SOAS Musicology Series

Series editor: Keith Howard, SOAS, University of London, UK

SOAS Musicology Series

Cover images from selected titles in this series

Books in SOAS Musicology Series
  • The study of the world’s many and diverse music cultures has become an important part of the discipline of musicology. Often termed ‘ethnomusicology’, the resulting studies share the fundamental recognition that music is cherished by every society in the world. Like language, music is a universal means of individual and cultural expression. It is also infinitely varied. Music in any society has intrinsic value in its own right, and can tell us much about the culture in which it developed. The core of the SOAS Musicology Series comprises studies of different musics, analysed in the contexts of the societies of which they are part, and exploring repertories, performance practice, musical instruments, and the roles and impacts of individual composers and performers. Studies which integrate music with dance, theatre or the visual arts are encouraged, and contextualised studies of music within the Western art canon are not excluded.

    Reflecting current ethnomusicological theory and practice, the editors recognize the value of interdisciplinary and collaborative research. Volumes may utilize methodologies developed in anthropology, sociology, linguistics and psychology to explore music; they may seek to create a dialogue between scholars and musicians; or they may primarily be concerned with the evaluation of historical documentation. Monographs that explore contemporary and popular musics, the effect of globalization on musical production, or the comparison of different music cultures are also welcomed.
  • For more information on how to submit a book proposal to the series, please contact Laura Macy, at
  • About the series editor: Keith Howard is Professor of Music at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
  • Series Advisory Board:
    Professor Keith Howard (SOAS, University of London) (Chair)
    Dr Peter Cooke (Research Fellow, SOAS, University of London)
    Professor Giovanni Giuriati (La Sapienza, Roma)
    Dr John Morgan O’Connell (University of Cardiff)
    Professor Helen Rees (UCLA)
    Professor Richard Widdess (SOAS, University of London)
  • Series Chairman Keith Howard explains the background to the series:
    ‘It’s a big world out there. The SOAS Musicology Series opens the curtain, just a little, on some of the many fascinating and diverse, beautiful and ethereal musical traditions of the world, and on the brilliant musicians, past and present, who champion those traditions.

    I personally began my career as a musician, music teacher and composer in Britain, but began to explore what we now term “ethnomusicology” - the study of the world’s music cultures - to discover more about why we human beings want music. Having discovered that music is cherished by every society in the world, I wondered why the dominant understandings of music (in teaching, composition, performance theory, music therapy, and so on) tended to focus on Western classical and pop musics… I have since researched (and sometimes performed) great music in Korea, Thailand, Nepal, Zimbabwe, and Siberia.

    Recognising the need to make research on world music more available, I approached Ashgate in 1999 to see if they would publish a major series. I wrote a chapter in the very first book in the series, Indigenous Religious Musics, and have since contributed a chapter to the important book on the ethnomusicologist and anthropologist John Blacking, The Musical Human (Blacking was the supervisor of my PhD), edited one book, Zimbabwean Mbira Music on an International Stage, and written three more, Perspectives of Korean Music 1 and 2, and, with Chaesuk Lee and Nicholas Casswell, Korean Kayagum Sanjo. Now, ten years since that first approach (but not because of my own contributions!), I can confidently say that Ashgate’s SOAS Musicology Series is the leading world music/ethnomusicology series in the world.’