PROF Catherine Falk

PROF Catherine Falk


  • Music of the Hmong people (funeral ritual; sung poetry; free multiple reed instruments)



  • Catherine Falk studied ethnomusicology at Monash University. Her doctoral research concerned the village music of West Java (1981). She was Dean of the Faculty of Music at the University of Melbourne 2006-2009 and Head of the School of Music 2009. She introduced ethnomusicology subjects to the (former) Melbourne State College in 1976. She was Head of the Department of Music at the Melbourne College of Advanced Education and the Institute of Education 1986-93, and established performance of non-western music programs, particularly gamelan, at the Melbourne campus (1979). Professor Falk is the Chair of the Academic Programs Committee.

    Her recent research concerns the music of migrants and migration, especially the music of the Hmong people. Current research focuses on musical ethnography in cyberspace and the history of Asian music in Australia.


    Professor Falk teaches the following undergraduate and Honours subjects:
    •Musics of the World
    •Music in Indigenous Societies
    •In the Groove
    •The Ethnography of Music
    •Ethnomusicology Professional Project: Field and Laboratory

    Graduate Supervision

    Recently completed Doctoral research in ethnomusicology at the University of Melbourne includes:
    •“Hwun hwun jon ka (“Listen”): Kam Villagers Singing Big Song in Early Twenty-First-Century China.” (Catherine Ingram)
    •“From Alam Melayu to Melayu Baru: Understanding Dikir Barat in Singapore. “ (Cally Brennan)
    •“Subterranean sounds and reverberations of dissent. Identity and expression in Tehran’s unofficial rock music scene.”(Bronwen Robertson)

    Current supervision includes:
    Ian Forward (PhD) "A northern sensibility in a southern Land. Musical activity and identity of Finns in Australia."


Selected publications


Additional Grant Information

  • Professor Falk has been involved in a number of ARC-funded projects:
    •2006 - 2010 ARC Discovery Project “A study of acoustical, psycho-acoustical and musicological factors in tuned percussion ensemble design.” $548,000
    •2005 ARC LIEF “PARADISEC, the Pacific and regional archive for digital sources for endangered cultures: accessibility and decentralization.” $344,000
    •2004 ARC LIEF “Digital archiving equipment for PARADISEC research archive of Asia-Pacific region audio recordings.” $206,000
    •2003 ARC LIEF LEO “Quadriga system for research archive of Asia-Pacific region audio recordings.” $268,000.
    •2003 ARC Research Network Seed Funding Grant SR0354824 “Digital endangered cultural materials network: working group on digital research methodologies for endangered ethnographic material of the Asia-Pacific region.” $10,000   


Education and training

  • PhD, Monash University
  • BA(Hons), Monash University 1972



Available for supervision

  • Y