Musicology & Ethnomusicology

The Department of Musicology & Ethnomusicology offers a lively atmosphere of intellectual ferment and collegiality. Members of the faculty are multidisciplined and have published widely in their fields. Their expertise runs the gamut from the Middle Ages to rock music, from Indonesia to Japan to Africa, and from manuscript studies to oral traditions. Students are encouraged to search new vistas of inquiry and stretch themselves intellectually in a supportive and cooperative environment. Our faculty and students are frequent co-presenters at regional, national, and international conferences, and are active participants in professional organizations. We warmly invite you to contact us with questions:

Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Music (BM) in Musicology
  • Master of Arts (MA) in Musicology
    with specializations in Musicology or Ethnomusicology
  • PhD in Musicology
    with specializations in Musicology, Ethnomusicology, or Musicology and Ethnomusicology

Unique Opportunities

The department is a constituent body both of the School of Music and of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and therefore has links to a large performing school as well as to a wide range of other academic departments. In addition, BU is a member of the Boston Consortium, a group of universities where students can cross-register for courses.

The Center for Early Music Studies at Boston University (CEMS) is dedicated to the cultivation and dissemination of performance, scholarship, and new pedagogical practices involving music of the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods. Drawing on a renowned cohort of scholar/performers at Boston University and the presence of a professional resident ensemble, the CEMS supports a regular cycle of lectures, concerts, visiting artists, and workshops, as well as conferences and mini courses. In addition, the CEMS collaborates with other departments and institutions to stimulate interdisciplinary research on early music and its place in the broader contexts of cultural history. As a point of convergence for performance, pedagogy, and scholarship, the CEMS will be at the leading edge of innovation in Boston’s “Silicon Valley” of early music.

For more information and the upcoming lecture schedule, please visit the CEMS website here.

Beethoven Center for Research is providing a focal point for current research on Beethoven’s life, work, and milieu, at the highest professional level; creating opportunities for scholars and performers to interact in symposia, workshops, and concerts; and enriching public understanding of Beethoven as composer and cultural figure through lectures, conferences, and concerts.

The Center promotes scholarship in a wide spectrum of Beethoven studies, with a focus on analysis and criticism, sketch and autograph studies, biography, and historical and cultural contexts. It maintains a library of books, scores, and facsimiles of original sources.

For more information and the upcoming events schedule, please visit the Research Center website here.

The Graduate Music Society unites graduate students in musicology, ethnomusicology, and music theory. The group facilitates scholarly discourse on music and provides sympathetic support for the unrelenting challenges of graduate school.

GMS hosts a nationally-recognized musicology conference every spring, where up-and-coming scholars present research ranging from South African hip-hop to Byrd motets. The Graduate Music Society also holds “Turbo Talks,” which feature strictly-timed ten-minute papers followed by five minutes of rigorous questioning: six breathtaking sprints of scholarship in the span of ninety minutes.

The Society also offers a release from the daily academic grind. Gathering regularly inside and outside the School of Music, conversations morph from the rigors of graduate work to far less related topics. GMS provides a platform to express concerns while bridging the graduate student community with the faculty and the larger academic community.

Recent Lectures and Residencies

  • Jacquelyn Sholes, Boston University
    “Two Generations of Homage and Historical Self-Positioning: Musical Memory in the Serenades of Brahms and Gustav Jenner”
  • Jonathan Hiam, New York Public Library
    “Restoring John Cage’s Rozart Mix (1965)”
  • Adriana Helbig, University of Pittsburgh
    “Hip Hop Ukraine”
  • Anne Smith, Schola Cantorum, Basel
    “The Musical Aesthetic of the Singbewegung and its Influence on Historically Informed Performance Practice”
  • Stephen Walsh, Cardiff University
    “Homing in on Stravinsky”
  • Trent Leipert, Boston University
    “Post-cinematic Opera and Transpersonal Affect: Fausto Romitelli’s Submerged Subject”

Faculty Members

Notable Alumni

  • HC Robbins Landon,
    American musicologist, journalist, historian and broadcaster (deceased)
  • Bonnie Wade,
    Professor, University of California, Berkeley
  • Ellen Koskoff,
    Professor Emerita of Ethnomusicology, Eastman School of Music
  • Rebecca Anne Baltzer,
    Professor Emeritus, University of Texas at Austin
  • Thomas Christensen,
    Professor, Chair – Department of Music, University of Chicago
  • John Joseph Daverio,
    Professor, Boston University (deceased)
  • Mark Sumner Harvey,
    Senior Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Nelly Maude Case,
    Professor, SUNY Potsdam
  • Richard Marc Friedman,
    Film Composer
  • Matthew John Ruggiero,
    Faculty, Boston University (deceased)
  • Elizabeth Anne Seitz,
    Faculty, Boston Conservatory
  • Simon Keefe,
    Professor, The University of Sheffield (UK)
  • James Andrew Davis,
    Professor, Chair of Musicology, SUNY Fredonia
  • Eftychia Papanikolaou,
    Associate Professor, Bowling Green State University
  • Jonathan Hiam,
    Curator, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts