Bookmark and Share

Musicology & Ethnomusicology Division


The Musicology & Ethnomusicology Division at the UMD School of Music comprises two distinct programs. The Musicology program concentrates on the music of Western culture; the Ethnomusicology program on musics of the world and Western oral traditions.

The Disciplines of Musicology and Ethnomusicology

A discipline in its own right since the late nineteenth century, the scientific study of music or musicology explores music's physical properties, its composition and performance, its history, and its place in culture and society. Musicology today is mainly concerned with the more than two millennia of Western music and its modern practice in the West and around the globe—. Ethnomusicology, with the musics of the world, their pasts, modern soundscapes, and diaspora, as well as Western oral traditions. Musicologists' research tools include a range of historical and analytical methods; ethnomusicologists, who often conduct research in contemporary societies, join certain musicological methods with those of the fields of anthropology and cultural studies. Musicology and ethnomusicology are established academic disciplines at universities around the world; scholarship in both fields is published in dozens of languages.


Study in the Musicology & Ethnomusicology Division of the University of Maryland School of Music leads to the following degrees:

The Division offers its degree candidates a broad range of courses on topics within the major periods of Western music history, world musics, popular music, and jazz; seminars developing techniques of research in musicology and ethnomusicology; and the opportunity to conduct independent research under faculty supervision. Courses may also be taken in Theory/Composition, in other graduate departments of the University of Maryland, and at other institutions that belong to the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. In addition, students can participate in permanent ensembles devoted to Balinese gamelan, Japanese koto, and Korean percussion, which present one or more public concerts annually.

Graduates of the Musicology and Ethnomusicology Programs have had successful careers teaching at universities, colleges, and schools nationwide, and in libraries, the music publishing industry, arts administration, and conducting. Their publications and professional activities advance our knowledge of music and musicians past and present.



Peter Beicken, German, School of Languages, Literature and Culture
Karen Bradley, Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies (TDPS)
Jerrold Levinson, Philosophy
Laurie Frederik Meer, TDPS
Barry Pearson, English
Miriam Phillips, TDPS
Tara Rodgers, Womens Studies Affiliate

Faculty research inevitably informs teaching. Our faculty have conducted research on musics from the distant past to the present; on almost every continent in the world, in major libraries, cities, and cultures; on early artifacts, musical instruments and music manuscripts, as well as modern living traditions; and on live, recorded, artificially produced, or entirely lost sound. We regularly present our research in public lectures at conferences in the Baltimore-Washington area and around the world; participate in scholarly societies to share the latest developments in our fields; review musical performances and new publications; publish articles, books, and editions of music with academic presses; and hold positions of leadership in professional scholarly societies and as editors of scholarly journals.


Students in the Musicology and Ethnomusicology programs can earn the degrees of Master of Arts (MA) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Divisional programs do not offer Bachelor's degrees. The ethnomusicology program supports ensembles performing the musics of Bali, Japan, Korea, and West Africa. Click here to learn more about our current students.


During the academic year, the Divisions of Musicology & Ethnomusicology and Theory/Composition sponsor the Music Scholars Lecture Series, which brings distinguished scholars to the campus to speak to graduate students. Students and faculty present their research at regular Friday-afternoon colloquia. Faculty and students also belong to and participate in the Capital Chapter of the American Musicological Society and the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology. Students may submit research papers to the AMS Capital Chapter for the yearly Irving Lowens Award for Student Research.

Spring 2013 Colloquia: 

March 1: Michael Beckerman, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Music, New York University, and Joseph Horowitz, Artistic Director, PostClassical Ensemble: “In Search of Dvořák and Musical Meaning: From Scholarship to Sound”

April 5: Andy Flory, Assistant Professor of Music, Carleton College

April 12: Melanie Prinkert, Ph.D. Candidate, University of MD, College Park: "Tradition (Gelenek) or Modernity (Cagdaslik)? Ambiguity in Transforming Turkish Alevi Ritual";  and Jerrold Levinson, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Maryland, College Park: “Musical Beauty”

April 19: Grayson Wagstaff, Dean, Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Catholic University of America; Richard Wexler, Professor of Music, University of Maryland, College Park

April 26: Scott Trudell, Assistant Professor of English, English Department, University of Maryland

Click here to view upcoming guests in the Music Scholars Lecture Series.


World Music Ensembles

In addition to its scholarly activities, the Musicology & Ethnomusicology Division sponsors four popular performance ensembles. Each ensemble presents at least one public concert per semester.

World Music

  • UMD Gamelan Ensemble — Indonesian (Balinese) metallophone ensemble, named Gamelan Saraswati
  • UMD Koto Ensemble — performs traditional Japanese music for zither
  • UMD Korean Percussion Ensemble — performs traditional Korean percussion music from the more traditional p'ungmul farmers' bands music and the more contemporary Samul Nori pieces

World Music Ensemble Directors