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Kent State University
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Kent State University
Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology
Undergraduate Minor in World Music

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

The Ethnomusicology program is part of the School of Music in the College of Arts at Kent State University. We offer a Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology, as well as a minor in World Music open to undergraduate students of any major. Students in these programs participate in world music ensembles and classroom activities that include peers in ethnomusicology as well as a variety of other related disciplines. The Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology allows for in-depth study of current and/or historical cultural research. Emphasis on a particular nonwestern historical period, style or continent leads to both breadth and depth of research skills. The curriculum aims to prepare students for graduate study at the doctoral level, as well as careers in public/private arts programs. Students receiving assistantships will gain experience as classroom lecturers, music ensemble directors, online instructors, multi-media producers, and/or archival assistants. Exceptional students will be considered for internships at local area arts programs, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art. The undergraduate World Music minor exposes students to broad regional studies, as well as popular music and culture. The minor enhances major areas of study, such as music education, anthropology, dance and theatre, international business, and area studies, including Asian, Pan-African, etc. The minor also prepares students interested in further study in ethnomusicology graduate programs and is open to any major across campus.

Program Focus

Both the Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology and undergraduate World Music minor seek first to offer students a solid foundation in regional studies of music style, performance practice, history, and cultural associations. We integrate theoretical perspectives relevant to the discipline with these practical aims, so that students can communicate effectively with persons within and outside the field of ethnomusicology. While a balanced global coverage is emphasized, our current faculty focus on studies in Central Africa, mainland Southeast Asia, East Asia, the Caribbean, North and South America, and the Middle East, as well as popular music studies. Theoretical concerns include socio-cultural identity, semiotics, gender studies, politics and power, ritual studies, globalization and hybridity, as well as studies in inter-related arts, e.g., dance and theatre.

Special Resources

Kent State’s World Music Ensemble includes study of various performance traditions depending on the specialization of its current faculty and graduate assistants. Current emphases focus on the music of Sub-Saharan Africa (West and Central), Thailand, Mongolia, and Trinidad (Steel Drum). Students are encouraged to pursue other performance traditions according to their interests; these may be included in concert performances with the ensemble as well. Kent State’s regional campus system presents many opportunities for the World Music Ensemble to perform. The ensemble also performs for community events throughout northeast Ohio and has traveled to surrounding states for public concerts. The ethnomusicology program at Kent State University is affiliated with the Niagara chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), though students often participate in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic chapter meetings as well. Faculty and graduate students frequently present at the national Society for Ethnomusicology annual conference, and are encouraged to become active in other academic organizations, such as the American Musicological Society (AMS) and College Music Society (CMS).

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Eve McPherson. Eve McPherson holds a Ph.D in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master's degree in ethnomusicology from Tufts University. Additionally, Dr. McPherson earned a master's degree in vocal performance from UCSB. Her areas of research interest include Islamic recitation, Turkish classical music, vocal timbre, and contemporary American opera.

Kazadi wa Mukuna. Kazadi wa Mukuna is a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire) and Professor of Ethnomusicology at Kent State University. Professor Kazadi received his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil. Two of his most current research projects are "A Dictionary of Urban Music and Musicians in the Democratic Republic of Congo” and "The Evolution of the Urban Music of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Denise Seachrist. Denise Seachrist is Director of the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University where she holds the rank of Associate Professor. She received her Ph.D. in musicology-ethnomusicology from Kent State University, and a Master of Music in vocal performance from Youngstown State University. Considered a specialist in the music of both historical and living German religious communities in Pennsylvania, Seachrist serves on the board of the Communal Studies Association. She is a member of the editorial board for Pennsylvania-German History and Culture book series published by Penn State Press. She is the author of The Musical World of Halim El-Dabh (2003) and Snow Hill: In the Shadows of the Ephrata Cloister (2010).

Andrew Shahriari. Andrew Shahriari earned his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Kent State University in 2001. He has published three books, Khon Muang Music and Dance Traditions of North Thailand (2007), Popular World Music (2010), and World Music: A Global Journey (2006, 3e 2012), co-authored with Kent State Professor Emeritus, Terry E. Miller. Dr. Shahriari is currently an Assistant Professor at Kent State University and Coordinator of Online Programs for Music. His primary areas of research interest include music of mainland Southeast Asia, East Asia, popular world music, rock music history, music and spirituality, as well as music therapy and autism.

Affiliated Faculty

Priwan Nanongkham. Priwan Nanongkham, born in Thailand, is an adjunct professor of ethnomusicology and director of the Kent State University Thai Ensemble. Nanongkham received his Ph.D. in musicology-ethnomusicology from Kent State University in 2011. Although considered a Thai music specialist, his primary area of interest covers all music of mainland Southeast Asia, as well as East Asia, and South Asia. Other research interests include Asian-American music; Asian religious traditions; Westernization and modernization, and globalization as reflected in traditional, neo-traditional, and popular music.

Janine Tiffe. Janine Tiffe is a part-time instructor at the Kent State University, School of Music. She is a doctoral candidate in ethnomusicology at Florida State University, has served as director of two collegiate and one community steel band, and instructed college level world music, rock/popular music, American roots music courses, and popular world music courses. Her research interests include the Trinidadian steel band, musical migration, diaspora, transmission, pedagogy, and education.

Sunmin Yoon. Sunmin Yoon is an adjunct professor of ethnomusicology at Kent State University, concentrating on general world music surveys and the music of Asia. A native of South Korea, she earned her Ph.D in ethnomusicology from University of Maryland at College Park (2011). She specializes in Mongolian folk songs, with a focus on the long-song (urtyn duu) genre. Her research deals with the role of music and musicians in relation to political change in socialist/post-socialist/postcolonial socio-cultural contexts. Her further research interests are in music and geography, and analytical studies on the usage of voice and lyrics. She is a classically trained pianist, and studied music theory as well as musicology in Korea.

General Program Statement

The world music program at Kent State University seeks to prepare students for interactions with scholars, musicians, and non-specialists from around the globe. Our courses include regional studies of South, Southeast, and East Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, North and South America and the Middle East.

The undergraduate World Music minor includes popular music studies, as well as fundamental knowledge of Western music genres with courses, such as Survey of Rock Music History, History of Jazz, America’s Music, Popular World Music, and the Understanding of Music – an appreciation course focused on Western art music. Students also perform in the World Music ensemble and take classes along with graduate students of ethnomusicology as part of their program.

The Master of Arts graduate program requires a broad-based general knowledge of music from around the world, as well as tools of research investigation essential for careers as ethnomusicologists. Fieldwork and theoretical concerns related to ethnomusicology are emphasized along with analysis of world music styles and fundamental mastery of Western art music theory and history. Secondary areas of study, such as anthropology, Asian or pan-African studies, linguistics, or music education, are encouraged in preparation for continuing education at the doctoral level. Graduate students are expected to perform in the World Music ensembles and may study privately with instructors for research and performance specialization.

Kent State University is located near Cleveland, as well as Akron, Ohio, which affords a multiplicity of opportunities to observe and participate in world music activities. Numerous ethnic communities, particularly from Europe, India, and the Middle East are found throughout the area, offering an array of public cultural festivals. African-American and Appalachian populations are abundant as well. Cleveland boasts many quality museums and performance venues, such as The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Severance Hall (home to the Cleveland Orchestra), Cleveland Museum of Art (which hosts the Viva! World Music series), and Playhouse Square Center, the second largest performing arts center in the country.

The Kent State University School of Music partners with the Cleveland Orchestra each summer for the Kent/Blossom Music Festival, which is a professional training program for aspiring musicians from around the globe. The program includes master classes, workshops, private lessons, and concert performances with members of the Cleveland Orchestra.

The Kent State University Folk Festival is recognized as one of the premiere folk festivals in the United States. The festival is student-organized and brings local talent together with musicians and other artists from across the nation and around the globe. The festival is broadcast via WKSU-FM radio and includes numerous concert performances, workshops, and educational programs.

Financial Support

Financial aid at Kent State University is available to qualified students. The ethnomusicology program typically offers one or more assistantships with a duration of two years. The duties of the assistantship are dependent on the needs of the department at the time of appointment.

Further Information

Denise A. Seachrist, Ph.D. - Director
Hugh A. Glauser School of Music
Kent State University
Kent, OH 44242
Phone: 330-672-2172 Email: dseachri@kent.edu

Program Website

KSU School of Music http://www.kent.edu/music/

Related Websites

KSU Catalog Description http://www.kent.edu/catalog/2011/CollegesPrograms/CA/GR/ETMU.cfm

Kent State University http://www.kent.edu/

KSU College of the Arts http://www.kent.edu/artscollege/

KSU School of Music http://www.kent.edu/music/

Kent/Blossom Music http://dept.kent.edu/blossom/

KSU Folk Festival http://www.kentstatefolkfestival.org/

The content for Kent State University was last updated February 1, 2012.

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