Steven Friedson

University Distinguished Research Professor of Music and Anthropology


Ethnomusicology, Music History, Theory and Ethnomusicology

Contact Information

Office Location: 
Music Building
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Steven Friedson is University Distinguished Research Professor of Music and Anthropology at the University of North Texas. For the past thirty-five years he has been conducting comparative research on music and ritual in Africa. His initial work in northern Malawi, under the auspices of a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, takes a phenomenological approach to musical experience in traditional diagnostics and therapeutics. This was followed by a long-term research project in the Volta Region of Ghana, studying one of the dominant ritual sites on the southern coast, a medicine shrine whose origins lie in the Northern Region of the country. He is author of Dancing Prophets: Musical Experience in Tumbuka Healing (University of Chicago Press 1996), and Remains of RitualNorthern Gods in a Southern Land (University of Chicago Press 2009), winner of the Alan P. Merriam Prize for Outstanding Book in Ethnomusicology. He was the first ethnomusicologist to be named a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society and received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to finish the final book of a planned trilogy on African music and ritual. In addition to his work in Africa, he has several publications on the weaponization of music in the “Global War on Terror.” In a previous life, he played keyboards in the 1960s rock band The Kingsmen (gold record “Louie Louie”).