Stephen Blum joined the Graduate Center faculty in 1987, when the concentration in ethnomusicology was initiated. His coedited volume Ethnomusicology and Modern Music History (1993) explores the ways in which ethnomusicologists are contributing to the larger task of investigating music history. Music—Cultures in Contact: Convergences and Collisions (1994), which he coedited with Margaret J. Kartomi, examines how and why entire works, genres or concepts, and even musical instruments, can be rejected or suppressed when cultures or classes come in contact.
Blum has also published many articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles on general topics, such as composition, improvisation, music analysis, modern music history, and cultural exchange, as well as on the specific musical practices of Iran, Kurdistan, Central Asia, Europe, and North America. He has been active in the Society for Ethnomusicology and currently serves as consulting editor for music of the Encyclopaedia Iranica.