Alan Thrasher began his study of East Asian musics during the 1970s, following earlier training in Western musicology. Dr. Thrasher's fieldwork, conducted in Taiwan, Hong Kong, mainland China, Japan and northern Thailand, has been focused primarily on Chinese instrumental music.
His publications have appeared in journals such as Asian Music, Ethnomusicology and The World of Music, with other important contributions appearing in The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (1984), Ethnomusicology: Historical and Regional Studies (1993) and The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed. (2001). He has written three books: La-li-luo Dance-songs of the Chuxing Yi, Yunnan Province, China (World Music Press, 1990), Chinese Musical Instruments (Oxford University Press, 2000) and Sizhu Instrumental Music of South China (Brill, 2008). A fourth book, Yuegi: Chinese Musical Instruments in Performance (co-authored with Gloria Wong), was published in 2011. Dr. Thrasher is presently coordinator of Chinese musical instrument entries for The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, 2nd edition (Oxford, 2013) and editing a new book entitled Qupai: the Heart of Traditional Chinese Music (in preparation for 2014 publication).