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Klaus P. Wachsmann Prize for Advanced and Critical Essays in Organology
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To recognize a major publication that advances the field of organology through the presentation of new data and by using innovative methods in the study of musical instruments. The publication may be a monograph, an article, a unified series of articles, or a video/electronic media item. 

Eligibility: Any organological publication regarding a specific instrument, set of instruments, class of instruments, instruments of a particular culture, instruments in general, or organology as a whole. The work must be published within the past three years, allowing the last year to overlap into the next group of prize years (e.g., the prize presented in 2020 is for works published in 2017, 2018, or 2019). No work may be considered twice.

Prize: $300 cash prize

Regularity: Awarded biennially (even years)

Administration: The Klaus Wachsmann Prize Committee consists of a Chair and two other members appointed by the SEM President, as well as the most recent winner. The Chair will be responsible for monitoring the number of nominations in advance of the selection period, and for encouraging further nominations when they are insufficient according to the Committee's judgment. The Prize may be withheld by decision of the Committee.

Application Deadline: April 1, 2020

Application Instructions: All applicants must be submitted through our online application form. Applicants may only submit one publication during an application cycle.

Nominations, including self-nominations, may be made by submitting one copy of the publication(s) to the Klaus Wachsmann Prize Committee through the online application. If you are submitting a hard copy you must mail 4 physical copies of the publication to the SEM Business Office. It is recommended that copies of reviews be included when available. 

If in a language other than English, the nomination must be accompanied by a letter in English summarizing the work and explaining the unique nature of its contribution to the field. An English translation of the table of contents of a book or monograph should also be enclosed. If the submission is an article, rather than a hard copy, it should be submitted with your online application.

Send Hard Copies To: Chair, Klaus Wachsmann Prize Committee, c/o Business Office, Society for Ethnomusicology, Indiana University, 800 E. 3rd St, Bloomington, IN 47405-3657.



Richard Jones-Bamman. Building New Banjos for an Old-Time World. University of Illinois Press, 2017.


Allen Roda. Three articles in organology.

(Honorable Mention) Julia Byl. Antiphonal Histories: Resonant Pasts in the Toba Batak Musical Present.


Marion Jacobson. Squeeze This! A cultural history of the accordion in America. University of Illinois Press, 2013.


Matt Rahaim. "That Ban(e) of Indian Music: Hearing Politics in the Harmonium.”


Frederick Moehn. "A Carioca Blade Runner, or How Percussionist Marcos Suzano Turned the Brazilian Tambourine into a Drum Kit, and Other Matters of (Politically) Correct Music Making." Ethnomusicology 53(2), 2009.       


Theodore Burgh. Listening to the Artifacts: Music Culture in Ancient Palestine. T & T Clark International, 2006.         


Paul D. Greene and Thomas Porcello. Wired for Sound: Engineering and Technologies in Sonic Cultures. Wesleyan University Press, 2005.      


Mark F. DeWitt. "The Diatonic Button Accordion in Ethnic Context: Idiom and Style in Cajun Dance Music." Popular Music & Society 26(3): 305-330. 2003.


Reza Mohammad. Dâyeratâlomâref-e sâzhâ-ye Irân. (Encyclopedia of the Musical Instruments of Iran, vol. 1, titled Chrodophones in Regional Music)         


Paul Theberge. Any Sound You Can Imagine: Making Music/Consuming Technology. University of New England Press. 1997.


Toshiro Kido. Reconstructed Music Instruments of Ancient East Asia. 1994.


Sue Carole DeVale. Career Achievement Award in recognition of her outstanding scholarship and publication.


Elizabeth Tatar.


Tellef Kvifte. Instruments and the Electronic Age: Toward a Terminology for a Unified Description of Playing Technique.  Solum forlag, Oslo, Norway. 1989.


Thomas Vennum, Jr. The Ojibwa Dance Drum: Its Historical Construction. Smithsonian Institution Press.  1982.       


Hugo Zemp. Tailler le Bambou. 1979.              

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