Ethnomusicology has been defined as the cultural study of music. It is an inherently interdisciplinary field, which is evident in the range of research methods employed in ethnomusicological research since its inception in the late 19th century. This entry looks at how research methods have developed in ethnomusicology from the 19th century onward. It begins by looking at how an interest in music and musical activities has mobilized thinkers across the centuries in many parts of the world, before turning to the foundations of the contemporary discipline. Trends addressed include the scientific methods of comparative musicology and its developments, the shift to a fieldwork-based discipline, the developments in orientations to the field, and fieldwork over the course of the 20th century. The final section looks at research methods used by ethnomusicologists in the collection of data in the field and in the preparation of the data for analysis.

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