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University of Washington
Ethnomusicology Program

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

The Ethnomusicology program within the University of Washington School of Music encourages students to learn and apply theoretical perspectives and methodologies from diverse disciplines. The program also stresses performative engagement with visiting artists, encouraging students to embrace music-making as central to their research and scholarship. While faculty have their own geographical/cultural and theoretical specializations, the program’s variety of theoretical and performance training is designed to support students in any geographical/cultural specialization they choose.  Students who want to concentrate in Ethnomusicology have the choice of three degree programs: B.A., M.A., and Ph.D.

Program Statement

Ethnomusicology degree programs at the University of Washington feature an integrated interdisciplinary approach to the study of music and culture. Our faculty are members of the School of Music and adjunct members of other departments; our students are able to enroll in courses in Ethnomusicology, across the Music specializations, and in disciplines and area studies programs in the university. The B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. programs combine academic coursework in these disciplines with firsthand musical experience through individual lessons and ensembles, taught by leading performers from the world’s musical traditions who join us each year as artists in residence. Students also have options to perform in the steel band, Javanese gamelan, and gospel choir.

Our students receive systematic training in the interdisciplinary theories and methods needed to understand both the universal and the unique aspects of cultures and musical traditions. They work in fields as diverse as anthropology, linguistics, comparative religions, cultural ecology, education, ethnomedicine, gender studies, history, literary studies, philosophy, folklore, library science, computer applications, video documentation, and musicological approaches, from historical studies to formal analysis. Students working towards the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees have in recent years conducted field research on traditional, popular, and immigrant musics in countries across the world. Graduates of the program presently hold positions at major universities in the U.S. and abroad, as well as in a variety of public-service organizations.

Special Resources

The UW Ethnomusicology program has since 1962 hosted musicians from across the world as artists in residence. In addition to visiting artists, whom we continue to feature within the program, Seattle is home to a wide array of musicians and musical communities with whom students in the Ethnomusicology program can study and perform. Our Ethnomusicology Archives houses a large collection of field recordings, live concert recordings, films and videos of a variety of musical events, and musical instruments. The mission of the archives includes the collection, documentation, and preservation of ethnographic materials for use by students, researchers, and members of source communities. We encourage collaborative projects with other departments and UW entities, as well as community partners. Examples of such collaborations include a museum exhibit at the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum titled “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music”; the Seattle Fandango Project, building community through participatory music; "Music Alive! In the Yakima Valley,” an educational initiative to provide musical opportunities for Mexican American and Native American school children; and a variety of collaborations with UW area studies programs. We enjoy a close relationship with the UW Music Education program, and graduate students from both Ethnomusicology and Music Education have worked creatively on projects involving music education and transmission.

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Patricia Shehan Campbell. Professor. Ph.D., Music, Kent State University. Children's Musical Cultures, World Music Pedagogy, Community Music.

Shannon Dudley. Associate Professor; Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Ethnic Studies. Ph.D., Music, University of California, Berkeley. Caribbean and Latin America; Nationalism, Festival, Participatory Music.

Christina Sunardi. Associate Professor. Ph.D., Music, University of California, Berkeley. Performing Arts of Java and Bali, Gender, Music in the United States.

Affiliated Faculty

Marisol Berríos-Miranda. Affiliate Assistant Professor (Music of the Caribbean and Latin America).

Stuart Dempster. Emeritus, Music (Didjeridou, Trombone, New Music).

Ramesh Gangolli. Emeritus, Mathematics (Musical Styles and Traditions, North India).

Michelle Habell-Pallan. Adjunct Associate Professor, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies (Chicano/a popular culture, critical race and gender theory).

Laurel Sercombe: Affiliate Assistant Professor, Ethnomusicology (Archiving, Native American music).

John Vallier. Affiliate Assistant Professor. Head of Distributed Media, UW Libraries (Archiving, music of Seattle).

Bell Yung: Affiliate Professor, Ethnomusicology (Music of China, Chinese opera).

Visiting Artists

Recent artists-in-residence have included Kevin Burke (Irish traditional fiddle), Paco Diez (musics and instruments of Spain), Thione Diop (Senegalese sabab drumming), Zakir Hussain (Hindustani tabla), Srivani Jade (Hindustani khyal), Kedmon Mapana (Wagogo, Tanzania), Heri Purwanto (Javanese gamelan), Sepideh Raissadat (Classical Persian vocal music), Pablo Rivera (Puerto Rican bomba), Homayoun Sahki and Salar Nader (Afghan rabab and tabla), and Ade Suparman (Sundanese kacapi-suling and gamelan).

Financial Support

The UW ethnomusicology program supports graduate students through a combination of teaching assistantships and fellowships, including FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) fellowships, Huckabay Teaching Assistantships, and AIRS: Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing research support. Our students also have been successful in acquiring a variety of teaching assistantships and fellowships from outside the School of Music, including FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) fellowships.

Further Information

Christina Sunardi, Program Chair of Ethnomusicology, School of Music, Box 353450, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-3450, USA. Email: csunardi@uw.edu

Program Website


Ethnomusicology Student Group

Ethnomusicology Students Association: ethnoids@uw.edu

Related Websites

University of Washington School of Music: http://www.music.washington.edu/home/


The content for University of Washington was last updated October 3, 2017.

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