Ethnomusicology is the study of music in its cultural context with particular attention to ways that musicians and audiences create and understand musical forms and meanings. Its methods are built on detailed ethnographic fieldwork, yet are also often informed by historical inquiry. In Australia, ethnomusicology has become an intrinsically applied discipline through which scholars seek to deliver useful outcomes and resources for musicians and their communities. Ethnomusicology was established as a research discipline at ANU by Adjunct A/Prof Stephen Wild, who has served as both Secretary-General and Vice-President of the peak UNESCO body, the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM). Postgraduate ethnomusicologists at ANU perform and research music from all over the world, and collaborate with a broad range of community organisations, arts companies and international bodies concerned with sustaining humanity’s cultural diversity in an increasingly globalised world. Research in this area is also supported by our large collection of musical instruments, which includes complete sets of West African Ewe and Ashanti drums, Thai and Javanese gamelan orchestras, and South Indian and East Asian percussion.
Dr Bonnie McConnell is an ethnomusicologist with expertise in medical ethnomusicology; music, gender and Islam; and music of Africa and the African diaspora. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Fulbright-Hays Program and the American Association of University Women.
Dr Christopher Sainsbury provides research expertise in this area with a focus on regionalism in composition, new guitar music, Aboriginal new music and mechanisms of support for Aboriginal composers, and Australian popular music. He is a descendant of the Aboriginal people of Sydney and the Central Coast and is active in his community.
Dr Roald H. Maliangkaij, based in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, also provides research leadership in this area. His research interests include the history of South Korea’s cultural policy and entertainment industries, including music, folklore, and popular entertainment.
Dr Alexander Hunter studied North Indian classical music under Prof Robert Chapell (Alla Rakha and Zakir Hussain), Pandit Panchanan Sardar and Pandit Vijay Verma, and Scottish Gaelic song with Paul McCallum and Griogair Labhruidh on the Scottish Isle of South Uist.