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Bruno Nettl Prize
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To recognize an outstanding publication contributing to or dealing with the history of the field of ethnomusicology, broadly defined, or with the general character, problems, and methods of ethnomusicology. This is intended to include predecessor disciplines (e.g., comparative musicology) and closely related fields (e.g., folksong study) and, where deemed appropriate, contributions involving the relationship of ethnomusicology to other fields such as historical musicology, anthropology, music theory, systematic musicology, or organology. The publication may contemplate the field as a whole as well as more restrictive or local components; institutional and organizational history as well as biographical contributions may also be considered. Finally, the publication may be a study in historical ethnomusicology that addresses theoretical or methodological issues.

Eligibility: The submission must have been published during the previous year and may be a monograph, edited volume, article, or chapter in a book. Relevant audio and visual recordings or films may also be considered. Along with work by SEM members in English, publications by non-members of SEM are eligible, as are publications in a language other than English.

Prize: $500.

Regularity: Annually.

Administration: The Bruno Nettl Prize Committee consists of a Chair, the previous year's winner, and two other members appointed by the SEM President.

Application Process: Nominations, including self-nominations, may be made by completing our new online application form. PDF files can be submitted through the online form. If submitting hard copies please mail 5 hard copies to the SEM business office. Applicants may submit only one publication during an application cycle.

Application Deadline: April 1.

Submit an Online Application and if submitting hard copies, send 5 to:

Society for Ethnomusicology
Att: Nettl Prize
800 E. 3rd St
Bloomington, IN 47405

For questions regarding the submission process, please contact Stephanie Sturgis, SEM Program Specialist, at sem@indiana.edu.



Jim Sykes.The Musical Gift: Sonic Generosity in Post-War Sri Lanka. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.


(Co-recipient) David Garcia. Listening for Africa: Freedom, Modernity, and the Logic of Black Music's African Origins (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017).

(Co-recipient) Elizabeth Markham, Naoko Terauchi, Rembrandt Wolpert, eds. What the Doctor Overheard: Dr. Leopold Müller's Account of Music in Early Meiji Japan (Ithaca, NY: Cornell East Asia, 2017)


Javier F. León and Helena Simonett, eds. Views from the South: A Latin American Music Reader (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2016).


Henry Spiller. Javaphilia: American Love Affairs with Javanese Music and Dance (Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2015).

(Honorable Mention) Michael Iyanaga. "On Flogging the Dead Horse, Again: Historicity, Genealogy, and Objectivity in Richard Waterman's Approach to Music." Ethnomusicology 59, no. 2 (2015): 173-201.


Philip V. Bohlman, ed. The Cambridge History of World Music. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

(Honorable Mention) Hettie Malcomson. "Aficionados, Academics, and Danzón Expertise: Exploring Hierarchies in Popular Music Knowledge Production." Ethnomusicology 58, no. 2 (2014): 222-253.


Anna Maria Busse Berger. "Spreading the Gospel of Singbewegung: An Ethnomusicologist Missionary in Tanganyika of the 1930s.” Journal of the American Musicological Society. 66, no. 2 (2013): 475–522. 

David Murray. Longing for the Past: The 78rpm Era in Southeast Asia (Atlanta: Dust-to-Digital, 2013).


Eliot Bates. "The Social Life of Musical Instruments.” Ethnomusicology 56, no. 3 (2012): 363-95.

David Trippett. The Origins of Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). 


Koch, Lars-Christian and Susanne Ziegler. 1909–1936: Wax Cylinder Recordings from Palau, Micronesia (Vol. 6) and Wax Cylinder Recordings from Southeast Europe: G. Küppers-Sonnenberg 1935–1939 (Vol. 7) (Berlin: Phonogram Archive of the Berlin Ethnological Museum, 2011).

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