Music History and Ethnomusicology

Stanford’s courses in music history and ethnomusicology help students appreciate, critique, and write about many musics, craft ethnographies of musicians and music-making, and understand the roles of music in culture. A three-quarter historical survey forms part of the Music Major’s core. Other courses for a mix of majors and non-majors delve into Women Making Music, opera, the symphony, composers like Josquin, Handel, Haydn, and Mahler, musics of Black Americans, the sounds of Islam, musical theater, and Western art music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Our multidisciplinary courses put music into relation with anime, critical race theory, film, healing practices, literature, late-medieval feasting, philosophy, and the influence of Southeast Asian cultures on the modern West.


Leland and Edith Smith Professor of Composition, Professor
Assistant Professor
Associate Professor of Music
Associate Professor
Associate Professor
Avalon Foundation Professor of Humanities, Department Chair, Professor
Associate Professor
Gretchen B. Kimball Director of Orchestral Studies, Associate Professor
Associate Professor


Music History & Ethnomusicology Courses

Music 1: Musical Genius: Exemplars in the History of Organized Sound
Music 2A: The Symphony
Music 2C: An Introduction to Opera
Music 7B: Musical Cultures of the World
Music 4SI: Interactive Introduction to North American Taiko
Music 8A: Rock, Sex, and Rebellion
Music 11N: Harmonic Convergence: Music's Intersections with Science, Mathematics, History, and Literature
Music 13: Music and Politics
Music 13N: Music and Politics: From Mozart to Miranda
Music 14N: Women Making Music
Music 16Q: Listening to Climate Change
Music 18A: Jazz History: Ragtime to Bebop, 1900-1940
Music 18B: Jazz History: Bebop to Present, 1940-Present
Music 25: Decoding Anime
Music 27N: The British Invasion
Music 31N: Behind the Big Drums: Exploring Taiko
Music 33N: Beethoven
Music 34N: Performing America: The Broadway Musical
Music 36H: Dangerous Ideas
Music 37N: Ki ho'alu: The New Renaissance of a Hawaiian Musical Tradition
Music 39B: Music and Healing
Music 40: Music History to 1600
Music 41: Music History 1600-1830
Music 42: Music History Since 1830
Music 70: Stories and Music of Refugees
Music 80: Russian Modernists: Stravinsky & Shostakovich
Music 102: The Art of Music Video: Practice and Analysis
Music 118: Musics and Appropriation Throughout the World
Music 133/333: Food, Text, Music: A Multidisciplinary Lab on the Art of Feasting
Music 142/242K: Studies in Music of the Baroque: Handel the Cosmopolitan
Music 143J: Studies in Music of the Classical Period: Franz Joseph Haydn
Music 143J: Studies in Music of the Classical Period: Haydn and Mozart: Music in the Age of Enlightenment
Music 144M: Robert Schumann and the Interpretation of Musical Romanticism
Music 145K/245K: Studies in Western Art Music Since 1900: Concepts of New Music
Music 146N: Transcultural Perspectives of South-East Asian Music and Arts
Music 147J/247J: Studies in Music, Media, and Popular Culture: The Soul Tradition in African American Music
Music 147K: Studies in Music, Media, and Popular Culture: Music and Urban Film
Music 149J: Music, Interpretation, Meaning
Music 152B: Black Music Revealed: Black composers, performers, and themes from the 18th century to the present
Music 159K: Stanford Facsimile Singers
Music 159J: Performance as Analysis: Late-Medieval Music in Action
Music 186B: American Song in the 20th Century and after
Music 186E: Sounds of Islam
Music 187: Spiritual Sound of Central Asia: Introduction to the Music of Central Asia
Music 200A: Proseminar in Musicology and Music Bibliography
Music 200B: Proseminar in Ethnomusicology
Music 253: Symbolic Musical Information
Music 300A: Medieval Notation
Music 300B: Renaissance Notation
Music 300C: Medieval Methodologies
Music 302. Research in Musicology
Music 300E: Analysis and Repertoire: Medieval and Renaissance
Music 300F: Analysis and Repertoire: Baroque to Early Romantic
Music 300G: Analysis and Repertoire: Late-Romantic to Contemporary
Music 310: Research Seminar in Musicology
Music 300H: Aesthetics and Criticism of Music, Ancients and Moderns: Plato to Nietzsche
Music 300I: Aesthetics and Criticism of Music, Contemporaries: Heidegger to Today
Music 330: Musicology Dissertation Colloquium
Music 332: Philosophy, Literature, and the Arts Core Seminar

Academic Programs

Explore the Major & Concentrations

The undergraduate major in Music is based on a course of study that combines breadth of musical experiences across multiple dimensions with depth in a chosen area, allowing students to develop an array of tools as part of their aesthetic and musical formation. Theory, performance, history, cultural contextualization, technology, and science all contribute to a curricular foundation for all majors. 


Explore the 24-Unit Minor

The music minor allows students to explore music through a flexible program of study. The minor can focus on Composition, History, Performance, Conducting, Theory, or Music, Science & Technology (MST), or on areas not currently served by the major, such as Ethnomusicology, Jazz, or Musical Theater. The minor can also focus on musical aspects of a non-music major such as American Studies, Anthropology, Area Studies, Computer Science, CSRE, TAPS, etc.


Learn about the Performance Certificate

The Performance Certificate program is open by audition to undergraduates who demonstrate a high degree of accomplishment in their area of music performance, study privately with one of the Department of Music's faculty, and wish to inform their performance studies with coursework from the Department of Music's other areas of academic focus: history, theory, computer music, and composition.


Explore more of What We Do