The musicology program promotes the integration of in-depth historical research with a broad range of methodologies and critical frameworks. Graduate students in musicology develop a solid foundation of music historical knowledge, technical skills, critical acuity, and humanistic literacy, while becoming experts in their specialist area(s). The path of coursework instills a firm grasp of key repertories and methods of music history; supports students to develop facility in related fields such as ethnomusicology, jazz studies, and theory and analysis; and empowers students to prepare for diverse career paths. Students gain experience with various approaches to music history and criticism, including cultural and interpretive studies; feminist, queer, and anti-racist critique; postcolonialism; and global historiographies.  On their way to earning the PhD, students are encouraged to broaden the scope of their work by consulting with faculty members from other music subdisciplines, drawing on the resources of other departments and interdisciplinary programs, and earning microcredentials.  Many students work toward graduate certificates in Asian Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Russian and East European Studies, West European Studies, Latin American Studies, Cultural Studies, Digital Studies, and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies.

Intellectual Community

Pitt's many opportunities for interdisciplinary study offer students the chance to develop fluency in topics and approaches relevant across the Humanities. But it also offers students the chance to be part of vibrant intellectual and creative communities within the Department of Music, the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, and beyond. Building and sustaining a welcoming community of learning is a big part of what we do, in conjunction with the Department's other subdisciplines (Composition, Ethnomusicology, and Jazz). This happens in Department seminars, in student-led initiatives, in interactions with renowned visiting scholars and artists, in the Professional Development Workshop Series, and in the many informal events organized in support of upcoming conference presentations or job interviews. Musicology students and faculty also actively participate in the new Music Workshop Series, which features works-in-progress presented to a lively, engaged, and supportive audience.

Performance Experience

Performance is encouraged, and ensemble experience is available in the University Orchestra, the Gamelan Ensemble, the Jazz Ensemble, and the African Drumming Ensemble, informal chamber music ensembles, and performances of works by our graduate student composers.

Musicology Faculty

Musicology faculty are at the forefront of developing critical and inclusive approaches to musical pasts near and far, with particular strengths in American, French, early modern, and global music history. Faculty expertise ranges from European opera and American musical theater…to the study of colonialism and its musical legacies…to issues of popular music, identity and difference, and ethics and politics of music.

Olivia Bloechl  is a musicologist and cultural theorist with wide-ranging research interests in early modern music (France, Indigenous North America, and the Atlantic world), opera, decolonial and feminist thought, and global music history. She is the author of Native American Song at the Frontiers of Early Modern Music (2008) and Opera and the Political Imaginary in Old Regime France (2017), and co-editor of Rethinking Difference in Music Scholarship (with M. Lowe and J. Kallberg, 2015). She also guest edited a recent special issue of Early Music, on Colonial Contrafaction (2019). Her current book project, On Being Vulnerable with Music, combines feminist ethics with a phenomenological approach to music she has come to love as a scholar and pianist. A longtime advocate of decolonial and global approaches to music history, she is a founding convener of the Global Music History Study Group of the AMS.

James P. Cassaro is a librarian–musicologist whose main area of research focuses on, but is not limited to, seventeenth-century French music, in particular Jean-Baptiste Lully’s ballet de cour. He is also head of the Theodore M. Finney Music Library at the University of Pittsburgh, and holds a secondary appointment as professor of music and graduate faculty in the Music Department at Pitt. Areas of research include music bibliography, opera of the 18th and 19th centuries, and music and narrative theory. He is editor-in-chief of Fontes Artis Musicae, the quarterly journal of the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML). He serves on the editorial Board of the A-R Online Music Anthology, and the advisory Board of Oxford Music Online.

Dan Wang is a musicologist and affiliated faculty in Film & Media Studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Pitt. He has interests in European opera, film and film music studies, gender theory, critical race theory, U.S. popular aesthetics, Asian American studies, affect theory, and political theory. His current book project is on the aesthetics of personhood in the West, with case studies in slow motion, addiction, romantic love, and genre across European opera and Hollywood cinema. He regularly teaches courses on romantic comedies, media theory, gender and sexuality, political and critical theory, and especially welcomes collaboration with students with broad interdisciplinary curiosities.