School of Music
Master of Music
master of Music in musicology
The Master's degree in Musicology (historical musicology or ethnomusicology concentration) provides the opportunity for students--whose undergraduate degrees may range from performance, to music education or theory, or to disciplines further afield--to concentrate upon the study of music and related topics in specific historical and cultural contexts, developing the ability to think, write, and speak critically about music's meaning in diverse settings. The Master's degree provides a high range of flexibility in terms of electives and complementary skill sets. It is an essential preparation for doctoral coursework, but provides excellent skills for those interested in library science, public advocacy, arts administration, music journalism, and related fields.
What Sets Us Apart
The Musicology graduate program at Texas Tech provides the unique opportunity to work with cutting-edge scholars both within and beyond the fields of the performing arts, incorporating collaboration and cross-disciplinary research, and preparing the candidate for a range of professional, scholarly, and creative endeavors. We welcome and celebrate the role of the scholar/performer, and a large percentage of Musicology division faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students participate actively in both SOM ensembles and also those ensembles (Celtic, Collegium, and Balkan) that are sponsored by the Vernacular Music Center (click here to visit the VMC's website, which provides a comprehensive picture of activities and opportunities). In addition, the Center for Latin American Music, Arts, and Cultural Studies likewise provides many resources and opportunities. As a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and the academic home of many veteran and first-generation students, Musicology and the VMC are committed in representation, shared governance, and mutual support across all modes and ranks of participants.
Our Master's degree in Musicology provides a wide range of electives, intended to provide the candidate maximum flexibility in conceiving their research and acquiring the necessary skill-set. Candidates may opt to specialize in either ethnomusicology or historical musicology concentrations, or any synthesis of the two. The MM Musicology degree is an effective foundation for PhD study, and also for a range of professional opportunities in arts administration, public scholarship, library and museum studies, and related fields.
Likewise, at Texas Tech SOM, music academics (theory, education, composition, and history) work closely and creatively with both ensembles and individual studio performance teachers. There are many opportunities for Musicology specialists to participate in these collaborations: as players, conductors, transcribers, arrangers, and authors. Conversely, ensemble and studio performance faculty freely and productively interact with Musicology staff.
At TTU SOM, we offer the resources of a top-rank conservatory within a major Carnegie Tier-1 research university, and a College of Visual and Performing Arts. As a result, there is opportunity for scholar/performers to collaborate with like-minded creators within the SOM, with the College, and across the campus: SOM/VMC/Musicology students regularly participate in Theatre, Dance, Art, History, Classics, and English offerings (among related fields), and equally frequently are invited to collaborate with productions and educational opportunities in those other disciplines.
The Musicology Master's and Fine Arts PhD degrees provide a wide range of experience, integrated research skill sets, effective and empathetic mentoring, and opportunities for imaginative and ground-breaking intellectual inquiry. Holders of these degrees graduate to top doctoral programs; to posts in a range of higher education situations from K-12 through 4-year colleges to research institutions; to work in librarianship and archival specializations; to journalism, public broadcasting, and arts administration; among many others (see Sample List of Graduates).
The Musicology division partners closely with the TTU Vernacular Music Center (founded 2000), a center for research, teaching, and advocacy in the world's vernacular musics; that is, musics that are learned, taught, and passed-on by ear and in the memory. The Musicology/VMC cohort includes experts in performance and cultural aspects in Latinx musics of Mesoamerica and the Caribbean; many North American vernaculars; Mediterranean and Balkan musics; Medieval/Renaissance/Baroque idioms; musics of North Europe; of West and North Africa; North American contemporary pop, rock, and jazz styles; and much more. In many cases, genre and period experts on the staff also lead ensembles engaged with these same repertoires, thus exemplifying our valuation of the scholar/performer. The Vernacular Music Center has its own rehearsal and study space, and a small but very carefully-curated collection of instruments from around the world, available for use by students involved in ensembles.
The VMC also partners closely with community and campus organizations, with particularly close ties to: the Humanities Center, the School of Theatre & Dance, and the Louise Hays Underwood Center for the Arts.
Facilities & Technology
The Vernacular Music Center has its own rehearsal and study space, and a small but very carefully-curated collection of instruments from around the world, available for use by students involved in ensembles.
The VMC makes extensive use of contemporary social media for outreach, engagement, education, and recruitment, including:
The VMC is also the originating partner of two successful podcasts:
- VOICES FROM THE VERNACULAR MUSIC CENTER, hosted by Roger Landes and Chris Smith, which places the directors of the VMC in conversation with players, singers, dancers, builders, historians, and global partners from around the world.
- SOUNDING HISTORY, hosted by Chris Smith and Tom Irvine (University of Southampton UK), which provides a "global sonic history of the Anthropocene" (e.g., the era of human impact upon the globe, c1500 to the present), and supports a major co-authored monograph. In Series II, SOUNDING HISTORY partners the University of Southampton UK with the TTU Honors College, Sowell Collection, OIA's Global Partnerships program, and the College of Visual and Performance Arts.
The Musicology program and the Vernacular Music Center partner closely with the PeARL, the School of Theatre & Dance, and with a diversity of regional and community organizations.
Master's and PhD applicants complete an online dossier including transcripts, a writing sample, and a cover letter. Upon review of the dossier, successful candidates will be invited for an interview with the full Musicology faculty (in person or virtually), for conversation about the candidate's research interests and career goals, and ways in which TTU Musicology can most successfully assist in those goals.
Candidates with additional questions should feel free to e-mail Division Chair Christopher J. Smith; technical questions about the application process can also be directed to Senior Advisor Kimberly Calvert-Gibson.
We provide expert instruction and mentorship in all eras of Western Art Music, Public Musicology, a range of global vernacular music topics, performance practice, ethnographic method and fieldwork, archival studies, popular musics, music history pedagogy, and a wide ranges of rotating special topics course, including:
- Field Methods in Ethnomusicology: practical instruction in ethnographic fieldwork
- Transcription, Theories, and Analysis of Non-Western Musics:
- Public Musicology: projects that engage diverse publics in music academics and research
- Musics of the African Diaspora: Musics and cultural influence of the Black Atlantic
- Early Music Performance Practice: study and performance of repertoires and cultural contexts in European Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque musics, and related repertoires
- Music and Magic: special-topics seminar investigating music's capacity for supernatural and transcendent experience
Composer-centered courses (examples): Monteverdi, Mozart, Ellington, Ives, Zappa
Musics of the African Diaspora: musics of the Black Atlantic from the 15th to the 21st Century
Music, Folklore, and Tradition in Irish Cultural History (includes a Study Abroad component)
Introduction to Community Arts: theory, practice, case studies, service learning in community arts-making and -entrepreneurship
Dance Practices for Musicians: health, wellness, and embodied musicianship
Arts Practice Research: making, analyzing, and reporting critically on the creative process (crosslisted MUHL/VPA)
We offer a wide variety of special topics courses which range from seminars on Frank Zappa to courses on the History of Mariachi and Women and Music. Special topics rotate every semester and students may repeat upper level special topics courses for credit.
In addition, Musicology faculty members lead study abroad opportunities to Ireland, Spain, and a range of international locations.
We recognize that it can be difficult to fit courses into students' already busy schedules. We offer a number of flexible choices for many of our required courses, and include online, hybrid, and in-person options. Availability and modalities change each semester.
Higher Program Offering
Students pursuing the Master of Music in Musicology degree could apply for the PhD in Fine Arts (Music/Musicology concentration) here at Texas Tech University.
Online Catalog Information
Alumni Success & Careers
Recipients of the TTU Musicology program's graduate degrees work in a range of settings within and beyond higher education, including K-12, 4-year, and research institution programs. The Master's degree is an essential preparation for doctoral coursework, but provides skills for those interested in library science, public advocacy, arts administration, music journalism, and related fields. PhD in Fine Arts recipients work in the fields of music scholarship, pedagogy, and arts administration, among other concentrations.
Past Graduate Accomplishments
- Dr Yingze Huo, FADP (Music/Musicology): post-Doc in Asian Studies, Dartmouth College
- Dr Roger Landes, FADP (Music/Musicology): Senior Lecturer, Texas Tech SOM
- Dr Rebecca Ballinger (PhD Arts Admin): Manager of Development, Harriman-Jewell Series Kansas City
- Dr Jonathan Verbeten, FADP (Music/Musicology): TTU Southwest Collection and Archive; winner, TTU Outstanding Dissertation Award (Humanities and Fine Arts), 2019
- Dr Kathryn Mann, FADP (Music/Musicology): Music Librarian, Savannah Philharmonic
- Dr April Guo, FADP (Music/Musicology): faculty, University of Lanzhou
- Dr Candice Holly, FADP (Music/Musicology): faculty, University of New Orleans; winner, TTU Outstanding Dissertation Award (Humanities and Fine Arts), 2021
- Dr Elissa Stroman, FADP (Music/Musicology): TTU Southwest Collection
- Dr Lee Chambers, FADP (Music/Musicology): Director Student Success, Mt Vernon Nazarene U
- Dr James Berry, FADP (Music/Musicology): Miami Valley State University
- Dr Meredith Morrow, (PhD Arts Admin): Corporate Relations Manager, Meals on Wheels Central TX
- Dr Michelle Mossman Bair, (PhD Arts Admin): Houston Lyric Opera
- Dr Ian Rollins, FADP (Music/Musicology): CCC Online, Front Range Community College
- Dr Jonathan Kramer, FADP (Music/Musicology): Choral conductor
- Dr Lauren Purcell-Joiner, MM (PhD U Oregon): Associate Producer, WQXR (NYC)
- Anne Wharton, MM Musicology: Fulbright Scholar (Trinidad)
- Marusia Mayorga, MM Musicology: PhD candidate, Universidad de Puebla
- Heather Beltz, MM Musicology: PhD candidate, Texas Tech
- Jakob Reynolds, MM Musicology (LLB Texas Tech): staff attorney, El Paso District Attorney's office
- Stephanie Rizvi-Stewart, MM Musicology: PhD candidate, Texas Tech
- Kelli Rohlman, MM Musicology: Fundraiser, Memphis Zoo
- Roberto Vela, MM Musicology: Instructor of Music, Texas A&M International University Musician
- Emily Beaty, MM Musicology: ?
- Colin Brown, MM Musicology: PhD candidate, Texas Tech
- Dr Justin Glosson, FADP (Music/Musicology)
Dr Lee Chambers: "The longer I work, the more I am convinced that musicology shapes people who question and creatively respond to the ideological substrata embracing any given human event. TTU Musicology's marriage of ideas and practices, boldness in cross-pollinating traditional disciplines, and collective commitment to personalized, student-centered learning make spaces where we learn to see and create worlds that might be."
Dr Ian Rollins: "The PhD program paved the way for numerous opportunities. I perform and teach the music that piques my personal interests. Thanks to this program, my interests compliment my teaching."
Dr Lauren Purcell-Joiner: "TTU's musicology program gave me an unusually well-rounded knowledge base of the classical canon as well as world and popular musics. More importantly, TTU taught me practical, marketable skills that I've used both in academia and beyond."
Dr Yingze Huo: "I am especially appreciating for being a part of the musicology program in Texas Tech University. Throughout my study at the program, I have developed and enhanced my writing and research skills as well as my acknowledgement within cross-culture study and interdisciplinary subjects. My time with the program was one truly fulfilled with individual growth, I will always look back and cherish my experiences here."
Dr Kunyuan Guo: "As an international student, I enjoyed the friendly academic environment here, surrounded by professors who are always willing to help, and skilled musicians who I learned a lot from. I have not only learned western and world music from the classroom, but I understood the true meaning of music from performance practice. The highlight for me was participating in the Vernacular Music Center events (ESO). It was fantastic to be a part of this program, and the study here will benefit me for the rest of my life."
Roberto Vela: "TTU Musicology (and the entire faculty and staff of the School of Music) created an environment that not only enabled me to learn and grow into the musician and educator I am today, but they also provided a model for how to approach work, life, school, and adversity with grace, poise and, most importantly, empathy. I use what I learned from these amazing individuals every day, in every situation life has taken me to."
Dr Kat Kie Mann: "The TTU Musicology department is a space in which students were encouraged to play to their strengths and explore their interests, with faculty that were knowledgeable and supportive mentors. I fell in love with the gregarious and welcoming staff and faculty at TTU's School of Music."