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David Novak Publishes "Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation"

The Center congratulates Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD program alumnus David Novak.  Prof. Novak (UCSB) has just published Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation (Duke University Press, 2013).

Visit the Japanoise website

Noise, an underground music made through an amalgam of feedback, distortion, and electronic effects, first emerged as a genre in the 1980s, circulating on cassette tapes traded between fans in Japan, Europe, and North America. With its cultivated obscurity, ear-shattering sound, and over-the-top performances, Noise has captured the imagination of a small but passionate transnational audience.

For its scattered listeners, Noise always seems to be new and to come from somewhere else: in North America, it was called "Japanoise." But does Noise really belong to Japan? Is it even music at all? And why has Noise become such a compelling metaphor for the complexities of globalization and participatory media at the turn of the millennium?

In Japanoise, David Novak draws on more than a decade of research in Japan and the United States to trace the "cultural feedback" that generates and sustains Noise. He provides a rich ethnographic account of live performances, the circulation of recordings, and the lives and creative practices of musicians and listeners. He explores the technologies of Noise and the productive distortions of its networks. Capturing the textures of feedback—its sonic and cultural layers and vibrations—Novak describes musical circulation through sound and listening, recording and performance, international exchange, and the social interpretations of media. read more »

David Novak is Associate Professor of Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and earned the PhD in Ethnomusicology in 2006, after which he served as a postdoctoral fellow in Columbia's Society of Fellows.

Accepting Applications for 2014 PhD Program Admission

Important Announcement to Prospective PhD Program Applicants (August, 2013):

We are pleased to announce that we will be accepting applications to the PhD program in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University this fall (2013, usually with a Dec. 15 deadline) for admission in the 2014-15 academic year.

We are unlikely to be accepting applications in 2014 for admission in 2015-16. Please factor that into your personal planning.

Please review these links before you contact us!

About the Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD Program

PhD Program Frequently Asked Questions

Music Department General Guidance for PhD/DMA Applicants

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Kevin Holt Wins Ford Predoctoral Fellowship!

Congratulations to Columbia ethnomusicology PhD student Kevin Holt, who has been awarded a 2013 Predoctoral Fellowship from the  Ford Foundation.

This fellowship, which provides three years of full support for doctoral research, is sponsored by the Ford Foundation and administered by the National Research Council of the National Academies.  Mr. Holt's selection for this prestigious award reflects Ford Foundation's panelists’ "judgment of scholarly competence as well as the promise of future achievement as a scholar, researcher, and teacher."  read more »

Tyler Bickford Appointed Assistant Professor of English at The University of Pittsburgh

The Center for Ethnomusicology congratulates ethnomusicology graduate program alumnus Tyler Bickford (PhD, 2011, With Distinction), who has been appointed as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of English (in Children's Literature and Childhood Studies) at the University of Pittsburgh. 
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Advice to Prospective PhD Program Applicants for 2012

The Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD program will be accepting applications for 2013 admission this fall. If you are considering applying to our PhD program in Ethnomusicology this fall, here are some important links and points of advice.  read more »

Ethnomusicology PhD Candidate Nili Belkind Wins Whiting Fellowship!

The Department of Music congratulates Ethnomusicology PhD candidate Nili Belkind, who has been awarded a prestigious Whiting Fellowship by Columbia's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  The fello read more »

Important Announcement for Prospective Graduate Applicants in Ethnomusicology

Dodge Hall
The graduate program in Ethnomusicology in the Department of Music at Columbia University will admit its next incoming cohort for the 2013-2014 academic year, with applications reviewed beginning in December 2012. The program in Ethnomusicology is not admitting a cohort for  2012-2013 and is therefore not accepting applications in the current (2011) cycle.

For questions regarding the 2012 admissions cycle, contact Professor Lila Ellen Gray (

The Graduate Program in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University

About the PhD Program in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University

Attention Prospective Graduate Program Applicants: -- Please read our "Frequently Asked Questions" page for a detailed description of the structure and mission of our graduate program, including our application process and our fellowship offers. Please do not call or email before reading the FAQs.

 read more »
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