I have a Ph.D in Ethnomusicology from SOAS, University of London (2017), an M.A. in Ethnomusicology (UBC 2008), and a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (UBC 2006). My research focusses on the cultural study of musical instruments, multi-sited ethnography, historiography, music revival, and transnational subcultures and scenes.

My primary research project is an ethnographic study of jew’s harp revival communities based on multi-sited fieldwork in Norway, Austria, Sicily, and online. My work uses the jew’s harp to examine how musical instruments reflect changing tastes, technologies, and social identities, and how transnational music communities are changing radically in the digital age. This research was supported by a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and a Research Scholarship from SOAS, University of London.

My work engages with the musical ethnography of Europe, and aligns with the growing area of historical ethnomusicology. While the jew’s harp has been one of the most popular musical instruments in Europe since the Middle Ages, it has long been seen as an object of little value, sitting at the junctions between classical and folk, public art and private enjoyment, and urban and rural. My research demonstrates how the jew’s harp and the study of “unpopular” music can be used to critically engage with the core concepts of value, virtuosity, and productivity at the centre of European musical discourse.

My full academic profile is available on:

MA Thesis
Morgan, Deirdre. 2008. "Organs and bodies: The Jew’s harp and the anthropology of musical instruments". MA thesis, University of British Columbia.


2018. “Cracking the Code: Recordings, Transmission, Players, and Smiths in the Norwegian Munnharpe Revival.” Ethnomusicology Forum 27(2): TBA. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17411912.2018.1506942

2017. Review of The Jew’s Harp in Britain and Ireland, by Michael Wright. Ethnomusicology Forum 26(2): 271-273. https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/jSgdBqKzhniDbRkpXHHz/full

2016. “Excavating heritage: The Archaeology of Revival in the Jew’s Harp Traditions of Norway, Austria, and Sicily.” In Studien zur Musikarchäologie X, edited by Ricardo Eichmann and Lars-Christian Koch, 75-79. Rahden/Westfalen.: Verlag Marie Leidorf.


In Progress

“Unworthy Objects: The Jew’s harp and Discourses of Value in European Music.” (article)

 “Archaic Fusion: An Analysis of Norwegian Munnharpe Style and Repertoire.” (article)

Music, Identity, and Belonging in Transnational Jew’s Harp Communities (book proposal)


Conference Papers

2018               “Archaic Fusion: An Analysis of Norwegian Munnharpe Style and Repertoire.” Analytical Approaches to        World Music, Thessaloniki, June 26.

2018                “Unworthy Objects: The jew’s harp and discourses of value in European Music.” British Forum for Ethnomusicology, Newcastle, April 13. Also presented at the Northwest Chapter Conference of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Bellingham, March 3.

2017                “Rustic Chivalry: Heroes, outlaws, and the Sicilian marranzano.” International Council for Traditional Music, Limerick, July 15. Also presented at the Society for Ethnomusicology, Washington D.C., November 10, 2016.

2016                “The Anatomy of Style: Playing technique as musical artifact.” AMS Popular Music Study Group, American Musicological Society & Society for Music Theory, Vancouver, November 3.

2016                “Speaking in Tongues: A multi-sited ‘insider’ ethnography of the international jew’s harp revival.” Researching Music: Interviewing, Ethnography, and Oral History. Institute for Musical Research, London, June 6.

2015                “The Death of the Drone: The rise, fall, and rebirth of the Maultrommel in Central Europe.” Society for Ethnomusicology, Austin, Texas, December 3.

2015                “Hidden Creators: The role of blacksmiths in the international Jew’s harp revival.” International Council for Traditional Music, Kazakh National University of Arts, Astana, July 21.

2015                “Revival/Continuation: Paradigms of transmission and boundaries of knowledge in the Norwegian munnharpe smithing tradition.” British Forum for Ethnomusicology & Société Française d’Ethnomusicologie, Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, July 4.

2015                “The imagined community incarnate: Virtual connectedness and co-presence in the international jew’s harp revival.” Anthropology in London, University College London, June 15.

2015                “The Norwegian munnharpe revival: A dialogue between material and intangible culture.” Horniman Museum & Royal Anthropological Institute, London, March 26.

2014                “Cracking the Code: The role of archival recordings in the revival of the Norwegian munnharpe.” Society for Ethnomusicology, Wyndham Grand Downtown Hotel, Pittsburgh, November 13.

2014                “Excavating Heritage: The Jew’s harp revivals of Norway, Austria, and Sicily.” International Study Group on Music Archaeology 9th symposium, Ethnological Museum, Berlin, September 13.

2014                “Breathing Life to Iron: Audio recordings and the (re)making of the Jew’s harp virtuoso.” British Forum for Ethnomusicology & Analytical Approaches to World Music joint conference, SOAS, University of London, July 1.

2013                “Harnessing Participation: Social media as living cultural archive in the international Jew’s harp community.” British Forum for Ethnomusicology and ICTM-Ireland joint conference, “Ethnomusicology in the Digital Age”, Queen’s University, Belfast. April 6.

2012                “Hearing Balinese Genggong: the Jew’s harp and the anthropology of musical instruments.” British Forum for Ethnomusicology, Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford. November 24.