Musicology and Ethnomusicology

Musicology and ethnomusicology attempt to explain the depth and breadth of the human phenomena of musical expression. Both rely upon historical and technical interpretations of music, but they differ in important ways. To find out more, read on.

Inside Musicology and Ethnomusicology

Musicologists and ethnomusicologists are scholars who study the history and practice of music. Musicology primarily refers to the study of the Western musical canon. In contrast, ethnomusicology focuses instead on interpreting the musical genres, styles and performances of non-Western peoples. Whether you're interested in learning about the great composers and contemporary genres of Western music as a musicologist or exploring the musical styles of global nations and tribes as an ethnomusicologist, you may choose from many education options and career paths.

Education Information

The American Musicological Society (AMS) reports that the Ph.D. is the most common terminal degree in musicology. However, master's degrees might be considered terminal by those wishing to also pursue another advanced degree in music performance or by those planning to pursue a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology (

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