Skip to main content

Global perspectives on music

Global perspectives on music

We study music as a global phenomenon, using methods from ethnomusicology, historical musicology, cultural studies, creative practice, and the geo-humanities.

We show how musical practices are rooted in local environments, yet are also connected via encounters and negotiations across political, cultural and linguistic boundaries. Our work examines musics shaped by human mobility, including the Caribbean diaspora, Indian diaspora, transient workers in south east Asia, and migration to south American cities. We investigate the sonic worlds of ecosystems such as the Bolivian Andes and the Nordic Arctic, examining the relationship between musical practices, climate, and environmental change.

The interdisciplinary nature of our work is underpinned by collaborations with Royal Holloway’s Centre for Geo-Humanities and Department of Geography, including joint PhD supervision. Our staff edit the journal Ethnomusicology Forum and co-ordinate the UK’s Latin American Music Seminar.


Geoff Baker specialises in musics of Latin America, including colonial Peru, Cuban popular music, childhood musical learning in Venezuala, the El Sistema programme, and music, citizenship and urban renewal.

Tonia Ko’s compositions include explorations of the sound worlds of specific landscapes and ecosystems. 

Tina K. Ramnarine researches the arts in relation to global histories, transnationalism and diasporas from the mid-19th century to the present day, as well as contemporary global challenges such as climate change and deforestation. She reflected on the potential of a revisionist approach to comparative ethnographic theorisation in a project that developed global perspectives on orchestras.

Stephen Rose’s work on cultural exchange in the 17th century investigates the trade routes and collecting activities that carried musical artefacts and knowledge around the globe.

Henry Stobart researches rural musical practices and indigenous music video production in the Bolivian Andes, and notions of intellectual property and cultural heritage in this region.

Shzr Ee Tan is an ethnomusicologist specialising in Sinophone and Southeast Asian worlds, with particular interests in impact-based issues of music and decolonisation, aspirational cosmopolitanism, and race discourses in music scenes around the world.

Aniarana Andita researches the audiences for classical music in Indonesia

Yuiko Asaba: ‘Tango in Japan: Digesting and Disciplining a Distant Music’

Xabier Etxeberria Adrien: participatory ethnomusicology and indigenous music in Ecuador

Andrew Green: ‘Spreading The Word: Music as a Communicative Strategy in the Contemporary Zapatista Movement’

Snezhina Gulubova investigates the social and cultural geographies of Cuban music.

Sebastian Hachmeyer examines the environmental and socio-economic factors shaping indigenous flute-making in the Andes.

Hannah Marsden: ‘Western Classical Music in Mumbai: Global Music, Local Meanings’

Romy Martinez: Paraguayan popular music.

Shanika Ranasinghe: ABBA global fandom in the 21st century

Simran Singh, ‘“Disco Dreads”: Self-fashioning through Consumption in Uganda’s Hip Hop Scene. Image-making, Branding and Belonging in Fragile Sites’

Georgia Vavva: ‘”Low-budget cosmopolitanism”: live jazz in recession Athens’

Stephanie Vos: ‘South African Jazz and Exile in the 1960s: Theories, Discourses and Lived Experiences’

Esbjorn Wettermark: ‘"Như cá với nước – Like fish and water": An ethnographic study of instrumental music, timbre and sentiment in Vietnamese tuồng opera’

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today