MUSV1033 - Ethnomusicology: Music, Culture, Globalisation


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Assignment
Grade: Letters

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Assignment 50/100 8 weeks
Assignment 50/100 8 weeks

Course content

This course offers an introduction to the field of ethnomusicology. While ethnomusicology used to involve the study of music in distant parts of the world and oral traditions in the West, ethnomusicologists have in the last thirty years turned their attention to all forms of traditional, popular, and classical musics. Today ethnomusicology is a dynamic interdisciplinary field practiced all over the world that seeks to understand music in its cultural, social, and political context through ethnographic research methods. In this course, we will explore different aspects of the discipline from its origins in the early nineteenth century school of comparative musicology to its present-day practice in a globalised world. We will trace theories and ideologies that have motivated ethnomusicological enquiry, such as salvage ethnography, diffusionism, and cultural relativism. Another aspect of the course focuses on different research methods, such as participant-observation, transcription, and bi-musicality. We will discuss the impact of postcolonial theory on the discipline, particularly the politics of writing ethnography and research ethics. Finally, we will explore important debates in the discipline, such as diaspora studies, music and media, and applied research.

Learning outcome


Students who complete this course successfully will have:

  • gained knowledge of the history of the discipline of ethnomusicology, the methods ethnomusicologists employ and the theories that have shaped the field
  • learned about specific musical artists, traditions, and institutions around the world
  • deepened their understanding of important contemporary debates in the field of ethnomusicology


Students who complete this course will have:

  • gained the ability to discuss ethnomusicological literature
  • developed their skills in critically analysing audio-visual material
  • deepened their expertise in presenting (both orally and in writing) original thoughts on current debates

Learning methods and activities

This course will consist of lectures and seminars with obligatory attendance (minimum 80% participation). Each lecture will be based on readings and audio-visual case studies. The lectures will also incorporate student discussions and group activities. In addition, the course will include guest lectures, a trip to music archives, a dance/music workshop and a short fieldtrip exercise. It is expected that students will be prepared to discuss the set texts and their views on them at each lecture. Students are also required to keep a journal/diary charting their learning after each class. One week before the submission of semester essays, students will be required to give and receive peer-feedback on assignments.

Compulsory assignments

  • Satisfactory participation in compulsory instruction
  • Journal/diary
  • Assignment peer-feedback

Further on evaluation

Students are required to submit two semester essays. One will be due at the end of the first semester, the second at the end of the course. Each essay should be 8-10 pages long, with font size 12, line spacing 1.5.

If the course is not passed, the student must retake the whole assessment.

Specific conditions

Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Admission to a programme of study is required:
Musicology (BMUSV)
Musicology (ÅMUSV)

Required previous knowledge

Requires admission to the Bachelor's programme or the One-year programme in Musicology.

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
MUSV1013 7.5 AUTUMN 2020
More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Foundation courses, level I


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2021

Term no.: 2
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2022

Language of instruction: English, Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Musicology
Contact information
Course coordinator: Lecturer(s):

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Music


Examination arrangement: Assignment

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Assignment 50/100





Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Assignment 50/100





Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

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