Major in the


Our specialist studies in Ethnomusicology give you the chance to explore your intellectual curiosity and consider music from a philosophical and methodological point of view.

Ethnomusicology considers why people make music the way that they do, particularly the social processes involved in music-making.

During your studies, you will develop knowledge, skills and practices that provide a basis for independent critical enquiry and research-based writing, as well as the ability and self-confidence to comprehend and present complex concepts.

The musicology and ethnomusicology majors offer you a highly flexible course structure, with opportunities to blend academic and performance-based activities through participation in ensemble and chamber-music activities.

The majors can also offer a pathway to specialised study at honours or graduate level.


This major can be your pathway to a range of employment options within a musical portfolio career, including:

  • Music researcher
  • Music journalist
  • Music critic or reviewer
  • Music editor
  • Music educator
  • Music administrator.

Subjects you could take in this major

  • An overview of music, culture and society in Western Europe from the 17 th to the late 18 th centuries. Through an examination of works by Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Handel, J. S. Bach, W. A. Mozart, and J. Haydn, among others, students will explore the development of musical styles during this period in their cultural, social and political contexts.

    In-class discussions, quizzes, and exercises will support students as they explore current scholarship on authenticity and performance practice, music and politics, gender and sexuality, and music and meaning.

    Students will engage in an individual project on a work relevant to them, which they will explore from performative, historical and analytical perspectives. The three tutorial assignments will support them through the research process culminating in their essay.

  • Building in complexity from the foundation of Aural 1, a program to continue the development of musicianship through Solfège, linking theoretical concepts, reading and writing of musical notation with aural development through a range of activities in tutorial and lecture/workshop settings.

  • An overview of musical works ans ideas from the 19th century. Representative works of the period are introduced in their social and cultural contexts. The subject also looks at music and its audiences, and the role of music institutions in shaping music history. The focus will mainly be Western Europe with a segment on music in Australia.

  • Building on the knowledge acquired in Music Language 1, Music Language 2 continues with a survey of chromatic harmony, select thematic and contrapuntal devices, and form, up to the beginnings of the dissolution of functional harmony in the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries. Students will be expected to demonstrate their understanding of voice leading and harmonic function through regular assignments which will include analysis, chord construction, the writing of two-part contrapuntal textures and four-part chromatic harmonic textures (Bach-style chorales).

  • The subject provides an introduction to understanding and learning about music in the non western world. It introduces some specific music cultures - for example, from North and Southeast Asia, India, Eastern Europe, West Africa and Indigenous Australia – in their traditional and contemporary contexts. The effects on music of globalisation including diaspora, cultural tourism, cyberspace and westernisation are incorporated into the case studies.

  • In this subject, we explore representative styles of Western art music from 1900 to the present. The music will be examined from a number of perspectives including nationalist and internationalist currents, modernist tendencies and the quest for order and disorder, and with reference to wider socio-cultural contexts. The music of Australia will also be studied in relation to corresponding global trends.

  • This subject provides the basis for the writing of a dissertation. It introduces students to current issues in musicology and the variety of resources and methodologies available for musicological research. Bibliographic skills will be developed. Students will increase their awareness of available research resources in various fields. Topics include an introduction to the skills and techniques of musicological research, including such issues as music bibliographies, editorial practices and archival practices, as well as the mechanics of dissertation writing.

  • This subject is designed for students considering undertaking honours or graduate research based on musical ethnography. You will be introduced to some historical and contemporary models of ethnographic representation and writing, fieldwork methods, and ethical issues in musical ethnography. Your learning will be based on readings, practical activities, contributions to seminar discussions and independent research in your area of musical interest, whether in Western or non-Western music.