William Donnie Scally received a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2021. His dissertation “Sounds of the Compact City: A Musical Urban Ethnography of Toyama City, Japan” focuses on urban musical life and its relationship to aging and shrinking populations, the environment, and infrastructure change. His research interests include urban ethnography, popular music in transnational perspective, jazz and blues historiography, and sensory ethnography. He received his M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Maryland in 2016. He received a B.M. in Jazz Bass Performance from Temple University in 2009, and has performed extensively as a jazz bassist in the U.S. and Japan.
Scally has presented his research at regional, national, and international meetings, including for the Society for Ethnomusicology and the Association for Asian Studies. His paper “’Smokin’, Drinkin’, Never Thinkin’’: Musical Choices and the Construction of Meaning in the Tokyo Jazz Scene” received the 2016 Pantaleoni Prize for best graduate student paper presented at the annual meeting for the Mid Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology. His work has been supported by research fellowships and grants from the Japan Foundation and the University of Maryland.
Scally ran a series of music and politics discussions in 2017–18 and lectured for the public “We Are Takoma” series in 2016. He has also helped organize world music outreach events for after school programs and performed in public concert series for arts nonprofits in the College Park area. A long-time competitive martial artist, he also writes about sound and embodiment in combat sports, and recently contributed work on the topic to the forthcoming collaborative video article “Six Illuminated Videos,” in volume 4.2 of the Journal of Embodied Research.