What is Ethnomusicology?

Ethnomusicology involves the study of all kinds of music from all over the world, using a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The Department of Ethnomusicology, the largest and first of its kind in a U.S. university, offers courses that cover the music of virtually every region of the world and of many ethnic groups in the U.S., as well as courses on popular music and film music. Most courses combine an interest in music as an art form with questions about how musical art and practice relate to other aspects of culture, society, politics, and economics. Courses are also given on the philosophy and aesthetics of music. In addition to lecture courses, the department offers performance ensemble courses in several world and American music traditions.

The Department of Ethnomusicology is aligned with the departments of Music and Musicology and aspires to promote productive collaboration between performance and scholarship, a cross-cultural global understanding of the art of music, and preparatory training for a broad range of careers in music after students graduate.

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“The school of music is a vibrant place filled with people from various musical backgrounds. Learning about different musical traditions changed my understanding of the role of music in different cultures.”

Ethnomusicology Faculty

Supeena Adler
Adjunct Associate Professor - Ethnomusicology, World Music Instrument Curator and Conservator, Director, Music of Thailand Ensemble;
Francis Kofi Akotuah
Lecturer - Ethnomusicology, Director of Music and Dance of Ghana Ensemble
Münir Beken
Associate Professor - Ethnomusicology (world music theory and composition), Director of Music of Turkey Ensemble
Melissa Bilal
The Promise Chair in Armenian Music, Arts, and Culture, Director of Armenian Music Program
David Bragger
Lecturer - Ethnomusicology, Director of Old-Time String Band Ensemble
Nick DePinna
Adjunct Assistant Professor - Musicianship
Gamin Kang
Lecturer - Ethnomusicology, Director of Music of Korea Ensemble
Cheryl L. Keyes
Professor - Global Jazz Studies and Ethnomusicology (Contemporary Jazz, Hip Hop)
Mark Kligman
Mickey Katz Chair of Jewish Music and Professor - Musicology, Ethnomusicology, and Humanities, Director of Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience
Chi Li
Adjunct Professor - Ethnomusicology, Director of Music of China Ensemble
Steven Loza
Professor - Global Jazz Studies, Ethnomusicology, Director of the UCLA Center for Latino Arts
Janice Mautner Markham
Lecturer - Ethnomusicology, Director of Klezmer Music Ensemble
Mohsen Mohammadi
Director of Indo-Persian Music
Anna Morcom
Mohindar Brar Sambhi Chair of Indian Music, Professor - Ethnomusicology
Rahul Neuman
Lecturer - Ethnomusicology, Co-Director of Music of India Ensemble
Helen Rees
Professor - Ethnomusicology
Roger Savage
Professor and Chair of Ethnomusicology
Miles Shrewsbery
Lecturer - Ethnomusicology, Music of India Ensemble
Joko Sutrisno
Lecturer - Ethnomusicology, Director of Music of Java Ensemble
Timothy D. Taylor
Professor - Ethnomusicology (Popular musics, world music, cultural theory)
I Nyoman Wenten
Adjunct Associate Professor - Ethnomusicology, Director of Music of Bali Ensemble
Diane White-Clayton
Lecturer - Ethnomusicology, Director of African American Music Ensemble
Guest Artists & Scholars Offer Students Unique Insights

A stream of high-profile artists and scholars from around the world have energized and inspired our students, helping to transform their educational experience. Among them are J.H. Kwabena Nketia, considered Africa’s premier musicologist/ethnomusicologist; Akin Euba, a Nigerian composer, musicologist, and pianist; MacArthur Fellow Steven Feld, an American ethnomusicologist, anthropologist, and linguist, who worked for many years with the Kaluli people of Papua New Guinea; Judith Becker, professor emerita of ethnomusicology, University of Michigan; Mark Slobin, the author or editor of books on Afghanistan and Central Asia, eastern European Jewish music, film music, and ethnomusicology theory; Chano Dominguez, award-winning Spanish-born pianist, composer, bandleader, and educator, and Hossein Omoumi, a scholar and teacher of Persian traditional music, among others.

Hossein Omoumi Hossein Omoumi Hossein Omoumi

Ethnomusicology News

More News
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What is Music's Value? A Conversation with Tim Taylor
Tim Taylor, professor of ethnomusicology and musicology at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, has always been curious about how we assess the value of music. The author of over 50 articles and a shelf of books, Taylor has explored music and capitalism, global pop, western music in the world, and more. His new
Mariachi de Uclatlán Visits Japan
On May 14, 2024, Mariachi de Uclatlán arrived at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo. Under the direction of Jesús Guzmán and in the company of the famed Mariachi Los Camperos, the group arrived for a week of performances and sightseeing.
Chi Li on CBS KCAL News
Chi Li, professor of ethnomusicology, was interviewed on KCAL news about her musical past and her mastery of the Erhu, a Chinese instrument dating back more than a thousand years.
Bridging Divides with Music
Mukesh Kulriya, a Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology under the supervision of Anna Morcom, has won a grant from the UCLA Initiative to Study Hate. His project studies the impact of a musical initiative in Rajasthan, India used to mitigate religious hate. The grant will support research, travel, and the production of a 10-episode podcast series recorded in
A Special Gift for Mother's Day
What are you getting your mother for Mother’s Day? A card, chocolates, flowers, perhaps a bottle of champagne? Well, what about endowing a scholarship in her name? This year, two alumnae of UCLA’s school of music had scholarships endowed in their names by their sons. Dana Gordon established the Diane K. Gordon Memorial Undergraduate and
Khon: Thai Masked Dance and Music
Organized by Supeena Adler, this monumental concert brought together internationally acclaimed Thai musicians and dancers with UCLA students and the greater UCLA community.

Explore Our Degrees

Conducting
Graduate study and training in choral, orchestral, or wind conducting
Ethnomusicology
The study of global musical traditions through performance training, research, and field work
Global Jazz Studies
Jazz performance and musicianship courses are paired with African American Studies
BA
Music Composition
Mentorship in the creation and realization of music for concerts, opera, and visual media
Music Education
Preparation for music educators leading to a BA and teaching credential in just four years
BA
Music Industry
A leadership-focused professional degree which prepares students to transform the creative, entrepreneurial, and executive structures of the music industry
Musicology
The scholarly study of the histories, cultures, and critical interpretations of music and music-making
Music Performance
Study and training towards professional performance careers in Western classical music