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John Murphy

Professor & Division Chair
Jazz History, Analysis, Research Methods

Office: Music Building, room 266 | john.murphy@unt.edu | Phone: (940) 565-4344

Some things to know before you send me an email:
1. If you are a prospective student who plans to visit UNT and would like to schedule a meeting with me, the answer is yes. Let me know when your open times will be during your visit and I'll reply to suggest a time. If you want to know whether you can observe classes and rehearsals on the day you visit, the answer is also yes. If you'd like to know whether you can have a meeting and a brief lesson with the faculty member in your area of interest, contact the faculty member using the information here.
2. If you or your client want to be invited to the Division of Jazz Studies as a guest artist, please contact the faculty member in the area that corresponds to what you are proposing. Guest artist invitations only happen if the faculty member in the relevant area makes it happen by working on the budget and scheduling. I collaborate with the faculty member. Please contact the faculty member first using the contact information here. If you contact me first, you may not receive a reply because the number of these requests is too large to allow an individualized response to each one.
3. I prefer email, but a phone call is OK, too. If you don't reach me on the first try, please send an email instead of leaving a voicemail because sometimes when people are calling from mobile phones, the voicemail has a dropout right when they are stating crucial information.
4. There are blocks of time during each work day when I'm in classes and meetings, or when my email is turned off, and I try not to do work email in the evenings or on weekends. In other words, I am not on email constantly when I'm at work, so please allow several days for a response.
5. In a typical year I send and receive more than 30,000 emails. If my reply to your email is brief, that's why: to save your time and mine.
6. As an employee of a public institution, I think it's important to be reachable. These suggestions are intended to make the use of your time and mine more efficient.


John Murphy, an ethnomusicologist and saxophonist, joined the UNT Jazz Studies faculty in 2001. He has served as chair of the Division of Jazz Studies since Fall 2008. He is the author of Music in Brazil (Oxford University Press, 2006) and Cavalo-marinho pernambucano (Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil University Press, 2008) and has published articles on jazz improvisation, Brazilian traditional and popular music, Cuban music in New York, and college teaching. He published the article "Beyond the Improvisation Class: Learning to Improvise in a University Jazz Studies Program," in Musical Improvisation: Art, Education, and Society (2009), edited by Bruno Nettl and Gabriel Solis. He has held Fulbright (1990-91) and National Endowment for the Humanities (2000-2001) fellowships for research in Brazil.

While a student at the University of North Texas, Murphy earned two degrees (B.M., jazz studies performance, 1984; M.M., music theory, 1986), played in the One O'Clock Lab Band (1984-85), and free-lanced in Dallas-Ft. Worth. He then earned two degrees at Columbia University (M.A. & Ph.D., ethnomusicology) and played Latin music in the New York area. He plays frequently in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area: jazz on tenor saxophone and Irish traditional music on button accordion.

Murphy teaches jazz history (undergraduate and graduate), jazz styles & analysis (graduate), and jazz research methods (graduate); and collaborates with the ethnomusicology area by serving on thesis committees. During the 2012-2013 academic year he served as Interim Director of Graduate Studies. He teaches a listening class at the UNT Small Group Jazz summer workshop. He served as chair of the Division of Music History, Theory, and Ethnomusicology from 2006 to 2008; served as Interim Director of Graduate Studies, College of Music, June 2012-May 2013 (while continuing chair service and full-time teaching); served the Society for Ethnomusicology as web editor from 1997 to 2002; and taught previously at Western Illinois University (1992-2001).

Profile in UNT Faculty Information System.

Spring 2019 classes:
As instructor of record: MUJS 5440 Introduction to Research in Jazz Studies
As mentor teacher: MUJS 1470 Introduction to Jazz Recordings; MUJS 3400 Understanding & Appreciating Jazz

My paper on ethnomusicologists and noise-induced hearing loss in UNT's Digital Library.