Musicology is the study of music as a system of organised sound and as a cultural force within society.

  • Musicologists are interested in how music is made, whether composed or improvised, and in the knowledge that underlies its making.
  • They are interested in how people hear music and why they hear it in particular ways.
  • They are interested in what music has meant to people throughout history, and how musical works have been understood in various historical contexts.
  • They are interested in how music is constructed, used, and understood by people in particular places and cultures across the globe.

Musicologists may become experts on a particular musical topic over time, but live their lives in a discipline that is constantly growing in scope, as new music is created and new ways of listening to old music emerge.

Most students at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music will study under the guidance of musicology staff in subjects such as music history, music analysis, music skills and research methods, with elective units of study offered by musicology area staff in a variety of topics ranging from early music to contemporary art music and popular music. Students may also specialise in musicology at a postgraduate levels.

Our staff include researchers in a wide range of areas including historical musicology, ethnomusicology, empirical musicology, popular music studies and more. We are active in publishing research in books and journals, participating in and organising local, national and international conferences and symposia, offering musicological expertise to the broader community and more. Find out more about our staff by following the links below.


Congratulations to Dr Christopher Coady. His book John Lewis and the Challenge of “Real” Black Music will soon be published by the University of Michigan Press within their Jazz Perspectives series.

Research Activities

Study Options

Musicology Staff

Undergraduate Audition Requirements

Postgraduate Audition Requirements