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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.

“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

See All Ethnomusicology Faculty
I Nyoman Wenten
Adjunct Assoc. Professor
Supeena Adler
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Mark Kligman
Chair of Ethnomusicology; Professor
Steven Loza
Chair of Global Jazz Studies; Professor
Pejman Hadadi
Visiting Assistant Professor
Daniel Szabo
Adjunct Associate Professor
Ivan Varimezov
Adjunct Assoc. Professor
A. J. Racy
Distinguished Professor
Chi Li
Adjunct 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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Carlos Santana to address School of Music graduates, June 19
Carlos Santana said he wants the graduates “to use their music as a platform to empower and unite as we seek justice and creative solutions during these challenging times.”
Kamasi Washington on Writing a Score Worthy of Michelle Obama
This year marks another didn’t-see-that-coming milestone for Kamasi Washington, former UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music student. The American jazz saxophonist wrote and, with his band, performed the score for Becoming, the Michelle Obama documentary currently airing on Netflix.
Smaller Funds Make a Big Impact for Music Performance Students
Travis Cross, Chair of the Department of Music, thanks our School of Music community for their support and highlights how smaller gifts have made a big difference in students’ academic lives by funding instrument rentals.
UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music receives $3 million to renovate theater
The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music has renovated the 133-seat theater in the Schoenberg Music Building thanks to a $3 million gift from the Herb Alpert Foundation. The theater was renamed Lani Hall, in honor of Alpert’s wife, the singer Lani Hall.
‘Juana’: The feminist, nun, scholar, thinker, poet—and now an opera | Peoples World
Peoples World reviews Opera UCLA's 'Juana', highlighting the opera's primarily female production team, the contemporary but accessible and inviting score and libretto, and the cast's enchanting performances.
Professor’s book about South Korean percussion honored by ASCAP
Katherine In-Young Lee, associate professor of ethnomusicology, has received the Béla Bartók Award for Outstanding Ethnomusicology from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for her book, “Dynamic Korea and Rhythmic Form.”

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
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 B.A. and teaching credential in just four years
Music History & Industry
Combining Musicology and the Music Industry minor for practical hands-on training with the study of music within the context of different societies, cultures, and theories
Music Industry
Industry professionals and UCLA faculty prepare students for music-related careers
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
Music Performance Jazz
A highly selective M.M. program in partnership with the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz