Meng Su is captivating audiences around the world with her stunning virtuosity and refined artistry. In a...

Guitar Perspectives - Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Guitar Showcase

Saturday 3 Aug 2019 at 1:00pm
The Ian Potter Southbank Centre
A concert featuring current students and alumni of the MCM guitar area. These solo performances will draw on styles that are integral to the MCM guitar program, especially classical, contemporary, flamenco and Brazilian repertoire. Four works commissioned by Guitar Perspectives will be heard tog...

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