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


Hannah Shin wins top prize at the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition

1 March 2022
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music graduates, Hannah Shin (Bachelor of Music 2021) and Tian Tian Lan (Diploma of Music Studies 2020) were awarded first and second place at the...

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Leanne McGowan wins Dorcas McClean Travelling Scholarship

14 February 2022
Leanne McGowan has been awarded the Dorcas McClean Travelling Scholarship, Australia’s richest prize for young violinists....