Music Across Cultures

Members of the University of Melbourne community come from all over the world and music at the university also reflects this international outlook. The Conservatorium’s World Music ensemble programme offers all students the opportunity to experience making different kinds of music, and opens up subjects to both highly trained musicians and people with little musical background.

Ensembles include Chinese instrumental music, West African drum and dance, the Indonesian Gamelan, Japanese Shakuhachi (bamboo flute), and Afro-Brazilian Samba music, while the World Music Choir teaches students to sing in a range of vocal styles and traditions from Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Non-western musics are also studied by research students and staff in the ethnomusicology department, exploring aspects of diverse (and sometimes their own) musical cultural heritage and practice. Current students and recent graduates’ research has focused on music from Samoa and the Pacific Islands, China, Japan, and other parts of Asia, Uganda, Iran and the Middle East, and parts of Eastern and Northern Europe. The cultural collections of the University also hold a number of historic non-Western musical objects, particularly in the Grainger Museum, many of which were collected in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

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