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Royal Holloway, University of London
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Royal Holloway, University of London

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

UNDERGRADUATE: The BMus Degree in Music (or BA if joint with another subject) offers many opportunities to develop ethnomusicological interests. Courses include:

First year courses which include major world/ethnomusicological music components (usually around 60 students):

  • Introduction to World Music

Second or Third year option courses with an ethnomusicological focus (15-25 students; 15 for performance options):

  • Traditional Music of the Andes (Henry Stobart)
  • Music in the Nordic and Finno-Ugric World (Tina K. Ramnarine)
  • Music of the Mediterranean – Oral Traditions (Henry Stobart)
  • Popular Music of Latin America (Geoff Baker)
  • Ensemble Performance in Sundanese Gamelan (Simon Cook)
  • Ensemble Performance in Andean Music (Henry Stobart)
  • Music of the Balkans (Jim Samson)
  • Music and Orientalism (Rachel Beckles Willson)
  • Bollywood Music in Context (Anna Morcom)
  • Music, Environment and Ecology (Henry Stobart)
  • Indian Music(Anna Morcom)
  • ‘Orchestras’ around the world (Tina Ramnarine)
  • Music, Power and Politics (Shzr Ee Tan and Anna Morcom)

Third year option course:

  • Special Study Dissertation (ethnomusicological topics/ethnographic approaches)

POSTGRADUATE: The Mmus in Advanced Musical Studies programme offer a full range of options course in Ethnomusicology. These include:

  • Techniques in Ethnomusicology
  • Topics in World Music
  • Music of the Americas (in collaboration with the University of London’s Institute for the Study of the Americas)
  • Documenting Performance (students document the process of learning to perform a previously unfamiliar instrument or vocal style)
  • Special Study Dissertation (12-15,00 words. 40% of programme)

Mphil/PhD: Ethnomusicological research topics are also warmly encouraged on the department’s large doctoral programme.

Special Resources

Students are able to participate in World Music Performance either as part of their coursework or as an extracurricular activity. Regular ensembles include:

  • Andean Band (led by Henry Stobart) – the department houses one of the largest working collections of Andean instruments in Europe. This ensemble performs on wide array of different forms of panpipes, flutes, drums, and guitars, and gives regular public performances, sometimes in collaboration with Andean musicians.
  • Sundanese Gamelan (led by Simon Cook) – the department’s dedicated set of gamelan instruments Gamelan Puloganti was imported from Java in 2004. The ensemble gives regular public performances, sometimes in combination with Wayang (puppetry) – collaborating with Matthew Cohen of Royal Holloway’s Drama & Theatre Department (an expert of world puppetry traditions).

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Geoffrey Baker. (Senior Lecturer) specialises in the musical traditions of Latin America and has published research on Cuban popular music and Peruvian colonial music. He is currently engaged in two research projects on childhood musical learning in Venezuela and Cuba.

Simon Cook. (Honorary Associate) is a leading UK authority on Sundanese Gamelan Performance.

Anna Morcom. (RCUK Academic Fellow) has published the first book by an ethnomusicologist on Indian Bollywood film music as well as work on Tibetan musical culture, and is currently involved in a major research project on the sociology of popular dance in India.

Tina K. Ramnarine. (Professor) has interests in music, politics, and environment and has published extensively on music in the Nordic countries and the Caribbean. She has acted as Chair of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology and editor of Ethnomusicology Forum. Currently, she co-convenes the RHUL Postcolonial Research Group.

Henry Stobart. (Senior Lecturer) specialises in the music of Latin America and has published widely on the rural musics of the Bolivian Andes. He is a former committee member of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology and founder/organiser of the UK Latin American Music Seminar.

Shzr Ee Tan. (British Academy Postdoctoral Researcher) specialises on aspects of music and media and has published on Amis aboriginal folksong (Taiwan) and new media platforms in the Chinese diaspora.

The research and teaching environment of the department as a whole (which counts 18 academic staff) fosters global, integrated, and multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of music. For example, although already authorities on Western Art Music research, Rachel Beckles Willson is currently involved in a project in the Middle East, and Jim Samson is completing Leverhulme funded research on the musics of the Balkans. A range of collaborations also exist across departments (for example with Drama and Theatre, which runs a Noh Theatre and hosts the Indigeneity in the Contemporary World: Performance, Politics, Belonging project).

General Program Statement

Ethnomusicology is a vibrant and integral aspect of teaching and research at Royal Holloway, which aims to foster a rich, broad, integrated, and open-minded approach to music studies. The Music Department, which was rated top department in the UK in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, benefits from one of the largest concentrations of ethnomusicologists in the country with areas of expertise focused on the Americas (including the Caribbean), the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and its Arctic regions, South Asia, Tibet, China, and Singapore. Courses in ethnomusicological and world music topics are offered at all levels and provide a wide range of opportunities to draw on staff research expertise. In addition to a broad range of more specifically ethnomusicological themes and approaches, a broad range of courses are also offered in film music, composition, performance, analysis, and historical musicology.

Financial Support

Royal Holloway offers a range bursaries and scholarships for undergraduate students (see "Related Websites" below for URL) in addition to special choral and instrumental scholarships. Opportunities for international undergraduates include the Royal Holloway International Excellent Scholarships. At the postgraduate level, various Masters studentships are available as well as the Reid and Thomas Holloway Scholarship for doctoral study (see "Related Websites below for URL).

Further Information

Dr. Henry Stobart, Department of Music, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX United Kingdom. Email: h.stobart@rhul.ac.uk

Program Website


Related Websites

Undergraduate financial aid: http://www.rhul.ac.uk/Prospective-Students/finance/index.html

Graduate financial aid: http://www.rhul.ac.uk/Graduate-School/pages/funding.html

The content for Royal Holloway, University of London was last updated June 23, 2010.

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