Folklore and Ethnomusicology

About the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology

The Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology (FOLK) offers a major that includes the study of performance, specific cultures and regions, human diversity and worldview, and research methods. Folklore and ethnomusicology emphasize fieldwork methods to learn how societies function. Fieldwork involves documenting and learning about people's lives, expressions, and beliefs in context. Through the study of different social groups and cultures, students gain skills in observation, analysis, documentation, reporting, and multicultural understanding. The study of folklore and ethnomusicology taps capacities we possess as human beings and develops the qualities we need to be informed and responsible people.

"Folk" can refer to any group of people--from any economic, religious, generational, or ethnic background--who share a common interest. As a form of communication, folklore is created when people interact with one another. "Lore" represents the knowledge and artistry of a group in forms such as stories and jokes, art, architecture, music, dance, custom, belief, ritual, and festival. Folklore interprets, diffuses, or incites pressure points in modern society. Ethnomusicology is the study of music of all types and from all cultures. Ethnomusicologists not only listen to the sounds of music within particular cultures and events but also inquire into people's ideas and beliefs about music. Ethnomusicology explores the role of music in human life, analyzes relationships between music and culture, and studies music cross-culturally.