Stefan Fiol

Stefan P. Fiol


Professor of Ethnomusicology

Emery Hall


CCM Musicology - 0003

Professional Summary

Stefan Fiol joined the CCM faculty in 2010 and is Professor of Ethnomusicology and Affiliated Faculty in Asian Studies. He researches music, dance, ritual practice, media and the histories of commercial and folkloric cultural representation the Uttarakhand Himalayas and North India. Professor Fiol’s monograph, Recasting Folk in the Himalayas: Indian Music, Media and Social Mobility, was published by University of Illinois Press in 2017 and received the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies Jim Fisher Book Award (Honorable Mention). His current research explores drumming as a historiographic tool in the central Himalayas, specifically through mapping drumming practice and reading shifts and continuities against insights from oral history, archaeology and sociolinguistics.

An emergent area of Fiol's research examines the role of music and mindfulness in stimulating memory, cognitive function, and experiences of awe and flow. Working with a team of music therapists and neurologists, Fiol has developed a service learning course that pairs music and medical students with individuals experiencing neurodegeneration, and their caregivers. Longitudinal analyses of data from this course will inform the optimal design of music and mindfulness interventions and will assess the relationship between artistic engagement with others and cognitive function. 
Fiol's research has been published in Ethnomusicology, Journal of Asian Studies, Ethnomusicology Forum, Asian Music, Journal of South Asian Popular Culture and Yearbook for Traditional Music, as well as edited volumes including More than Bollywood (Oxford, 2014), This Thing Called Music (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015) and Music in Contemporary Indian Film (Routledge, 2017). His research has been funded by fellowships from Fulbright-Nehru, Wenner-Gren Foundation, American Institute of Indian Studies, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Arts Social Science and Humanities Faculty Research Program at the University of Cincinnati.

Fiol received his Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008 after conducting two years of ethnomusicological research in India, and shorter fieldwork projects in Chile, Paraguay and Zimbabwe. Fiol has been a visiting scholar in the South Asia Program at Cornell University, and has previously taught at the University of Illinois (2002-04), the University of Notre Dame (2005-06) and the Eastman School of Music (2008-10). Trained in classical piano, Fiol currently studies and performs on the Indian sitar, the Zimbabwean mbira dzavadzimu and a range of central Himalayan percussion and melody instruments.


PhD: University of Illinois Urbana, IL,

Research Support

2016 -2017 University Research Council, University of Cincinnati

2016 -2017 Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellowship

07-2016 -09-2016 National Endowment for the Humanities (Summer Stipend)

AMS 75 PAYS (Book subvention from the American Musicological Society)

2011 University Research Council Fellowship, University of Cincinnati

2006 -2007 American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) Junior Fellowship

2004 -2005 Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Development Research Award

2004 -2005 Wenner-Gren Individual Research Grant

2021 -2022 UC Office of Research Major Proposal Support

2020 -2021 UC Forward Mini-Grant for Service Learning Course

2021 -2022 UC Urban Health Pathways Seed Grant


Peer Reviewed Publications

(2010. ) Dual Framing: Locating Authenticities in the Music Videos of Himalayan Possession Rituals .Ethnomusicology, , 54 (1 ) ,28-53

(2011. ) Sacred, Inferior, and Anachronous: Deconstructing Liminality among the Baddi of the Central Himalayas .Ethnomusicology Forum, , 19 ,191-217

(2011. ) From Folk to Popular and Back: Assessing Feedback between Studio Recordings and Festival Dance-Songs in Uttarakhand, North India .Asian Music, , 42 (1 ) ,24-53

(2012. ) Articulating Regionalism through Popular Music: The Case of Nauchami Narayana in the Uttarakhand Himalayas .Journal of Asian Studies, , 71 (2 ) ,447-474

(2018. ) “Listening to Garhwal Popular Music in (and out of) Place.” .Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies, , 38 (1 ) ,113-126

(2013. ) Of Lack and Loss: Assessing Cultural and Musical Poverty in Uttarakhand .Yearbook for Traditional Music, , 45 ,10-24

(2012. ) All India Radio and the Genealogies of Folk Music in Uttarakhand .Journal of South Asian Popular Culture, , 10 (3 ) ,1-12

Published Books

(2017. ) Recasting Folk in the Himalayas: Indian Music, Media and Social Mobility .Urbana, IL , University of Illinois Press

Dialects of Dhol: Mapping Rhythm, Memory and History in the Central Himalayas .

Book Chapter

(2017 ) Folk Drums and Tribal Girls: Sounding the Himalayas in Indian Film Music of Contemporary Indian Film: Memory, Voice and Identity .(pp. 133-146).New York, Routledge

(2015 ) One Hundred Years of Indian Folk Music: The Evolution of a Concept This Thing Called Music: Essays in Honor of Bruno Nettl .Rowman and Littlefield Press

(2013 ) Making Music Regional in a Delhi Studio More than Bollywood: Studies in Indian Popular Music .(pp. 179).Oxford, Oxford University Press

(2022 ) Drumming, Value, and Patronage in a Himalayan Village Economy Labor, Livelihood and Creative Economies: South Asian Performers and Craftspeople .New York, Routledge

(2022 ) White Caste Supremacy and Dis/Connection in Fieldwork Encounters The Routledge Companion to Ethics in Ethnomusicology .New York, Routledge

Additional Publications

Honors and Awards

2008 Nicholas Temperley Award for Excellence in a Dissertation in Musicology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Courses Taught

Music and Brain Health

Dementia and the Arts (Service Learning Course)

Music of the World’s Peoples (undergraduate survey course)

The Social Life of Music (undergraduate Honors seminar)

Music of the Himalayas (undergraduate Honors seminar, graduate seminar)

Introduction to Music Studies (undergraduate BA-Music gateway course)

Music and Memory (graduate seminar)

Music and Social Justice in South Asia (graduate seminar)

Music, Media, and Religion in South Asia (graduate seminar)

Raga in Theory and Practice (graduate seminar)

Theory and Historiography in Ethnomusicology (graduate seminar)

Approaches to Fieldwork and Musical Ethnography (graduate seminar)

Music of Zimbabwe (graduate seminar)

Ethnography of Over-the-Rhine (graduate seminar)

Folk, Inc. (graduate seminar)

Zimbabwean Mbira (world music ensemble)

Himalayan Drumming (world music ensemble)

Musical Excursions Abroad: Guatemala (study abroad course)

Contact Information

Phone: 5135569529