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

News

Meet Monica Lim, Master of Music (Research) in Interactive Composition student

22 April 2021
Monica Lim’s practice investigates the composition of sound through movement. Her electromagnetic piano, created in collaboration with composer and lecturer David Shea f...

Bridging ethnic divides at the Mitrovica Rock School: an interview with Dr Gillian Howell

10 March 2021
Dr Gillian Howell's research investigates the contributions of music and participatory arts to post-war peace, reconciliation, cultural development and community cohesion. Her...

Hiraeth: a new solo guitar work to celebrate 100 years since Manuel de Falla's Homenaje a Debussy

8 March 2021
A century to the day since Spanish composer Manuel de Falla's iconic Homenaje a Debussy enjoyed its first major performance, Ken Murray performs a new companion piece com...