Program Overview

The study of ethnomusicology is an all encompassing field, delving into a study of music that emphasizes specific cultural, social, material, cognitive and biological contexts.  The term is translated from the Greek words ethnos (nation) and mousike (music), and is often considered the ethnography of music.  The emergence of multi-cultural interaction throughout the world has created an important field of study in music education and music performance.  

The Ethnomusicology program teaches students to recognize the multiple music systems that are intrinsic to cultures just as the different written and spoken languages. The graduates who acquire the basic understanding of the music of a foreign culture can be a vital resource when gaining the trust and acceptance of its people.  

The masters level curriculum combines aspects of folklore, psychology, cultural anthropology and conventional musicology with the core courses of study to give students a comprehensive understanding of the importance of music within cultural diversity.  The multiple disciplines that create the Ethnomusicology degree emphasize the necessity of educated researchers.  The field of cultural music study came into existence to study non-Western music and contrast the Western art and music, and researchers then developed analysis of cultural traits that seperated the individuals.  The study of ethnomusicology views music beyond the artistic perspective, and instead views music as a reflection of a culture.   

The 42-credit-hour program will give students the opportunity to gain an understanding of the role an ethnomusicologist performs in the development of social interactions.  The study of ethnomusicology has four basic components that encompass the needed portions of interest.  The concepts are divided into: 

  1. Scholarship and Research: academic readings, history and theories of application.  
  2. Skill Development: non-Western music theories, alternate systems of notation, transcription and analysis of music, cultural analysis.  
  3. Performance: applied study and/or ensemble performance in ethnic music.  
  4. Application: field experience (internship), thesis or project.

The Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology degree provides the advanced study curriculum of world music for students seeking national or international careers.  The degree program requires students to complete an intense four-course residency, three-credit hour thesis and a three-credit hour field research project within the 42 credit hours, prior to graduation.  

The program emphasizes the importance of research and field experience in the study of Ethnomusicology.  The entire program will culminate with a students comprehensive understanding of collected data and analysis.  The different variations among fieldwork can give students the options to study abroad, live with the culture being studied and embrace the importance of face-to-face interaction to gather the most accurate meaning of music within a culture.

The advanced technology of recording devices have evolved from wax cylinders to the phonograph and now to digital recordings and video.  Modern researchers are now able to study the entire musical performance, the people and the costumes of a specific culture in addition to the sound of the music.

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    Degree Level: Master

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