Ethnomusicological Research in Mongolia and East Asia



Oyuna Weina Pilcher is a music researcher of contemporary Mongolian musical culture, predominantly focusing on the Oirat group. Her research explores the musical lives of Mongolians and their ethnic and national identities in Mongolia, China and Australia. In particular, she examines the ways that music is used to express both their sense of longing and nostalgia for their historical homeland and their overwhelming desire for modernity. By analysing different historical recordings, she examines why performers have emotional reactions to certain stages of their singing and how their emotions demonstrate in prominent aesthetic features of their performances. To understand the functionality of their music, she developed an interdisciplinary approach that drew on ethnomusicological theory, sociology, soundscape ecological theory and the concepts of gender and motherhood. Her work successfully demonstrated the relationship between music and human behaviour in a nomadic society from an insider’s perspective. 

Since 2006 Oyuna has spent many years conducting fieldwork in Inner Mongolia. She completed her PhD at the University of New South Wales in 2016. She is also specialised in East Asian music, particularly Chinese music and Uyghur music in Xinjiang. 

Oyuna is an accomplished classical pianist, a tovshuur (two-string plucked lute) player, and a savardan dancer.



Weina, Oyuna. 2018. Of Herding Life and Homelands: Metaphor, Gender and the Urtyn Duu of Badmaa in Inner Mongolia. Hohhot: Inner Mongolia People's Publishing.

Journal articles:

Weina, Oyuna. 2018. ‘You Can't Sing Urtyn Duu If You Don't Know How to Ride a Horse": Urtyn Duu in Alshaa, Inner Mongolia’. Asian Music. 49(2), 4-33.

Weina, Oyuna. 2017. 'Urtyn Duu Singer Badmaa and Her Musical Life'. Journal of Inner Mongolian College of the Arts. Vol. 2. pp. 46-51

Conference papers:

Weina, Oyuna. 2017. 'Urtyn Duu in Alshaa', in the 44th ICTM World Conference, Ireland, 13 July 2017. 

Weina, Oyuna. 2016. 'Motherhood and the Motherland in Urtyn Duu and Mongol Music in Alshaa, Inner Mongolia', in the 39th National Conference of the Musicological Society of Australia, Adelaide, 30 November 2016.

Weina, Oyuna, 2015. 'Concepts of the 'Maternal' in Urtyn Duu and Mongol Songs in Inner Mongolia', in Annual Student Symposium, Musicological Society of Australia, Sydney, 5 September 2015. 

Weina, Oyuna. 2014. 'Visual, Zoological Metaphors and Urtyn Duu (long song) in Inner Mongolia', in Annual Student Symposium, Musicological Society of Australia, Sydney, 27 September 2014. 

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