What is an Ethnomusicologist?

An ethnomusicologist studies the music of the world. Ethnomusicology involves skills from a multitude of disciplines like cultural anthropology, psychology, folklore and conventional musicology.

What does an Ethnomusicologist do?

An ethnomusicologist will look at music from within a culture instead of a purely artistic perspective, and does so by traveling to the area of interest and collecting information.

Since video recordings are now considered cultural texts, ethnomusicologists can conduct their field work by creating documentaries and recording music performances of the people behind the music.

Three musicians from Mexico playing guitar and singing.

Ethnomusicologists are active in a variety of areas. As researchers, they study music from any part of the world and look at its connections to all elements of social life. As educators, they teach courses in musics of the world, popular music, the cultural study of music, and a range of more specialized classes (for example, sacred music traditions, music and politics, disciplinary approaches and methods).

Ethnomusicologists also play a role in public culture. Together with the music communities that they study, ethnomusicologists may promote and document music traditions or participate in projects that involve cultural policy, conflict resolution, medicine, arts programming, or community music.

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What is the workplace of an Ethnomusicologist like?

Ethnomusicologists aim to understand not only what music is, but how it affects us as human beings and as social beings.

Ethnomusicologists may work with museums, cultural festivals, recording labels, and other institutions that appreciate and promote the appreciation of music.