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The Ethnography of Music (MUSI30053)

Undergraduate level 3Points: 12.5On Campus (Southbank)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 3
Subject codeMUSI30053
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject teaches students to conceptualise and undertake an ethnographic research project on music-making in the contemporary world. Through in-class activities, students learn to make fieldnotes, engage in participant-observation, conduct interviews, and use performance as a research tool. Through weekly readings, students learn to assess and navigate ethical issues related to research and writing about musicians and listeners. The subject is especially designed for students considering honours or graduate research in music.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject students should be able to

  • find and assess the secondary literature in the disciplines of ethnomusicology and anthropology
  • articulate and formulate responses to the main issues involved in undertaking music ethnography
  • demonstrate understanding of the ethical problems that music scholars encounter
  • select and use specific ethnographic methods to research music-making
  • craft a viable research question and plan for undertaking research in the discipline of ethnomusicology

Generic skills

On completion of this subject students should be able to

  • negotiate and assess the print and electronic literature in the discipline with confidence
  • articulate the main issues involved in undertaking musical ethnography
  • demonstrate understanding of the ethics of scholarship in musical ethnography
  • demonstrate understanding of different cultural and musical values
  • demonstrate an understanding of scholarly writing appropriate to the discipline; and conduct a literature review

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
MUSI40079 The Ethnography of Music (Honours)
Semester 1

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • An annotated bibliography of ten sources due in Week 4 (20%)
  • A research proposal draft of 1500 words (excluding bibliographic citations and discography) due in Week 8 (20%)
  • Two short ethnographic exercises of 500 words each due in Weeks 6 and 10 (20%)
  • A revised final research proposal of 1500 words (excluding bibliography and discography) due in Week 12 (40%)

Hurdle requirement: Less than 80% attendance will result in a fail. All assessment components must be passed in order to pass the subject

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorNicholas Tochka
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Southbank
    Contact hours24 hours, comprising one 2-hour seminar per week
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

Time commitment details

170 hours

Further information

Last updated: 10 August 2019