SOAS Musicology series – a call for proposals

Posted by Emma Gallon, Assistant Editor

Ashgate was delighted to attend the recent Society for Ethnomusicology meeting in Indianapolis (13-17 November, 2013), where there was a lot of interest in the titles from our SOAS Musicology series on display. Here’s a little bit more about the series, including information on what we need from you if you would like to submit a book proposal:


The Editorial 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)

About the series:

Music is cherished by every society in the world.  Music is, like language, 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. The SOAS Musicology Series includes studies that integrate music with dance, theatre and the visual arts, and contextualized studies of music within the Western art canon. The series reflects a broad musicology, as much as the discipline of ethnomusicology.

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.

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 two books, Zimbabwean Mbira Music on an International Stage and Music as Intangible Cultural Heritage, and written three more, Perspectives of Korean Music 1 and 2, and, with Chaesuk Lee and Nicholas Casswell, Korean Kayagum Sanjo. Now, 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.”

More about SOAS – School of Oriental and African Studies:

SOAS, University of London is the only Higher Education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East. Uniquely combining language scholarship, disciplinary expertise and regional focus, it has the largest concentration in Europe of academic staff concerned with Africa, Asia and the Middle East.


Proposals for the SOAS Musicology Series should include: a statement of aims and rationale of the book, a synopsis of the project and chapter outline, a concise CV and a sample chapter.

Please send a copy of your proposal to:

Laura Macy, Senior Commissioning Editor, Ashgate Publishing Ltd, Wey Court East, Union Road, Farnham, Surrey   GU9 7PT

Recent titles in the SOAS Musicology series include:

Dāphā: Sacred Singing in a South Asian City (Richard Widdess, SOAS)

Brass Bands of the World: Militarism, Colonial Legacies, and Local Music Making (Suzel Ana Reily, Queen’s University Belfast and Katherine Brucher, DePaul University)

Alaturka: Style in Turkish Music (1923–1938) (John Morgan O’Connell, Cardiff University)

Hwang Byungki: Traditional Music and the Contemporary Composer in the Republic of Korea (Andrew Killick, University of Sheffield)

Music, Modernity and Locality in Prewar Japan: Osaka and Beyond (Hugh de Ferranti and Alison Tokita)

And We’re All Brothers: Singing in Yiddish in Contemporary North America (Abigail Wood, SOAS, University of London)

Icelandic Men and Me (Robert Faulkner, University of Western Australia)

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