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University College Cork, Ireland
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University College Cork, Ireland

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

The UCC School of Music offers three graduate degrees in Ethnomusicology: a one-year taught MA in Ethnomusicology, an MPhil in Ethnomusicology, and a PhD in Ethnomusicology. The School of Music also offers two diploma programs. The Diploma in Irish Traditional Music is a two-semester program designed for students who seek to increase their proficiency and knowledge in Irish traditional music by taking a range of specialized lecture courses, seminars, and performance options. The Higher Diploma in Music is ideal for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than music and wish to prepare for graduate work in Ethnomusicology or another field of music. In this one year program, students have the freedom to focus their coursework and research project on ethnomusicological, world music, or traditional music topics. At the undergraduate level, students in both the three-year BA in Music and four-year BMus honors programs individually determine the focus of their performance and academic studies by selecting from a variety of ethnomusicology, world music, and Irish traditional music course offerings (as well as courses in composition, jazz, pop, contemporary music, early music, classical music, and musicology). Final year BMus students may choose to work on a senior performance recital, composition portfolio, or research thesis under the supervision of an ethnomusicology, musicology, composition, jazz/pop, and/or Irish traditional music faculty member. BA students may choose to pursue joint honors in Music and Theatre studies, Chinese studies, Religious studies, or a number of other liberal arts subjects.

Program Focus

UCC is internationally renowned as a centre of excellence for the study of Irish traditional music and world music. Moreover, the School of Music prides itself in its equal valuation of all musical idioms, and offers practical and scholarly courses in jazz, experimental and contemporary music, early music, classical music, popular music, and traditional music from Ireland and many other cultures (Indonesia, West Africa, northern Europe, the Americas, etc.). The School of Music is also unique in its combined emphasis on scholarship, performance, and creative work. The innovative one-year taught MA in Ethnomusicology combines scholarship and performance in the study of a diverse range of music traditions from around the world. Emphasis is given to performance, history and theory of ethnomusicology, cultural and performance theories, and ethnographic field research.

Special Resources

The UCC School of Music performance courses include Javanese gamelan, Ewe drumming, Irish traditional music (ceilí band, sean nós singing, set dancing, traditional instruments, etc.), American shape note singing, North Indian sitar, early music vocal ensemble, carillon, free improvisation, and jazz and pop ensembles. Students may also pursue private tuition with a variety of resident artists and visiting teachers. Additionally, MA students in Ethnomusicology receive master classes in various world music traditions (e.g., mbira, sitar, sean nós).

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Kelly Boyle. Lecturer in Music, M.A. from Wesleyan University. Kelly is an ethnomusicologist and performer. Her research focuses on the Javanese gamelan and on the socio-cultural dimensions of local Irish music making, particularly the interplay between popular and traditional idioms. She is interested in the relationships between music and identity, place and locality, and the ways in which transnational trends come into dialogue with "smaller,” local inflections.

Dr. Juniper Hill. Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, PhD from UCLA. Juniper is an ethnomusicologist with a primary specialization in contemporary folk music in Finland and secondary specializations in American folk music and Andean music. She is interested in the sociology of creativity, pedagogy of improvisation, institutionalization of traditional musics into conservatories, transnationalism, cross-cultural fusions, and revival/post revival. Juniper’s teaching areas include cross-cultural approaches to improvisation, gender and sexuality in popular and traditional musics, music of protest and social struggle, Latin American music, Nordic folk music, American vernacular music, and theories and methodologies of ethnomusicology. She also directs various polyphonic vocal folk music ensembles; currently being offered is American shape note singing.

Mel Mercier. Senior Lecturer and Head of School of Music, MFA from California Institute of the Arts. He teaches courses in Irish traditional music, ethnomusicology, Indian classical music, West African traditional and popular musics, Javanese gamelan, and performance theory. As a bodhrán and bones player, Mel has performed, recorded, and collaborated extensively with pianist and composer Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, and with John Cage and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (Roaratorio, Inlets, Duets). Mel’s extensive composition output includes commissions for Javanese gamelan and various percussion ensembles, and international theatre collaborations with director Deborah Warner and actress Fiona Shaw. His research interests include the revival period in Irish traditional music, American minstrelsy, and two-handed American bones-playing.

General Program Statement

The Department of Music, University College Cork, Ireland introduces a new and innovative one-year taught M.A. in Ethnomusicology, beginning in September 2006. Internationally renowned as a centre of excellence for the study of Irish Traditional Music and World Music, the department now offers a fresh and exciting approach to the study of music at postgraduate level in Ireland. The M.A. in Ethnomusicology combines scholarship and performance in a dynamic approach to the study of a diverse range of music traditions from around the world. Emphasis is given to the Performance of Music, History and Theory of Ethnomusicology, Cultural and Performance Theory, and Fieldwork Practice.

Further Information

Masters students in Ethnomusicology contact: Mel Mercier, University College Cork, School of Music, Cork,
Co. Cork, Ireland. Phone: 353 21 490 4530; Fax: 353 21 421 2507; Email: m.mercier@ucc.ie

Ph.D. students contact: Dr. Melanie Marshall, Chair, Music Graduate Studies Committee, University College Cork, School of Music, Cork, Co. Cork, Ireland. Tel: 353 21 490 4530; Fax: 353 21 421 2507; Email: ml.marshall@ucc.ie

All general enquiries: Phone 353 21 490 4530; Fax 353 21 421 2507; Email: music@ucc.ie

Program Website


The content for University College Cork, Ireland was last updated June 25, 2010.

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