In the early stages of the discipline, ethnomusicologists focused mainly on non-European and orally transmitted music cultures. However, in the 1950s, Charles Seeger and several other music scholars started to emphasize the need for ethnomusicologists to study any music culture, in any place or time. In this sense, Western classical music is as valuable as West African highlife music or as heavy metal. What distinguishes ethnomusicology from other disciplines is not an area of study, but the approach, a cultural study of music, which relies mainly on an ethnographic method of research.
This anthropological orientation of the ethnomusicological discipline is favored also at the FHS UK, including in our own publications (see for example Prague Soundscapes,writtenby Zuzana Jurková, et al., in which the authors deal with Prague’s multiple contemporary musical worlds).
At FHS UK, the students can choose from a rich variety of music courses about Western and non-Western, traditional and popular, music cultures, offered on both bachelor’s and master’s levels of study. In these courses, students do not only learn about a wide variety of music cultures, but also about particular ethnomusicological and anthropological theoretical concepts, as well as about practical aspects of music ethnography (fieldwork, data collection, analysis, writing, and interpretation). In this regard, they gain the basic insight into the theory and practice of ethnomusicology. Moreover, under the supervision of the FHS UK ethnomusicology faculty, students design and manage their own research projects, either for seminar classes, or for their bachelor’s and master’s theses.
Besides the regular selection of courses, FHS UK students can also register for extra courses (‚block‘ courses, or summer schools), taught by internationally recognized guest professors (e.g., Adelaida Reyes from Colombia University, Kay Kaufman Shelemay from Harvard University, Luis-Manuel Garcia from University of Birmingham). Furthermore, our students are often also invited to participate in the preparation of a variety of ethnomusicological projects: conferences, events, books, audiovisual publications, and exhibitions.