Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Ethnomusicology MUSIC4091

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course critically examines the discipline of ethnomusicology: its origins, relationship with other approaches to the study of music, and cutting-edge contemporary manifestations. It introduces students to a variety of musical practices from around the world, covering contexts from across Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa, and provides a critical perspective on the place of these traditions within global patterns of economic power. Introducing students to the ethnographic study of music, it explores diverse conceptualisations of sonic creativity from multiple global contexts upon which ethnography provides an important perspective.


1x1h lecture; 1x1hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in Music and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Entry to BMus, Ma, BEng or MEng Honours.

Excluded Courses





Essay (2,500 words) - 50% - students respond to an essay question relating to the course materials

Report (2,500 words) - 50% - students carry out ethnographic research, involving observation, participation, and possible interviews, into a music scene local to Glasgow (or otherwise accessible to them) 

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ Study the diversity of musics from a variety of global contexts,

■ Examine alternatives to the harmonic and rhythmic systems of Western classical music

■ Learn about the practice of ethnography for the study of music, both through desk-based study and through independent projects

■ Study and evaluate diverse practices of listening to music

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Engage with musics from a variety of global contexts in relation to their histories

■ Apply a diversity of listening strategies

■ Utilise critical thinking, in the form of an essay, about the relationship between music and global patterns of power

■ Develop and utilise transferable skills in ethnographic research, including observation, participation, and possible interviews - into musical practice 

■ Present their own ethnographic research in a well-organised report.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.