MUSV1033 - Ethnomusicology: Music, Culture, Globalisation


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Aggregate score
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Semester essay 40/100
Reflection journal 20/100
Collaborative project (blog/podcast) 40/100

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 forty 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. Ethnomusicological perspectives thus offer significant insights into the complex globalised world we live in today.

In this course, we will explore different aspects of the discipline’s history, methods, and current topical debates. We trace earlier strands of the discipline shaped by problematic notions of nationalism, cultural evolutionism, and salvage ethnography. We connect today’s diasporic and Indigenous music traditions to histories of oppression, articulations of belonging, and the politics of resistance. Accounting for the impact of technology on music, we review discussions on representation, rivitalisation, and cultural appropriation. We also turn attention to ourselves, looking at the ways in which music shapes our own everyday life and sense of identity in a digital world. Through focusing on feminist and postcolonial perspectives, we furthermore look at how ethnomusicologists have revised their research methods, fieldwork ethics, and ways of communicating their work through academic texts, popular media, and museums. In particular, we survey applied ethnomusicological perspectives that highlight the responsibilities and potentials of researchers such as those working in contexts impacted by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and forced migration. Finally, we inspect recent discussions concerning decolonising the field of ethnomusicology and what the discipline can offer a world currently facing armed conflict, rising fascism, and climate change.

Classes will include examples of different musical figures, traditions and institutions from around the world. There will also be presentations/workshops held by local invited musicians/artists. In addition, the course will involve excursions to local cultural institutions.

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
  • Fieldnotes diary
  • Assignment peer-feedback

Further on evaluation

Assessment consists of:

1) one semester essay (8-10 pages long, font size 12, line spacing 1.5)

2) a collaborative project (blogpost of 1500-2500 words, or podcast of 30-40 minutes)

3) a reflection journal (3-4 pages long, font size 12, line spacing 1.5)

Specific conditions

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

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 2023

Term no.: 2
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2024

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: Aggregate score

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Spring ORD Semester essay 40/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Collaborative project (blog/podcast) 40/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Reflection journal 20/100 INSPERA
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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