M.A. and Ph.D. Ethnomusicology

Degrees offered:

M.A. Ethnomusicology
Ph.D. Ethnomusicology

The M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Ethnomusicology at Memorial University offer nationally distinctive and regionally unique opportunities for individuals who are interested in researching music as a cultural practice. The programs offer opportunity to study diverse traditions of local and “world” music. Students are welcome to participate in School of Music ensembles, including Sundanese gamelan. St. John’s offers a wealth of traditional music opportunities. We also offer courses in radio and video ethnographic documentary making with editing facilities available at the Research Centre for Music, Media and Place (MMaP).

Graduate study in Ethnomusicology at Memorial University is interdisciplinary, with courses offered through both the School of Music and the Folklore Department.

The academic objectives of the program are:

  • To study the ways by which music serves as a social practice both within communities and social groups, as well as between and among them.
  • To investigate the way in which individuals and groups construct many levels of “meaning” from sounds that are, in themselves, neutral and abstract.
  • To study how people conceptualize their practices.
  • To examine how music is both an end in itself and, at times, simply the medium for various social negotiations.
  • To study how power relations, including matters of policy and hegemonic value systems, impact on musical practices.
  • To explore the impact of new modes of communication and globalized economies on the production and distribution of music.

The M.A. program offers core research training with equal emphasis on the development of fieldwork and archival skills. In addition to courses that ensure foundational breadth of knowledge, students undertake independent research that is original in design but limited in scope.

The Ph.D. program is designed to train individuals who envisage a career in scholarship, either as professors in the academy or as cultural animators of various types in the public sector. The program centers on in-depth exploration of key intellectual issues and theoretical directions in the study of music as a cultural practice. Coursework and comprehensive examination preparation ensures an adequate knowledge base for the undertaking of a major independent research initiative.

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