The Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology at UL is a one-year taught post-graduate degree that trains students in the field’s histories, theories, and methods in relation to a variety of world musics. Musical practice is an important part of the program and is a central modality through which to engage in research. The course caters to the international interest in Irish traditional music and contributes to the growing significance of ethnomusicology as an academic discipline in Ireland.
Ethnomusicologists seek to understand the processes by which music is imagined, made, listened to, and discussed —everywhere and anywhere. Ethnomusicology follows music makers and listeners as they move throughout today’s interconnected world. It follows their musics as these circulate from person to person and through various media. It asks how musical experience becomes meaningful for individuals who come together in social groups of all types, ranging in scale from nations to families, and no matter whether they gather together in the intimacy of their homes or communicate through the far-flung networks of the world-wide-web. Ethnomusicology relates the particular musical sounds, behaviours, and ideas shared within these groups to their social, cultural, and ecological contexts. In short, we aim to discover, document, and deepen appreciation of human musical life in all its richness and diversity.
The MA Ethnomusicology at the University of Limerick brings together Ireland’s largest team of specialist faculty, offering an inquiry-led MA culminating in an individualized thesis submission. Musical practice is an important part of the program and is a central modality through which students engage in research. Course work emphasizes fieldwork and ethnographic methodology coupled with a strong theoretical grounding. The programme engages Ireland’s rich musical traditions locally and around the world, as well as exploring the diversity of world musics and their study today.
The Irish World Academy’s commitment to ethnomusicology and ethnochoreology as core offerings is evidenced in the large number of faculty employed in these areas, a library collection that is second to none in Ireland, the recent inauguration of a World Music pathway in the BA Performing Arts and the growth of its world music instrument collection. The Academy regularly hosts major international conferences: The ICTM Study Group in Ethnochoreology; the first Joint Forum of the SEM and ICTM, the Ballad Kommission; and the World Conference of the ICTM.
Limerick City and its surrounding areas in the West of Ireland is convenient to some of the heartlands of Irish traditional music. ‘Trad sessions’ are easy to find, numerous, frequent, and varied in character. It is home to significant numbers of new immigrants whose musical traditions have become a feature of cultural life in the region. Not surprisingly intercultural exchange and interaction in music is an increasing phenomenon.
The degree course is designed to cater for the continuing education needs of graduates in music and in cognate and closely related disciplines, such as: Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Education, Ethnochoreology, Gender Studies and Irish Studies. The course appeals to a broad spectrum of students who come from a wide variety of musical and academic backgrounds and who wish to benefit from the unique configuration of theoretical and practical possibilities offered by the University of Limerick. The aim of the course is to provide a thorough grounding in theory and methods in Ethnomusicology and to consider Irish traditional music as well as other world musics within this frame.