Musicology Seminar

We 2:00PM - 4:20PM / 302 Music Building / CRN 24841

This seminar is a course on music historiography, or how we think or write about past musics, but it takes a broader purview than the usual focus (in historical musicology) on European-derived historiographical traditions.  Rather, the seminar will introduce students to a range of historiographical traditions from around the world.  These will include ways of music history and memory that center on iconographic, material, or oral, as well as textual, documentation.  While the course’s purview is not “global” in the sense of being geographically comprehensive, it is meant to give students a multi-regional awareness of practices and problems of music history, readying them to pursue more advanced historical work in their chosen areas. 

The course includes a general introduction to several regional historiographic traditions (in East and South Asia, Europe, and Latin America) and their treatment of past musical life.  It then introduces students to currents in historical ethnomusicology, global history of music, and critical music historiographies, such as race-critical and decolonial approaches.  Several units address particular problems that arise in doing globally oriented histories of music, including periodization, scale, connectedness, and what constitutes an archive.  Throughout the course, we will focus on examples of scholars working with particular approaches or problems, as inspiration for students’ own research.  To this end, the seminar is coordinated with a research conference at Pitt scheduled for March 30-31, 2018 (“Race, Empire, and Global Music History, 1500-1800,” Humanities Center), and students will be asked to attend and report on the conference for course credit.

The seminar is open to all graduate students in Music and related disciplines, especially History, Art and Architecture, Theater, and Dance.  Although class meetings will be conducted in English, students are encouraged to work in their relevant languages throughout the term. 


Number of Credits


Olivia Bloechl

Course Term


Course Category

Category A: Text and Theory

Course Year