Program Overview

If music affects you deeply, and if you are curious about music as a human activity, consider graduate work in ethnomusicology, the study of people making music. At Brown, students are free to explore the meanings of music and sound through broad and deep acquaintance with musical cultures throughout the world. Ethnomusicologists document, analyze, and interpret music both as design or structure, and as performance situated in its historical, aesthetic, and social contexts.

Undergraduate | Graduate | People

Undergraduate level

Undergraduates may pursue Ethnomusicology coursework from the moment they arrive as freshmen by enrolling in one of our first-year seminars or taking one of several introductory courses, such as Latino Diaspora Music, Popular Music and Society in Latin America, World Music Cultures or Diaspora Music in the Americas. As an Ethnomusicology concentrator, students go on to choose from a variety of upper level classes designed to explore structure and meaning in music outside the western art music tradition through area studies, performance, and courses focusing on methodology. These include Studies in Ethnomusicology, Music and Cultural Policy, Indigenous Music of the Americas, Music and Mind, Music and Modern Life, Musical Youth Cultures, American Roots Music, and Beyond Bossa Nova: Brazilian Music and Society, to name but a few. Methodology courses introduce ideas and techniques involved in documenting and understanding music throughout the world, while topics courses explore a single subject intensively. For those who wish to study ethnomusicology in conjunction with cultural studies in jazz, there is the opportunity to combine jazz with analytical and ethnographic perspectives in classes like Jazz and American Culture and Seminar in Jazz Studies.

Undergraduate concentration:
Degree requirements

Ph.D Degree

Please note: for information about admissions for the 2019-20 year, please contact Joshua Tucker, current director of graduate studies

Brown has offered the M.A. and Ph.D. in ethnomusicology since 1968.Past and current graduate students have researched such topics as flamenco guitar in Spain, folk music in the Tatra Mountains of Poland, music education in Egypt and Jordan, music and politics in a community radio station, Arab music in Indonesia, international interventions meant to reconstruct identity through music in formerly war-torn Bosnia, and the old-time string band musical culture of southwestern Virginia. A Brown doctoral degree in Music with specialization in ethnomusicology leads to a career in college and university teaching, or to a position in applied ethnomusicology outside of the academic world.


C. Joshua Tucker - Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Graduate Studies
Website | Joshua Tucker

Kiri Miller - Associate Professor of Music
Website | Kiri Miller

Marc Perlman - Associate Professor of Music
Website | Marc Perlman



Additional information for entrance to the Ph.D program:
How to apply
Degree requirements 
Admissions FAQ