nb: to be expanded and adapted to suit Semester sytsem


This course will introduce graduate and upper undergraduate students (music majors and students from
related disciplines such as anthropology, folklore, dance and sociology) to the origins of and trends in
the field of ethnomusicology by addressing the following:
ethnomusicology as a branch of systematic musicology;
interdisciplinary background--folklore, anthropology, linguistics, and sociology;
"comparative musicology," its methods and objects of study;
leading scholars and their representative works;
the holistic study of music, music as culture, the relevance of performance theories, and examination of
specific contexutal studies that approach music making as a multidimensional event. The course will also
examine selective topics from contemporary practices and perspectives in order to clarify the development
of ethnomusicology. A fieldwork assignment will allow students an opportunity to practice and verify some
of the ideas, techniques, and tools discussed in class.
A comprehensive reading list will be distributed on the first day of class.


3 short reports/assignments (a book report, exercise in transcription, one other oral report), and a fieldwork project.

REQUIRED TEXT (essays will be assigned from the comprehensive list)
Nettl, Bruno 1983 The Study of Ethnomusicology: Twenty-Nine Issues and Concepts Urbana: University Illinois Press

Kafuman Shelemay, Kay ed. 1992 Ethnomusicology: History, Definitions, and Scope--
A Core Collection of Scholarly Articles
. New York: Garland

Supplementary texts
Blacking, John 1973 How Musical is Man? Seattle: University of Washington Press

Herndon, Marcia and Norma McLeod 1980 Music as Culture. Darby, PA: Norwood Editions

Herndon, Marcia and Norma McLeod 1980 The Ethnography of Musical Performance Darby, PA: Norwood Editions

Merriam, Alan 1964 The Anthropology of Music Evanston: Northwestern University Press

Myers, Helen, ed. : Ethnomusicology: An Introduction. New York: Norton.



--course overview

--ethnomusicology in universities and colleges

--career opportunities in ethnomusicology

--discussion of book review assignment

--written comments (students' own definitions of "folk music")

Assigned Reading:

Nettl, "The IFMC/ICTM and the Development of Ethnomusicology in the United States," Yearbook for Traditional Music, 20(1988):19-25

Nettl, The Study of Ethnomusicology, pp. 1-11


--beginnings of ethnomusicology in amateur musical and ethnographic journalism

of the 18th and 19th centuries

--impact of World Expositions/Fairs, and Ethnographic Expeditions and the construction of the "the other" in early ethnomusicological accounts

--the movement toward "origins" and "evolution" and its impact on the conceptions of "primitive music" and "gesunkenes Kulturgut/vulgus in populo"

Assigned Reading:

Nettl, The Study of Ethnomusicology..., pp. 163-171; 187-196

Canadian Folk Music Society, What is Folk Music? [article on reserve]

Elbourne, R.P., The Question of Definition [article on reserve]

Booth, Gregory; Terry, Lee Kuhn, Economic and Transmission Factors as Essental Elements n the Definition of Folk, Art, and Pop Music [article on reserve]


--discussion of assigned readings on definitions of "folk music"

--ethnomusicology as a branch of systematic musicology

(discussion of Guido Adler's scheme)

--roots and examples of "Comparative Musicology"

(representative works from Ellis, Stumpf, Hornbostel, Densmore, etc)

--the trend toward global perspectives

Assigned Reading:

Nettl, The Study of Ethnomusicology..., pp. 52-64.

Mugglestone, Guido Adler's "The Scope, Method, and Aim of Musicology" (1885): An English Translation with an Historico-Analytical Commentary" [article on reserve]

Merriam, Anthropology of Music, pp.3-16


--continuation of the discussion of representative works

--the case for "ethno-musicology"

--the shift toward ethnography and the influence of anthropological theories and methods ( (Radcliffe-Brown, Merton, Boas, Malinowski, etc.)

--(Merriam's tripartite model--sound-concept-behavior)

--the study of music in culture and as culture

Assigned Reading:

Nettl, The Study of Ethnomusicology, pp.131-161

Merriam, The Anthropology of Music, pp. 17-35; 37-60; 63-84

Herdon & McLeod, Music as Culture (introduction, Bauman's chapter on "context,"

Herndon & McLeod, The Ethnography of Musical Performance (introduction, chapter by Seeger, and others to be announced)

Blacking, "The Study of Man as Music Maker" [article on researve]


--"Context" in the study of ethnomusicology (contributions from folklore, sociolinguistics, and anthropology)

--the importance of fieldwork in ethnomusicology

(discussion of methods, techniques, and relevant theories)

Assigned Reading:

[as above] +

Qureshi, "Musical Sound and Contextual Input: A Performance Model for Musical Analysis." [article on reserve]

Porter, "Jeannie Robertson's My son David, A Conceptual Performance Model," Journal of the American Folklore Society 89(1976):7-26 [on reserve]

Merriam, Anthropology of Music, pp.209-227


--continuation of "fieldwork;"

--"bimusicality," participant-observer/observer-participant

--values and problems of outsider/insider (etic-emic) knowledge

Assigned Reading:

Nettl, The Study of Ethnomusicology, pp. 259-269

Special issue of The World of Music on etics/emics of ethnomusicological research

[on reserve]


--transcription as an analytical tool; prescriptive and descriptive writing

--discussion of sample projects in transcription

--bridging the gap between the musicological and the anthropological

Assigned Reading:

Nettl, The Study of Ethnomusicology, pp.79-81

Blacking, "The Study of Man as Music Maker" [article on researve]

Seeger, Charles. "Prescriptive and Descriptive Music Writing ," Music Quarterly 44:184-195.


--oral presentation of book reviews

--pioneer women ethnomusicologist and their contributions to the field

[Laura Boulton, Ida Halpern, Alice Cunningham Fletcher, Frances Densmore, and Helen Roberts]

Assigned Reading:

Boulton, The Music Hunter: The Autobiography of a Career(1969).

selective reading materials on Fletcher & Roberts to be announced


--continuation of "women ethnomusicologists"

--discussion of field projects with emphasis on the application of methods. techniques, and models


--"cantometrics" (its problems and potentials for ethnomusicology

-- ethnomusicology in the Public Sector

--new directions

Assigned Reading:

Lomax, Folk Song Style and Culture

Nettl, The Study of Ethnomusicology, pp.216-233

Special issue of Ethnomusicology devoted to the subject [on reserve]

Rice, Timothy. "Re-modeling Ethnomusicology" [on reserve]

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