DR Nicholas Tochka

DR Nicholas Tochka


  • Popular music, political economy, performance, media studies (Europe / Eastern Europe, the United States, Latin America, Multicultural Australia)



  • Nicholas Tochka researches popular, traditional, and art musics in Europe and the Americas, with a particular emphasis on the politics of music-making since 1945. He has taught seminars on fieldwork, historiography, globalization, and technology, and offers area courses on Eastern Europe, Latin America, African American music, and the Cold War. He is currently Head of Ethnomusicology (MCM); in January 2019, he assumes a new leadership role as Head of Musicology & Ethnomusicology, a new combined department in the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. Dr. Tochka is currently completing a book manuscript titled _Rocking in the Free World: Popular Music and the Politics of Freedom in Postwar America_, which examines how postwar politics influenced the reception and practice of rock genres in the United States between the 1950s and 1980s. His first book, _Audible States: Socialist Politics and Popular Music in Albania_ (Oxford University Press, 2016), traced an aural history of postwar politics in Southeastern Europe by examining an annual singing contest broadcast on Radio-Television Albania since 1962. Drawing on a wide range of archival resources and over forty interviews with composers, lyricists, singers, and bureaucrats, that book describes how popular music became integral to governmental projects to improve society—and a major concern for both state-socialist and postsocialist regimes. Interweaving archival research with ethnography, Audible States demonstrates that modern political orders do not simply render social life visible, but also audible, offering a critical framework for understanding how—and why—modern state orders endeavour to control sound. His field and archival research has been funded by grants from Fulbright Program (IIE), the American Council of Learned Societies, the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Archives and Library. His publications appear in Popular Music, Ethnomusicology,    


Selected publications


Education and training

  • PhD in Music, Stony Brook University



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Dr. Tochka welcomes expressions of interest from students who want to learn more about postgraduate work in ethnomusicology. Students with backgrounds in ethnomusicology, cultural & media studies, historical musicology, and anthropology, as well as topical interests in popular music, political economy, the media, and multiculturalism are especially encouraged to get in touch.