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Research Opportunities

In keeping with Emory University’s core mission, the Department of Music places a strong emphasis on original research. We define research as the creation of new knowledge. This new knowledge comes in diverse forms, spanning various sub-disciplines within music, including history, culture, and theory, composition, and performance.

Music students perform original research in a variety of fields supported by the full complement of resources offered by our Department and by the College.

First, our curriculum provides a strong foundation in music coursework that inspires students to further explore their own areas of interest with independent research. Independent research courses and programs take many forms in our department, including: directed readings,  performance and composition recitals, summer research, senior capstone theses, and honors projects

At the heart of research lies an original argument or original interpretation.  We encourage students to seek answers to compelling questions. We help them design a method with which to perform their search for answers. We show them how to collect and evaluate evidence in support of their claims, and to situate their findings in the broader context within existing knowledge on their topic. Students also are shown how to write, compose, or perform the results of their findings. We support their work with funding and research presentation opportunities, individual mentoring, and by connecting them with professional performing artists in the City of Atlanta and beyond. 

In these ways, our students perform original research in rare book archives, on concert stages, in the field, and within the pages of their musical scores.

Some recent examples of Emory students’ research in music include:

  • Exploring the lyrical and expressive contributions of the rapper, Young Thug, to hip-hop music
  • Determining how pedagogy contributed to music’s shift away from Pythagorean principles and towards artistry and practice
  • Composing original acoustic and electroacoustic music in collaboration with choreographers, dancers, and jazz artists
  • Performing and recording music for CD projects with members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and for film scores to be released at international film festivals
  • Examining conceptions of gender in Mandarin-language popular music from China
  • Analyzing the politics of Andalusian music performance in Israel