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Memorial University of Newfoundland
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Memorial University of Newfoundland

M.A. in Ethnomusicology, Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology 

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

Memorial University offers M.A. and Ph.D. programs in ethnomusicology. Both programs thrive within the School of Music’s vibrant Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media, and Place and are run in collaboration with the Department of Folklore. Graduate students join a dynamic community of students, faculty and staff working within one of Canada’s leading Schools of Music which also delivers a variety of programs in performance, pedagogy, composition, and musicologies through the B.Mus. and M.Mus. degree programs.

Program Focus

Genre and area research specializations include Canadian music (especially Atlantic Canadian, Acadian, and immigrant musics of Canada), Hawaiian and other Oceanic traditions, North American popular music (especially rock and heavy metal), British Isles, and Cuba. Ethnomusicologists and folklorists at Memorial University have deep teaching knowledge of a wider range of ethnocultural musical practices and theories. Program foci include Phenomenology, Performance Studies, Practice Theory, Community Collaboration and Public Ethnomusicology, Intercultural Processes, Gender Studies, Body & Senses, Video and Audio Documentary.

Special Resources

The Research Centre for Music, Media and Place (MMaP): MMaP engages in a wide variety of projects that offer students research experience and employment, including the MMaP’s “Back on Track” CD series, online audio archives, applied ethnomusicology projects in local communities, and scholarly conferences. MMaP presents an annual lecture series that brings prominent scholars to the Memorial campus for week-long residencies. Scholars-in-residence give a major academic address, teach classes, work with students in one-on-one meetings, and participate in public outreach events. Many MMaP events are live streamed over the Internet and archived on our YouTube channel, which can be found at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW7S6XAmIZwZzdn5wSebjrA. MMaP houses a multi-media production studio with professional audio and video recording and editing capabilities. Other MMaP facilities include a performance space, dance studio, library/meeting room, lounge, and office space for ethnomusicology graduate students. www.mun.ca/mmap

The Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA): The MUNFLA holds approximately 50,000 audio recordings and a wide variety of photographic and print resources. It has internships for graduate students. www.mun.ca/folklore/munfla/

The Bruneau Centre for Excellence in Choral Music (BCECM): St. John’s, and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, boasts one of the most vibrant choral scenes in the world. The BCECM has become an integral part of these activities and focuses on providing grants to facilitate unique projects and research in vocal and choral music, including graduate student research. www.mun.ca/choralcentre

The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI): A partnered research institute with 6 sites in Canada and the US, IICSI holds conferences, runs a public speakers/workshop series “Improvising Spaces”, employs graduate students, and has a postdoctoral fellowship. www.improvisationinstitute.ca   

Centre for Newfoundland Studies: A rich archive of resources relevant to the province’s culture. www.library.mun.ca/cns 

Performance ensembles: Fiddle and accordion music of Newfoundland, Newfoundland traditional song, Sundanese gamelan. Ethnomusicology students are also active in choirs, orchestras, and jazz ensembles as well as the lively St. John’s traditional music, bluegrass, and popular music scenes.

International festivals, symposia and conferences: St. John’s and Memorial University play host to a wide array of international events including: The International Sound Symposium, Lawnya Vawnya (independent music), Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival, Tombolo Multicultural Festival, Folk and Jazz Festivals. St. John’s is also a popular destination for academic conferences and other festivals. The Intangible Cultural Heritage office of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador organizes field schools and a wide array of events relevant to ethnomusicology. Additionally, there are co-operative program options and the MMaP Research Centre, along with other Memorial University scholars, regularly undertakes collaborative projects with other institutions.

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Harris M. Berger. Ph.D. (Indiana U); Professor, Canada Research Chair in Ethnomusicology; joint-appointment (Folklore/Music). Research interests include American popular music, heavy metal music, phenomenology, practice theory, and the theoretical foundations of ethnomusicology and folklore studies.

Holly Everett. Ph.D. (Memorial U); Associate Professor in Folklore; cross-appointment (Folklore/Music). Research interests include North American popular music as well as belief, material culture, occupational folklife, popular culture, and tourism.

Kati Szego. Ph.D. (U of Washington); Professor in Ethnomusicology. Research interests include Indigenous Hawaiian and Oceanic expressive arts, intercultural processes, vocality, sense studies, materiality and organology, historical ethnomusicology.

Cory Thorne. Ph.D. (U of Pennsylvania); Associate Professor in Folklore; cross-appointment (Folklore/Music). Research interests include Cuban folklore, music, and popular culture; Newfoundland diaspora, queer and vernacular theory, underground economies, critical regionalism.

Meghan Forsyth. Ph.D. (U of Toronto); Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology. Research interests include Acadian music and dance, diaspora, cultural tourism, revival, creative agency, Atlantic Canada, British Isles.

Affiliated Faculty

Beverley Diamond. Ph.D. (U of Toronto); Professor Emerita; founding director of the MMaP (2003-2015); Order of Canada; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; Trudeau Fellow.  Research interests include indigenous modernity, feminist musicology, Canadian music historiography, socially constructed meaning of audio technology; intercultural and interlocal musical processes, archives and memory, performance studies.

Anna Kearney Guigné. Ph.D. (Memorial U); Adjunct Faculty; folklorist. Research interests include traditional music of Newfoundland; folk song collecting in Canada.

Jeffrey van den Scott. Ph.D. (Northwestern U.); Adjunct Professor. Research interests include Inuit music, Canada, contemporary music.

Ian Sutherland. Ph.D. (Exeter); Associate Professor and Dean of Music. Research interests include sociology of music and culture, leadership.

Additionally, historical musicologists at Memorial University conduct research on topics that intersect with ethnomusicologists’ interests. These include Aboriginal hymn traditions (Tom Gordon, Professor Emeritus) and approaches to performance practice, and music, health & wellness (Jane Gosine, Associate Professor).

Financial Support

Every graduate student accepted and enrolled in the program has, to date, received financial support, the amount of which depends on a variety of institutional factors. Research Assistantships, Graduate Student Work Experience Program grants, Teaching Assistantships, and other paid positions are also available.

Students receive support for travel to present at national and international conferences.

Within the School of Music there are two dedicated Ethnomusicology bursaries. Memorial University also has a variety of awards recognizing academic distinction.

We encourage (and mentor) Canadian students to apply for federal funding through the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). One SSHRC grant program is also open to international students.

Further Information

Dr. Meghan Forsyth, Graduate Officer Ethnomusicology, School of Music, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland, A1C 5S7 Canada. Phone: 709-864-7486; FAX: 709-864-2666; Email: mforsyth@mun.ca

Program Secretary: Denise Porter, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, A1C 5S7 Canada. Phone: 709-864-7486; FAX: 709-864-2666; Email: dporter@mun.ca

Program Website


Related Websites

School of Music: www.mun.ca/music

Department of Folklore: www.mun.ca/folklore

Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media and Place (MMaP): www.mun.ca/mmap

School of Graduate Studies: www.mun.ca/sgs


The content for Memorial University of Newfoundland was last updated November 22, 2019.

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