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

Armen Adamian
Instructor of Armenian Woodwinds; Ph.D. Student in Ethnomusicology
Supeena Adler
World Music Instrument Curator and Conservator; Director, Music of Thailand Ensemble; Adjunct Associate Professor
Münir Beken
Associate Professor
Melissa Bilal
The Promise Chair in Armenian Music, Arts, and Culture; Director of Armenian Music Program
Nick DePinna
Adjunct Assistant Professor--Musicianship
Mark Kligman
Professor of Musicology, Ethnomusicology, and Humanities; Mickey Katz Chair of Jewish Music; Director of Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience
Chi Li
Adjunct Professor
Steven Loza
Director of the UCLA Center for Latino Arts; Professor and Chair of Global Jazz Studies
Mohsen Mohammadi
Director of Indo-Persian Music
Rahul Neuman
Continuing Lecturer
Roger Savage
Professor and Chair of Ethnomusicology
I Nyoman Wenten
Adjunct Assoc. Professor
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

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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.
Music Alive in the Archive: An Exploration of Kulintang Music in the Danongan Kalanduyan
The Ethnomusicology Archive holds one of the world’s great collections of audio and video recordings documenting kulingang gong music and dance around the world. They are now freely accessible to the public on the California Revealed website. Archivist Maureen Russell documented the celebration of the collection’s launch for Ethnomusicology Review.
Freedom First to Feature Student Composition
On Friday, October 6, Schoenberg Hall will witness a special event. A concert for Keith LaMar will feature legendary jazz musicians Salim Washington and multi-Grammy Award winner Arturo O’Farrill. The concert benefits LaMar, currently on death row in Ohio, having been falsely convicted of murder in the aftermath of the 1993 Lucasville Prison uprising. *
Ethnomusicology Student Lauded by Kennedy Center
Isabel Folkers was only four when she unwittingly chanced upon her career trajectory. The occasion was a house party at the home of an Irish family. The band had finished for the night and they were breaking down their equipment. The young Isabel Folkers jumped up on the makeshift stage and took hold of the

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