Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology

The Ethnomusicology Program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa has a long-standing reputation for excellence in the study of world music, especially the music of Asian and Pacific cultures. The program is distinctive for a number of reasons. In contrast to other institutions, it is situated in a unique geocultural environment that affords direct contact with music as a dynamic process and defines the kinds of studies available at UHM. Honolulu is known for its multi-cultural population and large number of ethnic groups that actively participate in a wide variety of traditional and contemporary musics. Its proximity to Pacific Basin countries and its mid-Pacific location insure frequent contact with musicians, scholars, and institutions from the region. The program is committed to close mentoring of students and helping students to develop a broad network of contacts.

Participant activity, learning music in a manner approaching indigenous transmission procedures, is an integral part of the University of Hawai‘i program, as is the study of theoretical problems such as the relation of music to social change, globalization, identity, diaspora, politics, commerce, dance, and theater. The focus on socio-cultural formation and on musical practice is encouraged by the “living laboratory”. At the University of Hawai‘i, the performance of world musics is a relevant esthetic experience, rather than a museum piece or a bit of exotica.

Another distinctive feature of the University of Hawai‘i is that ethnomusicology is an integral part—both in organization, and in spirit—of the Music Department. The department has a long record of promoting musical pluralism throughout the college music experience and at all levels of music education, as a basis for music composition, and as part of choral and instrumental performance.