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Frederick Moehn

Dr Frederick Moehn

Senior Lecturer in Music

Research interests

  • Music


Frederick Moehn earned his BA at Berklee College of Music, and his MA and PhD in Music at New York University. He has taught at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Stony Brook University, Columbia University, and New York University.

Research Interests and PhD Supervision

  • Music cultures of Latin America (esp. Brazil) and Lusophone Africa (esp. Angola);
  • Jazz
  • Interconnections between music, race, class, and national identity
  • Music technologies, production aesthetics and new media
  • Music, community, and civil society;
  • music and aging

Frederick's research has generally focused on how popular music making inflects settings marked by broad social changes and transitions. For example, in Contempory Carioca: Technologies of Mixing in a Brazilian Music Scene, he examined how musicians in Rio de Janeiro creatively adapted their practices during a period of transition from digital to analog recording and distribution, and from a state-directed economy to a more market-oriented one. He found that musical mixture had specific meanings for particular actors in this setting, and that those meanings changed over time.

Recently, he has been interested in popular music in Luanda, Angola, where several decades of political turbulence and war until 2002 left the country without significant infrastructure or institutions. Today Angola is burgeoning but also still adapting to its post-colonial and post-war reality. In an article published in Popular Music ("New dialogues, old routes") Frederick looked at collaborations and exchanges between Brazilian and Angolan musicians in this rapidly changing environment. Frederick's work is concerned with understanding music making as intertwined with emergent and contingent identities and social relations, rather than with seeing sound practices as reflecting or merely participating in an already give social order. He pays special attention to problems of race, class, and gender, or stated more broadly, how difference can be negotiated through musical activity. Current projects include an article about the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, an article about the Portuguese guitar, and an edited volume about bossa nova in the United States.

He is interested in supervising research into Latin American, African, Lusophone, Iberian, and also US-American music cultures, or into popular music more generally, especially with attention to race, class, gender, or music technologies and production practices. In addition, he is interested in supervising research pertaining to the topic of music and aging.

For more details, please see his full research profile.


Frederick's teaching experience includes courses on research and ethnographic field methods, music in Brazil, Latin America, and Africa, world music surveys, and topics courses such as Music and Race, Postcolonial Theory and Music, Expressive Culture in the Lusophone World, or Jazz Historiography and Discourse.

He is pleased to offer the Introduction to Ethnomusicology at King's this academic year.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Featured on Afropop Worldwide Hip Deep radio series, "Samba strikes back".

Recent professional engagement includes serving on the program committee for the Brazilian Studies Association 2012 Congress; on the Klaus P. Wachsmann Prize Committee of the Society for Ethnomusicology; on the Jaap Kunst Prize Committee for the Society for Ethnomusicology; on the Media Awards Selection Committee for the Latin American Studies Association; as a grant screener for the Social Science Research Council (USA), and as a peer reviewer of numerous articles, book proposals, and book manuscripts. Previously, Frederick served as book reviews editor for Ethnomusicology.