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.
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.