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The presence of the International Library of African Music (ILAM) on the Rhodes University campus affords unique opportunities for ethnomusicology students.

The Ethnomusicology Programme, offered through the International Library of African Music and the Rhodes University Department of Music and Musicology, provides undergraduate courses years 1 through 4, plus post graduate Masters (MA and MMUS) and PhD supervision.

At undergraduate level, students can complete a 3 year BA with a concentration in Ethnomusicology or a 4 year BMUS in Ethnomusicology. Students with majors in other departments (such as Anthropology, Journalism, History, etc) can enroll in the Ethnomusicology Programme. Previous training and experience with performance of music is preferred but not required.

The Bachelors degree course offerings of the Ethnomusicology Programme consist of three 45 minute academic lectures per week, one lecture weekly in the performance of African music, and another lecture weekly in transcription. The performance and transcription lectures are held at ILAM. A total of five 45 minute lectures are provided weekly for each course.

The archive, library and instrument collection at ILAM offer special possibilities for research projects, as does our location in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, noted for the many music genres and cultural heritage unique to the region.

The faculty consists of:

Prof. Diane Thram PhD in Ethnomusicology, Indiana University, USA Dr.
Dr. Lee Watkins, PhD in Ethnomusicology, University of Hong Kong
Mr. Geoffrey Tracey, BMus University of KwaZulu Natal

Ethnomusicology 1


Semester 1 - "World Music and Culture" -

This course introduces students to Ethnomusicology as an academic discipline and it surveys music cultures of the world. Emphasis is on characteristics and functions of music within each cultural context. Students are required to complete a fieldwork project.

Semester 2 - "Music of Africa" -

This course surveys the indigenous music of Africa and includes contemporary Afro-pop styles with roots in indigenous musical forms.

Ethnomusicology 2


Semester 1 - "Theory and Method in Ethnomusicology" -

This course concentrates on readings in history of thought and theory and method in Ethnomusicology, with emphasis on contemporary issues within the discipline.

Semester 2 - "Applied Ethnomusicology"

This course introduces students to Applied Ethnomusicology and issues of copyright. It includes a community outreach component.

Ethnomusicology 3 - Fieldwork


Semester 1 -

This course concentrates on readings in field research methods, writing of fieldnotes and interviewing techniques. It includes the practical use of video and audio recording equipment and preparation of a fieldwork project proposal.

Semester 2 -

This course involves execution of the fieldwork project and the writing-up of results. Special modules on areas of interest in cultural analysis may be incorporated.

Ethnomusicology 4 - Honours in Ethnomusicology


Semester 1 consists of a readings seminar with a focus on contemporary theory in Ethnomusicology and Cultural Studies. In addition, students must submit a research proposal and begin work on a chosen research project. The research project culminates with the writing of the Honours thesis in Semester 2.

Students have a weekly class on the performance of African music in preparation for their final concert/recital. They are required to perform a short (approx. 30 minute) recital that demonstrates their ability to play two African instruments. This recital is examined and marked.