Ethnomusicology is the study of how people make music in different cultural environments around the world. We explore diverse musical systems, learning methods, and creative processes in traditional, popular, and art music practices both at home and in more distant locales. We try to understand how varying beliefs, values, social issues, politics, and other extra-musical factors influence musical processes and musical meaning. We also examine the importance of music and music-making in our lives and in society, both to improve our general understanding and to enable us to have a positive impact in our communities. We focus within, between and beyond national borders and ethnic boundaries. We examine historical and contemporary modes of intercultural contact, conflict, exchange, and sharing, and the resulting flourishing of musical innovations as well as efforts of musical preservation. We also explore how expression, communication, and creativity—despite their myriad manifestations—are common needs shared by all humans.
Students have multiple opportunities to study Ethnomusicology in the Institute of Musical Research at the University of Würzburg.
At the bachelor’s level, all BA students in Musicology and Music Pedagogy take the class Introduction to Ethnomusicology as part of their core curriculum. All undergraduate students in the Institute for Music Research have the opportunity to take numerous elective classes offered by the Ethnomusicology Program (Lehrstuhl), many of which are cross-listed with Musicology modules (for example, in Summer Semester 2018, Ethnomusicology modules were cross-listed with the following Musicology modules: MIK, MUR, SOZ, PER1, PER2, STA1, STA2, STA3, SP2, GLOP, GEG1, GEG2, FIB, HT5, HT8, SP2, HIST1, HIST 2, INT, IK1, IK2, IK3, IK4, HT9). See the Course Catalog (Vorlesungsverzeichnis) for current offerings. A new BA Minor in Ethnomusicology (60 ECTS) is planned for the future.
In this two-year (four-semester) program, students develop a strong foundation in ethnomusicological and cultural theories and in ethnographic and qualitative research methods, with an emphasis on enabling and guiding students in conducting their own original fieldwork and contributing to international theoretical discussions. Students have the opportunity to explore and deepen their knowledge of multiple world music traditions and examine a variety of socio-musical issues and questions. We also emphasize Applied Ethnomusicology and encourage community engagement. This program prepares students to pursue advanced academic work in Ethnomusicology as well as more applied work in the public, cultural, and education sectors.
The MA program in Ethnomusicology is now offered as both as a single-subject and a two-subject degree. If pursuing a double major, students complete 45 credits in Ethnomusicology classes and 45 credits in a second discipline. The final independent research project – which may draw on original field research, practice-based reseach, archival research, and/or mixed methods – comprises 30 ECTS-credits. In theory, Ethnomusicology may be combined with any other program offered at the University (as long as the other program permits such a joint program). The most popular options are to combine Ethnomusicology together with Musicology, Music Pedagogy, Political and Social Sciences, European Ethnology/Folklore Studies, Museum Studies, and area studies programs such as American studies, Indian studies, and Chinese studies.
Study abroad possibilities: Students are encouraged to study abroad in their third semester if they wish. Visit the international office or contact Dr. Hanna Zühlke for more details.
Language of Study: Instruction is offered in a combination of English and German. Students must have at least B2 or equivalent in both languages. Students have the option to complete their oral presentations and written assignments in either English or German, as they prefer. (Note that classes offered through by programs, for example in Musicology or Folklore Studies, may have different language requirements and often require level C2 in German.)
- a BA with 180 ECTS-credits or equivalent
- 15 ECTS-credits of courses related to music (practical or theoretical/academic)
- 10 ECTS-credits of courses related to culture and/or society (focusing on any culture or cultures, from any perspective in Ethnomusicology, the humanities, and/or the social sciences)
- 15 additional ECTS-credits of music-related and/or culture -related courses
- English and German language skills at Level B2 or higher
For detailed entrance requirements see:
FSB (2018 version), Teil 1, § 4 (45 ECTS),
FSB (2018 version), Teil 1, § 4 (120 ECTS).
(For the entrance requirements to the old 2015 curriculum, see FSB, Teil 1, §4.)
Students may apply to pursue a PhD in Ethnomusicology and Transcultural Music Studies either through the Philosophy Faculty or through the Humanities Graduate School. Visit our Ethnomusicology Research pages to learn more about current and recent research projects, current and recent research students, and supervision possibilities.
Application links: Graduate School of Humanities, University of Würzburg, Philosophische Fakultät.
Questions? Contact Lisa Herrmann-Fertig for questions regarding eligibility, application procedures, and the structure of the doctoral programs. Contact Prof. Juniper Hill for questions regarding PhD research proposals.
Interested applicants should send a CV, three page proposal outlining the research questions, methods, theoretical references of their proposed doctoral works, and a bibliography.
Instruction is given by Prof. Juniper Hill and lecturer Lisa Herrmann-Fertig. Ethnomusicology students may also be interested in the Sound Studies and Audio-Video Recording and Editing taught by Dr. Oliver Wiener, the contemporary music classes offered by Professor Elena Ungeheuer, and the music sociology classes offered by Prof. Eckhard Roch, as well as in other classes offered by the Musicology, Music Education, European Ethnology/Folklore Studies, and various area studies programs in American/British, Indian, and Chinese Studies. We also frequently invite emerging and established scholars in Ethnomusicology to deliver guest classes.
Visiting scholars and Prof. Emeriti
We also frequently invite emerging and established scholars in Ethnomusicology to deliver guest classes. Recent visiting instructors include David Saam, Dr. Griffith Rollefson, Dr. Maurice Mengel, Dr. Zeynep Helvaci, Dr. Monika Schoop, Dr. Nepomuk Riva, and Dr. Vladimir Ivanoff. Affiliated/visiting scholars include Dr. Elizabeth Markham, Dr. Rembrandt Wolpert and Professor emeritus Dr. Max Peter Baumann.
Recent Ethnomusicology class offerings include
Summer semester 2019
Applied Ethnomusicology Seminar
Ethno graphic and Qualitative Research Methods
Forschungsseminar Ethnomusikologie 2
Power, Politics, and Identity in South African Music
Ethnomusikologie und Human-Animal Studies: Tier-Mensch Beziehungen durch Musik
Fränkische Volksmusik und Volkstanz im Praxis 1
American Shaped Note Singing 2
Mikrofonaufnahmetechnik und Audio-Editing
Popular Music and Culture in Theory and Method
Winter Semester 2018/2019
Theorizing Music as Social Process 1: Romantic Nationalism to Symbolism to Ethnicity
Theorizing Music as Social Process 2: From Subcultural Identities to Revival to Globalization
Research Seminar in Ethnomusicology 1
American Shaped Note Singing 1
Musik und Religion in Indien
Welten Elektronischer Tanzmusik: Eine subkulturelle Analyse
Einführung in die Ethnomusikologie
Summer semester 2018
Theorizing Music as Social Process Part I: Romantic Nationalism to Symbolism to Ethnicity
Theorizing Music as a Social Process Part II: From Subcultural Identities to Revival to Globalization
Weltmusikfestivals: Transkulturelle Begegnungen (Word Music Festivals – Transcultural Encounters)
Sinti und Roma – Gefühl von Grenzenlosigkeit in musikalischen Ausdrucksformen (Sinti and Roma – Feeling of infinity in musical expressions)
Volksmusikforschung in Franken – Traditionszusammenhang, Repertoire, Potenzial (Folk Music Research in Franconia- Traditional Context, Repertoire, Potential)
Latin American Music and Culture
Musik(en) der Türkei in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Contemporary and Historical Musics of Turkey)
Winter Semester 2017-2018
Einführung in die Ethnomusikologie (Introduction to Ethnomusicology)
Ethnomusikologische Feldforschung - Methoden und Praxis (Ethnomusicological Fieldwork – Methods and Practice)
Let's Do Gender! Gender und Queer Studies in der Musikforschung
"Objekte im Netz": digitalisierte Instrumentenkunde (Sound Studies)
Nahöstliche Musikpraxis im Spiegel der Zeit
Theorie der Vergleichenden und Historischen Ethnomusikologie 1 – Transkription
Notiert wird nicht das Wichtige, sondern das Notwendige: Einführung in außereuropäische Notationsformen
Finnish Folk Music from Ancient to Avant-Garde