Research Methods in Ethnomusicology,  II (Second Semester)

University of Ghana, Legon


 Course Description
This course offer advanced students opportunities to identify, critique, and apply, selectively, recent developments, debates, and resources in designing sophisticated research projects that significantly extend and challenge traditional notions of  “field” as a bounded, physical space.  The class will examine select debates, innovative tools and paradigms from various disciplinary origins, including those focusing on digital cultures, cyberspace/Internet, social media, and the hypermedia. Advanced Methods level II explores new horizons in defining music, music communities, processes, means, experiences and products, with emphasis on their implications for  developing and employing appropriate tools and technologies in documenting and interpreting them in our contemporary times. This course also reexamines the important dialogic relationships between theory and field or investigative practices in the light of new musical, technological, and demographic resources. Directions in critical ethnography, post-structuralist discourses and related field practices and their recent critiques, new research instrumentations in musical entrainment and perception, advanced  perspectives on emic-etic debates, researcher-as-performer, and doing research in sensitive contexts and among subcultures. Several practical sessions and assignments (and subsequent seminar presentations) involving field and laboratory contexts constitute significant components of the course. Research Methods I is a pre-requisite for this course.


Course Outline
 Week 1
--Music in the mind, cultures in/of the body: Contemporary perspectives on music, dance, synesthesia, and sites of cultural production

Week 2
--Nature of Critical Theories and Implications for Investigative Practices—1
--Special Problems of Survey Research in African Contexts

Week 3
-- Nature of Critical Theories and Implications for Investigative Practices—2:
    Reflexivity, Autoethnography, and gender-oriented paradigms

Week 4
--Doing Research in minority/sub-cultures, sensitive topics
--Researching sacred sites and spiritual ontologies

Week 5
--Emic-Etic Debates and Africanist Practices
--Interdisciplinary resources and Oral History

Week 6
--Survey of current digital technologies for research

Week 6
-- Digital/Cyberspaces as a “field”: Survey and Review of Internet/Cybespace/Social Media resources

Week 7
--Musical Ethnography of Western Art Music practices

Week 7
--Participatory-Action Research: Music in Conflict Management/Peace Initiatives

Week 8
--Mid-Term Assignments Due and Assessments/Presentations
--Critiques of Works-in-progress/mini field projects

Week 9
--Advanced digital and audiovisual techniques—1: skills and resources

Week 10
--Advanced digital and audiovisual techniques—2: processing, interpreting data
--Documenting Musical Change

Week 11
--Multi-sited, team, and electronically/digitally mediated research

Week 12
--Musical entrainment: tools and perspectives

Week 13
--Seminar Presentations and Peer-Reviews

Week 14
--Seminar Presentations and Peer-Reviews

Key Texts and Extended Bibliography

Ambert, Anne-Marie; Patricia A. Adler and Daniel F. Detzner. “Understanding and Evaluating Qualitative Research.” Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 57, No. 4 (Nov., 1995), pp. 879-893.

Ayari, Mondher and Stephen mcAdams. “Aural Analysis of Arabic Improvised Instrumental Music (Taqsīm).” Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Winter 2003), pp. 159-216.

Baily, John. “Learning to Perform as a Research Technique in Ethnomusicology.” British Journal of Ethnomusicology, Vol. 10, No. 2 (2001), pp. 85-98.

Barabási, Albert-László. Linked: The New Science of Networks. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Perseus Publishing, 2002.

Barrett, Stanley R.; Sean Stokholm and Jeanette Burke. “The Idea of Power and the Power of Ideas: A Review.” American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 103, No. 2 (Jun., 2001), pp. 468-480.

Bayley, Amanda. “Ethnographic Research into Contemporary String Quartet Rehearsal.” Ethnomusicology Forum, v. 20 issue 3, 2011, p. 385-411.

Blacking, John. “Some Problems of Theory and Method in the Study of Musical Change.” Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council, Vol. 9 (1977),   pp. 2-26.

Breiger, Ronald L. “The Analysis of Social Networks.”  In Melissa Hardy and Alan Bryman (eds.), Handbook of Data Analysis (Sage, 2003), pp. 505-26.


Burton, John W. “Shadows at Twilight: A Note on History and the Ethnographic.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 132, No. 4 (Dec., 1988), pp.420-433.

Clarke, Kamari M. “Toward a Critically Engaged  Ethnographic Practice.” Current Anthropology, Volume 51, Supplement 2 (2010), pp. 301 -312.

Conquergood, David. “Rethinking Ethnography: Towards a Critical Cultural Politics.” Communication Monographs, 58, (1991):179-194.

Frederickson, Jon. “Technology and Music Performance in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Dec.,1989), pp. 193-220.

Herndon, Marcia. “Insiders, Outsiders: Knowing Our Limits, Limiting Our Knowing.” World of Music, Vol. 35, No. 1 (1991):63-80. (has last pp as ethn of speaking)

Huspek, Michael. “Critical Ethnography and Subjective Experience.” Human Studies (1994)17: 45-63.

Impey, Angela. “Culture, Conservation and Community Reconstruction: Explorations in AdvocacyEthnomusicology and Participatory Action Research in Northern Kwazulu .” Yearbook for Traditional Music, Vol. 34 (2002), pp. 9-24.

Jackson, Jr., John L. “An Ethnographic Filmflam: Giving Gifts, Doing Research, and Videotaping the Native Subject/Object.” American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 106, No. 1 (Mar., 2004), pp. 32-42

Jeffrey, Paul. “Smoothing the Waters: Observations on the Process of Cross-Disciplinary Research Collaboration.” Social Studies of Science, Vol. 33, No. 4 (Aug., 2003), pp. 539-562.

Johnsen, Sarah; May, Jon; Cloke, Paul. “Digital Sociology: Emergent Technologies in the Field and the Classroom.” Sociological forum (Randolph, N.J.), v. 24 issue 2, 2009, p. 448-456.

Jordan, Steven and David Yeomans. “Critical Ethnography: Problems in Contemporary Theory and Practice.” British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 16, No. 3. (1995), pp. 389-408.

Josephides, Lisette. Review of Fictions of Feminist Ethnography by Mamala Visweswaran.

The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 3, No. 2. (Jun., 1997), pp. 393-394.


Kingsbury, Henry. Music, Talent and Performance A Conservatory Cultural System.  Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998.

Kleining, Gerhard.
How is critical social research possible?” (PDF only)

Kroier, Johann. “Music, Global History, and Postcoloniality.” International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, Vol. 43, No. 1 (2012), pp. 139-186.

Kurkela, Vesa. “The Historical Approach and Applied Ethnomusicology.” Ethnomusicology, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Autumn, 1994), pp. 402-405

Laitinen, Heikki. “Music-Making as a Research Method.”  Ethnomusicology, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Autumn, 1994), pp. 408-410.

Leman, Marc. “Musical Entrainment Subsumes Bodily Gestures – Its Definition Needs a Spatiotemporal Dimension.” Empirical Musicology Review Vol. 7, No. 1-2(2012).

Lysloff, René T. A. “Musical Community on the Internet: An On-Line Ethnography.” Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 18, No. 2 (May, 2003), pp. 233-263.

May, Jon and Paul Cloke. “Imag(in)ing 'Homeless Places': Using Auto-Photography to (Re)examine the Geographies of Homelessness.” Area (London, England: 1969), v. 40 issue 2 (2008), p. 194-207.

Mera, Miguel and Anna Morcom. “Introduction; Screened Music, Trans-contextualisation and Ethnomusicological Approaches.”Ethnomusicology Forum, v. 18 issue 1 (2009), pp. 3-19.

Merton, Robert K. “Insiders and Outsiders: A Chapter in the Sociology of Knowledge.” The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 78, No. 1, Varieties of Political Expression in Expression in

Sociology. (Jul., 1972), pp. 9-47.


Moisala, Pirkko. “Reflections on an Ethnomusicological Study of a Contemporary Western Art Music Composer.” Ethnomusicology Forum, Vol. 20, No. 3, The Ethnomusicology of Western Art Music (December 2011), pp. 443-451.

Nketia, J. H. Kwabena. “African Music and Western Praxis: A Review of Western Perspectives on African Music.” Canadian Journal of African Studies, Vol. 20, No. 1(1986):35-56.

__________________. “Contextual Strategies of Inquiry and Systematization .” Ethnomusicology, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Winter, 1990), pp. 75-97.


Nooshin, Laudan. “Introduction.”  Ethnomusicology Forum. Special Issue: The Ethnomusicology of Western Art Music. Vol. 20, No. 3 (December 2011), pp. 285-300.

O’Barr, William M. and David H. Spain and Mark A. Tessler, eds. Survey Research in Africa: Its Applications and Limits. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973.

Reilly, Suzan. “Ethnomusicology and the Internet.” Yearbook for Traditional Music, Vol. 35 (2003), pp. 187-192.

Richter, Martin.  “Grounded Cosmopolitans and the Bureaucratic Field: Musical Performance at Two Yogyakarta State Institutions.” SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia,  Vol. 21, No. 2 (2006), pp. 178-203.

Roscoe, Paul B. “The Perils of 'Positivism' in Cultural.” American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 97, No. 3 (Sep., 1995), pp. 492-504.

Roy, William G. and Timothy J. Dowd. “What Is Sociological about Music?” Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 36 (2010):183–203.

Sheehy, Daniel. “A Few Notions about Philosophy and Strategy in Applied Ethnomusicology.”  Ethnomusicology, Vol. 36, No. 3, Special Issue: Music and the Public Interest (Autumn,1992), pp. 323-336.

Schwimmer, Brian. “Anthropology on the Internet: A Review and Evaluation of Networked Resources.” Current Anthropology, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Jun., 1996), pp. 561-568.

Synnott, Anthony and David Howes. “From Measurement to Meaning. Anthropologies of the Body.” Anthropos, Bd. 87, H. 1./3. (1992), pp. 147-166.

Thompson, John B. Ideology and Modern Culture: Critical Social Theory in the Era of Mass Communication. Stanford: Standford University Press, 1990.

Urban, Greg. “A Method for Measuring the Motion of Culture.” American Anthropologist, Vol. 112, Issue 1 (2010), pp. 122–139.

Vansina, Jan Van. “Oral Tradition and Its Methodology.”  General History of Africa I: Methodology and African Prehistory. Ed. J. Ki-Zerbo. Paris: UNESCO, 1981. Contains several (inter)disciplinary chapters.

Wallach-Boloch, Roslyn. “The Promise and Failure of Ethnomethodology from a Feminist Perspective: Comment on Rogers.” Gender and Society, Vol. 6, No. 2(1992), pp. 199.206.

Wehrs, Donald R. “Sartre's Legacy in Postcolonial Theory; Or, Who's Afraid of Non-Western Historiography andCultural Studies?”  New Literary History, Vol. 34, No. 4, Multicultural Essays (Autumn, 2003), pp. 761-789.

Wright, Chris. “The Third Subject: Perspectives on Visual Anthropology.” Anthropology Today, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Aug., 1998), pp. 16-22