Course Descriptions

Core courses in the Master of Music Program in Ethnomusicology offer students an introduction to the field of study and training in fieldwork methods and techniques. Likewise, they learn about music of other cultures as well as contemporary issues in music research and scholarship. Students develop projects based on their own interests and conduct fieldwork to collect data to inform their coursework and thesis projects. In this program, emphasis is placed on music research in the U.S.- Mexico Border region, the Mexican diaspora, Greater Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America. Some core courses are cross-listed in Anthropology to allow non-music majors at the graduate level the opportunity to create a program that includes a focus on music and culture.

Core courses in Ethnomusicology include:

MUS 6334: "Research Methods in Music"

This course is required for all graduate students in music and should be taken in your first semester at the University, if offered. The purpose of this course is to prepare students for graduate level research, analysis and writing about music. They will learn skills for critical evaluation of research materials such as collected editions, bibliographies of music and music literature, discographies, directories, and databases. They will acquire strategies for developing bibliographies, the components of a research paper, solid written arguments, assessing academic and popular writings about music, exploring different genres of writing about and presenting on music, literature reviews and other related topics.

MUS 6337: “Foundations of Ethnomusicology” (cross-listed as ANTH 6337: “Anthropology of Music”)

This course introduces students to perspectives in the field of ethnomusicology and aims to introduce students to the history and practices of the discipline and current literature that has shaped the direction of the field. The anthropology of music approach represents a larger portion of ethnomusicological work, and anthropological methods and theories have provided an important basis for the discipline and its development.

MUS 6338/ANTH 6338: "Music Ethnography and Fieldwork Methods”

This course is an introduction to ethnographic fieldwork in ethnomusicology. The first part of the course introduces students to influential musical case studies written by ethnomusicologists, anthropologists and folklorists. In the second part, students will learn and critique research methodologies, approaches to interviewing and fieldwork, issues and ideas, archiving strategies, and analytical methods from different world regions and theoretical perspectives. They will also conduct research among musicians and musical communities in the Rio Grande Valley Border region.

MUS 6336: "History of Border Music and Performance"

This course is designed to promote a greater awareness of music’s role in the U.S./Mexico border region, with special attention to the historical development of folk and popular genres in South Texas. However, just as much as this course is about the history of music on the U.S.-Mexico border, it is also about exploring “the border” itself and how it is defined based on geographic, political, cultural, historical, ideological references. We explore this rather “fluid” notion of the border which contributes to the conflict and contradictory circumstances of living on, near, and “in-between” the border space.

MUS 6335: "Music of Greater Mexico"

This course is an exhaustive survey of Music of Mexico focusing on regional folk and popular genres as well as art music traditions informed by indigenous and folk genres. The course will explore how economics, politics, migration and globalization have all affected the evolution of music in Mexico. Likewise we will discover the work of important composers, songwriters and performers who have helped shape Mexican music and popular culture. To that end, music in Mexican films will also be examined.

MUS 6339 "Seminar in Music and Culture"

Topics will vary under this course number. Below are some, but not all, of the topic areas that might be offered:
"World Music Cultures" (cross listed with MUS 1309), "Women in Music" (cross-listed with MUS 3307) "Music of Africa and the African Diaspora," "Music of Latin America and the Caribbean," "Latino Popular Music, Migration and Identity," "Music and Globalization," "Politics of Music," "Performance Studies: Theory and Methods," "Music, Worship and Religious Practices."