The Second Wave of Applied Ethnomusicology

How to Cite

Harrison, K. (2015). The Second Wave of Applied Ethnomusicology. MUSICultures, 41(2). Retrieved from


Building on the increasing popularity of applied ethnomusicology approaches since the early 1990s, a “second wave” of developments in the field’s methodology and practice raises various questions about its topics, terms and definitions, as well as the worksites and motivating factors for such applied work. Why has applied ethnomusicology come to focus on what Timothy Rice (2013) calls “music in times of trouble”? This article argues that the term applied ethnomusicology has taken on new definitions and meanings since about 2007. Yet what are the recently popularized definitions of applied ethnomusicology, and why has the field been redefined? The worksites of applied projects have long involved institutions. In the second wave, though, the scope of involved private, public and third sector institutions is broadening. What are the diverse types of institutions in which applied ethnomusicology work occurs today? As well, what are some factors that currently motivate the development of applied work in music? I explore aspects such as concrete problems in society, the repurposing of universities and academic trends and histories. I reflect on challenges proposed by the second wave.
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