students playing instruments
Oberlin’s gong music ensemble demonstrate how to play tuned percussion instruments from the Sumatran Talempong and Javanese Gamelan tradition. Photo credit: Yingran Zhang ’16
Program Overview

Ethnomusicology

Program Type: Minor
Division: Musicology

Ethnomusicology exposes students with a background in music to diverse musical traditions from a non-Western perspective. Coursework, on-site research, and exposure to different instruments and musical genres will help students think critically about why music matters to individuals and communities around the world, thereby encouraging them to engage with music in their own world in new ways.

the Indonesian Gong Ensemble perform outside of the Asia House complex
Students in the Indonesian Gong Ensemble perform outside of the Asia House complex. Photo credit: Yingran Zhang '16

Performance Groups

Oberlin has more than 25 student performance groups that contribute to the roughly 500 concerts a year. In addition, ethnomusicology students can perform with the Indonesian Gong Ensemble through a course taught by ethnomusicology professor Jennifer Fraser. The ensemble typically uses tuned percussion instruments from the Sumatran Talempong and Javanese Gamelan traditions, and sometimes includes flutes, bowed and plucked strings, or vocalists. Oberlin students have been learning how to play these instruments since 1971.

Ethnomusicology News