Ethnomusicology students playing the koraGraduate Study

Musicology at The Ohio State University offers post-baccalaureate and post-master’s doctoral degrees and a terminal master’s degree (see Graduate Studies). One of its two programmatic tracks is ethnomusicology.

Our goal is to provide comprehensive and thorough training in ethnomusicological theory, history, methods, and analytical skills through diverse courses, field and lab research projects, and performance. The program carries a special focus on current developments in ethnomusicology, emphasizing humanistic, social scientific, and cognitive approaches. For our students, these approaches are strengthened through regular interdisciplinary study within the College of Arts and Sciences, with course offerings in anthropology, linguistics, psychology, music cognition, speech and hearing science, neuroscience, philosophy, comparative studies, theater, and dance studies.

Regional expertise of the faculty covers a variety of geographical areas: Eastern and Central Europe, Africa, North America, China, Southeast Asia, Australia, Madagascar, the Andes, and the Antilles. Faculty research interests include music and devotion; colonialism and post-colonialism; recollecting the past; music and emotion; identity, continuity, and change in music culture; morality, ethics, and aesthetics; cosmopolitanism and popular culture; phenomenology; cultural policy; music and the brain; music in oral cultures; and musical evolution.

Of particular interest is the program’s sub-specialization in Cognitive Ethnomusicology, unique in the nation. Cognitive ethnomusicology relates cultural and biological factors of music making and experience. It aims to understand how and to what extent cognitive processes in music production and perception are influenced by cultural factors. The program is oriented toward a broad and thorough training in theory and methods (field as well as laboratory) in cognitive ethnomusicology. Studies emphasize affective-emotional factors and the embodiment of musical knowledge, cognition, and experience. Research facilities include our own Ethnomusicology Laboratory, as well as other associated university labs (such as the music cognition lab and EEG lab).

All students are encouraged to enrich their studies through participation in ensembles and workshops on various musical traditions. Current ensembles include the African performing ensembles (kora and West African drums), steel pan band, Andean ensemble, and Afropop ensemble. The School of Music also offers jazz combos as well as the gospel and spiritual choir.

Through a significant ongoing university grant to the ethnomusicology program, funding is available to support student field research, offer graduate research associateships, maintain a state-of-the-art research laboratory; and support conferences and residencies of visiting artists and scholars. Other school and university funding opportunities include graduate teaching associateships, graduate administrative associateships, and fellowships and research grants offered by the Graduate School and the university’s regional study centers.