Interdisciplinary work, field study, and explorations of music and culture have been hallmarks of the UW Ethnomusicology program since its beginnings in 1963.
Ethnomusicology encompasses studies of music and culture and integrates aspects of musicology and anthropology as well as music performance, history, and theory. Key to the field is interdisciplinary work, as music is examined in light of the theoretical constructs of dance, education, gender studies, geography, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as area studies courses (such as African, Latin American, Southeast Asian studies). Students in the program study music and musicians in various contexts and through various disciplinary lenses.
A hallmark of UW Ethnomusicology is its visiting artist program, which brings highly accomplished musicians to the university to work with students in applied music courses that often lead to public performances. Students study with artists from Afghanistan, India, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Tanzania and elsewhere in the world.
In addition to performance opportunities with visiting artists, UW Ethnomusicology students participate in a range of ensemble courses, including the UW Steelband, Zimbabwean Marimba Ensemble, Javanese Gamelan, and Gospel Choir.
Ethnomusicology Archives and Instrument Collection
The UW Ethnomusicology Archives hold unique audio- and video-collections of the world’s musical cultures. The department also houses an instrument collection featuring high-quality instruments from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas.