Brown University

Degree Programs

BA in Music (Ethnomusicology)
Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology


Kiri Miller
Marc Perlman
Jeff Todd Titon



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Program Description

Undergraduate concentration in Ethnomusicology:

The B.A. offered by the Music Department is a general degree, integrating theory, history, ethnomusicology, technology, composition
and performance in a single, liberal concentration.  There are currently three tracks within the concentration: one that emphasizes
theory, history, and composition; another that emphasizes ethnomusicology; and a third that focuses on computer music and multimedia.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Ethnomusicology:

If music affects you deeply, and if you are curious about music as a human activity, consider graduate work in ethnomusicology, the study of people making music. Brown has offered the M.A. and Ph.D. in ethnomusicology since 1967. At Brown, students are free to explore the meanings of music and sound through broad and deep acquaintance with musical cultures throughout the world. Ethnomusicologists document, analyze, and interpret music both as design or structure, and as performance situated in its historical, aesthetic, and social contexts. Past and current graduate students have researched such topics as flamenco guitar in Spain, folk music in the Tatra Mountains of Poland, music education in Egypt and Jordan, music and politics in a community radio station, Arab music in Indonesia, international interventions meant to reconstruct identity through music in formerly war-torn Bosnia, and the old-time string band musical culture of southwestern Virginia.

A Brown doctoral degree in Music with specialization in ethnomusicology leads to a career in college and university teaching, or to a position in applied ethnomusicology outside of the academic world.The doctoral program in Ethnomusicology is one of the oldest graduate ethnomusicology programs in the country, established in 1968. Students are encouraged to take courses in other departments in the humanities; a sampling of which includes anthropology, psychology, American civilization, Africaana studies and Portuguese and Brazilian studies. 

Information on requirements for the ethnomusicology track appears here:

Additional Resources

Brown offers the following ensembles: Old Time String Band, Javanese Gamelan, Ghanaian Drumming, and Sacred Harp/ Shape Note singing. There are also numerous student-run ensembles at Brown that might be
of interest to ethnomusicologists, including a taiko group, a mariachi group, and a bhangra group.

Fall 2008 course listing.

Consortia and Cross-Registration

Brown University students have some limited access to take courses at Wheaton College.