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University of Texas at Austin
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University of Texas at Austin
Butler School of Music
Musicology/Ethnomusicology Division

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

The Butler School of Music offers M.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Ethnomusicology.

Program Focus

The Graduate Program in Ethnomusicology emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to musical studies that reaches from its home base in the Butler School of Music across campus to draw on the expertise of faculty in departments, Centers and Institutes in the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Communications. The program welcomes integration with our colleagues in historical musicology and allows students considerable leeway in devising a curriculum that includes courses ranging from seminars in music history to area studies seminars and courses in cultural anthropology. While we encourage our students to engage with current concerns and issues in the field of ethnomusicology, we also incorporate the full history of ideas in the field in preparing students for professional careers as ethnomusicologists and related positions. While the faculty have area expertise in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, our students are free to pursue research in any music of any time or place. Recent seminars offered or soon to be offered by ethnomusicology faculty include: Music and Intellectual Property Law; Music, Gender and Sexuality; Emotion, Meaning and Aesthetics in Music; Auditory Culture; Music of the Spanish Caribbean; South Asian Music in the Post-Colonial World; Music and Modernity in Indonesia.

Special Resources

The ethnomusicology program maintains a small working Archives for Ethnomusicology that includes a music analysis laboratory. The program also maintains a musical instrument collection, emphasizing instruments that are incorporated in our performing ensembles, including a full slendro/pelog central Javanese gamelan in the Jogyakarta style, Kyai Rosowibowo. The Butler School of Music maintains a large computer lab that is open to all students seeking degrees in the School. The UT Libraries maintain several special collections (particularly strong in Latin American and Asian Studies holdings) that are excellent resources for students in the program. The Doty Fine Arts Library, in addition to its fine collection of books, journals and reference materials relevant to ethnomusicological research, maintains an extensive audio-visual collection that is particularly strong in World Music and popular music. The Harry Ransom Center is an important resource for scholars of the Humanities, maintaining special collections of rare books, manuscripts, photography, art and the performing arts. The Musicology/Ethnomusicology Division brings several visiting speakers to campus each year and also supports performers in residence when possible.

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Veit Erlmann. (Dr.phil., Cologne, Dr.habil. Cologne, Dr.habil., FU Berlin) Endowed Chair of Music History, Professor of Music and Anthropology. Area specialization in West, Central, Southern Africa and Indonesia; theoretical interests: globalization, modernity, media, world music, diaspora, history of sound; intellectual property law.

Robin Moore. (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin) Professor. Musics of Latin America with emphasis in the Caribbean and Mexico. Theoretical interests: music and race relations, historical ethnomusicology, nationalism, music and socialism.

Sonia Tamar Seeman. (Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles) Assistant Professor; joint appointment in ethnomusicology and Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Musical practices of Middle East and Southeastern Europe, with emphasis on former Ottoman territories and Roma minority communities; post-structuralism, feminist and gender theories, identity and alterity construction, continental philosophy.

Stephen Slawek. (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; M.Mus. Banaras Hindu University) Professor. Affiliate of the South Asia Institute. Musics of South Asia and U.S. popular music; improvisation; ethnotheory; identity, difference and power relations; musical change; post-colonialism and music; aesthetics and musical meaning; performance practice of Hindustani sangita (sitar); Javanese gamelan (gender barung, bonang barung).

General Program Statement

The Graduate Program in Ethnomusicology is administered through the Musicology/Ethnomusicology Division of the Butler School of Music. The Musicology/Ethnomusicology Division is unusual in American academia for its integration of musicology and ethnomusicology, history and ethnography; we encourage our students to challenge the shifting boundaries between Western "art” repertories, non-Western traditions, and popular music. Graduate students receive solid training in a variety of historical, historiographic, analytical, cultural, and ethnographic issues before specializing in a historical period, geographical area, or a combination of these and other fields. The study of ethnomusicology at The University of Texas at Austin is conceived of and taught as a holistic, interdisciplinary research field emphasizing all processes and products of human musical invention. The program embraces the diverse intellectual means and approaches, the blending of humanistic and social scientific disciplines, and the rigorous commitment to prolonged field research as prerequisites to the success of such academic adventures. The existence on campus of several strong and diverse area study centers provide valuable resources to our students. These include the Center for European Studies; the Center for Mexican-American Studies; the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies; the John L. Warfield Center for African-American and African Studies; the South Asia Institute; and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies.

Graduate degrees are offered at The University of Texas at Austin with a concentration in ethnomusicology. Graduate applicants are selected for their motivation and ability to make significant contributions to theory, research, and interpretation of the world’s differing musical systems, ideologies, and practices. Students typically maintain a close relationship with a related Institute or program such as the Américo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, or the South Asia Institute. Undergraduate students may elect a Musicology or Ethnomusicology Concentration within the Bachelor of Arts in Music program.

Financial Support

Fellowships and assistantship support are available through the Butler School of Music. Students are eligible to compete for Foreign Language Area Study Fellowships offered by qualified Centers and Institutes. The University offers Pre-emptive Fellowships to the most outstanding applicants and Continuing Fellowships to students demonstrating extraordinary promise during their graduate studies.

Further Information

UT Austin, Butler School of Music, Graduate Admissions, 1 University Station E3100, Austin TX 78712-0435. Graduate Office phone: 512-471-0799.

Program Website


Related Websites

Butler School of Music: http://music.utexas.edu/

Information for prospective applicants: http://musethno.music.utexas.edu/prospective-students/


The content for University of Texas at Austin was last updated June 6, 2011.

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