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


Thursday 19 Sep 2019 at 6:30pm
The Ian Potter Southbank Centre
Trumpet and Percussion: Nick Hewett Japanese Calligraphy: Junko Azukawa Saxophone: Rob Vincs Electric Guitar: Ashley Cross Percussion: Peter Neville Expat Australian trumpeter Nick Hewett and Japanese calligrapher Junko Azukawa re-unite with Conservatorium colleagues to continue their shared ...


Thursday 19 Sep 2019 at 7:00pm
Grant Street
Jazz sessions and art transmissions curated by students from the Conservatorium’s Jazz & Improvisation program. Featuring special guest performers each week: some old, some borrowed, some outright stolen, and some kind of blue. This program is generously supported by the Lionel Gell Foundation.

Spaces of Life and Death

Saturday 21 Sep 2019 at 7:30pm
The Ian Potter Southbank Centre
Curator/Composer: Eli Simic-Prosic Performers: Tamara Kohler (flutes) Kaylie Melville (percussion) Gemma Kneale (cello) Jacob Abela (piano) Melbourne Conservatorium of Music New Music Ensemble Conductor: Elliott Gyger Conservatorium alumnus Eli-Simic Prosic brings together a ...

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Richard Tognetti: 'Creatives should be able to test the waters and pour in as much acid as they like'

13 September 2019
Richard Tognetti is Artistic Director and leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO). Here, the violinist, composer and conductor reflects on the University of Melbourne...

Master of Creative Arts Therapy: an Australian first at the University of Melbourne

6 September 2019
A new Master of Creative Arts Therapy course has been announced by the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne....

Welcome to the new Director of the Melbourne Conservatorium

9 August 2019
The Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne welcomes a new Director to the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Dr Richard Kurth....