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SOAS, University of London
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SOAS, University of London
Department of Music

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

Undergraduate: Music can be either taken as a single subject undergraduate degree (BMus) or as joint honours (BA Music) together with one of the many languages (from Swahili to Japanese) and other disciplines (from Anthropology to Religions) offered at SOAS. The degree includes training in the discipline of ethnomusicology, a closer look at musics from around the world, from the perspectives of performance, society and culture, and industry.

MMus Ethnomusicology. The MMus in Ethnomusicology introduces the themes, issues, and methods of the discipline, and enables the student to pursue in-depth study of the musical traditions of a selected region or regions of Asia, Africa or the Middle East. The degree can be studied full or part time and suits anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of music around the globe, as composers, teachers, or others, as well as providing a training programme in preparation for further research.

MMus Performance. This degree programme has been designed primarily for practising musicians who wish to specialise in music performance while studying for an academic degree. Students study an Asian, African or Middle Eastern performance tradition in an innovative package which includes study of the region’s musical background, performance theory, and practice-based research.

MA Music in Development. This unique programme has been designed for students wishing to combine an interest in music and related cultural performance with advocacy and social development practice. Students will build critical understanding of how music’s agentive and imaginative capacities act in different contexts - e.g. human rights, forced migration, health, and environmental justice - to communicate needs and interests, and to mobilize action.

MA Global Creative and Cultural Industries. This programme has been designed for those seeking to work in the creative and cultural sector - either as an artist or producer, or in cultural policy, development or analysis. It also suits anyone looking to establish a research profile in Global Creative and Cultural Industries. Alongside critical analysis and regional expertise students can choose from modules in sound recording, podcasting and broadcasting, that will enable them to enhance their skill-set.

MPhil/PhD Music. The Department of Music has a strong tradition of research and encourages applicants for research degrees. Research topics do not need to focus on Africa, Asia, and the Middle East or their diasporas, but can explore other topics under the broad rubric of ethnomusicology. Current students are tackling a wide range of topics and approaches including practice-based research.

Program Statement

The Music programmes at SOAS have two basic objectives: to provide training of the highest possible standard in the academic discipline of ethnomusicology, and to pursue in-depth understanding of the musical traditions of Africa, Asia and the Middle East through teaching and research. These programmes are considered one unit of the School of Arts, and our staff and students work closely with colleagues and peers working across arts, aesthetics, and cultural industries.

Special Resources

Music staff offices are on the 5th floor of the main SOAS building. The Department maintains facilities for Research Students, a radio studio and a recording studio, alongside several small practice rooms.

The Main Library at SOAS is world-renowned as a specialist library for Asian and African studies, and contains many rare resources in a vast variety of languages. The Main Library holds thousands of audiovisual materials relevant to Asia and Africa. Listening and viewing facilities are provided in the Library, and most CDs are available on short loan. Among special items in the Department's collections are: field recordings, films and slides of South Asian music made by Arnold Bake from the 1920s to 1956, a large working collection of musical instruments from Asia and Africa, and extensive staff collections.

We run a very popular regular term time concert series, and an annual performance-centred World Music summer school. See “Related Websites” below for URL. We run a bi-weekly departmental seminar and collaborate with the Institute of Musical Research (University of London) for seminars, research training programmes, and workshops. Performance groups include tabla, gamelan, kora, a Middle Eastern ensemble, and Korean percussion. Many of our students also study with London-based teachers/performers informally linked to SOAS. Instruments include congas, guqin, koto, ’ud, Ewe drumming, and Cuban piano. Vocalists study a range of styles and genres, including khayal and Mongolian throat singing.

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Dr. Lucy Durán. Senior Lecturer in African Music. Music in the Mande world; Music of Mali, Guinea, Guinea Bissau; gender and music in West Africa; popular musics of Atlantic Africa; childhood music learning in West Africa; Cuban music, especially son and rumba; radio as a medium; and the world music industry.

Dr Nick Gray. Senior Lecturer in the Music of South East Asia. Music of South East Asia, Indonesia, Bali, especially music for the Balinese shadowplay, composition, improvisation, analysis, music, and religion.

Dr Rachel Harris. Reader in Ethnomusicology. Ethnomusicology; musics of China and Central Asia, especially Uyghur; pop and globalisation; music and ritual, music, identity, and politics.

Dr Angela Impey. Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology. Music of southern Africa and the African Horn; advocacy ethnomusicology; sound/music, memory and place; forced migration; human rights and development.

Dr Ilana Webster-Kogen. Joe Loss Lecturer in Jewish Music. Ethiopian music; music in Israel/Palestine; Biblical cantillation; migration and nationalism; music and gender.

Prof. D. Richard Widdess. Professor of Musicology. History and theory of Indian classical music; dhrupad; Newar music of Nepal; historical ethnomusicology; analysis of musical performance; cognitive approaches to music; music and meaning; music and religion.

Dr Richard David Williams. Lecturer in Ethnomusicology. Music of South Asia; Hindustani classical music; historical ethnomusicology; cultural history; historical musicology and musical aesthetics; lyric, song, and musical literature; music and gender; music and religion; history of emotions.

Affiliated Faculty

Prof. Keith Howard. Emeritus Professor of Music. Ethnomusicology; anthropology; Korean music; music traditions in Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Thailand, and Siberia; studies of religion; composition; education; shamanism; early keyboard instruments, players and restorers.

Kadialy Kouyate. Senior Teaching Fellow. Kadialy Kouyate comes from a large West African musical family of djalis who are well known in Mandinka history. Since 2005 he has been teaching the Kora to undergraduate and postgraduate students at SOAS.

Dr Sara McGuinness. Senior Teaching Fellow. Sara McGuinness is well known on the UK Salsa scene, and has played written and arranged for many of the UK’s top bands. She runs Malecon Productions which provides workshops in Cuban and related music. She teaches Cuban piano at SOAS and runs an undergraduate course "Introduction to Sound Recording.”

Dr Rowan Pease. Senior Teaching Fellow. Rowan Pease is the Editorial Manager for SOAS journals and co-editor of the SOAS Musicology Series (Routlegde). She learnt Chinese at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Xiamen University, China, before undertaking postgraduate study in ethnomusicology at SOAS. She is also a senior teaching fellow in the SOAS music department.

Sanju Sahai. Senior Teaching Fellow. Sanju Sahai belongs to the Benares Gharana of Tabla playing. He has accompanied many of India’s legendary musicians and collaborated with many international artists. He is Artistic Director of a South Asian music youth orchestra and has been teaching tabla at SOAS for many years.

Prof. Owen Wright. Emeritus Professor of Musicology of the Middle East. Music of the Islamic Middle East; historical musicology.

Music students draw on and actively participate in the rich musical life of the city.

Financial Support

The School offers a range of scholarships to support postgraduate study at SOAS: see www.soas.ac.uk/registry/scholarships/ for the most up-to-date listing.

Further Information

Please see www.soas.ac.uk/music for further information and contact details.

Program Website

http://www.soas.ac.uk/music/

Related Websites

SOAS World Music Summer School: http://www.soas.ac.uk/music/summermusicschool/

Financial Aid: http://www.soas.ac.uk/registry/scholarships/

Jewish Music Institute: http://www.jmi.org.uk

British Forum for Ethnomusicology: http://www.bfe.org.uk

 

 

The content for SOAS, University of London was last updated November 16, 2017.

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