Ethnomusicology

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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.

Ethnomusicology Faculty

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Kenny Burrell
Distinguished Professor
Daniel Szabo
Adjunct Associate Professor
Supeena Adler
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Steven Loza
Chair of Global Jazz Studies; Professor
Chi Li
Adjunct Professor
Aaron Bittel
Adjunct Associate Professor
Ivan Varimezov
Adjunct Assoc. Professor
A. J. Racy
Distinguished Professor
I Nyoman Wenten
Adjunct Assoc. Professor
Mark Kligman
Chair of Ethnomusicology; Professor
James Roberson
Adjunct Asst. 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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Milken Fund for American Jewish Music Launches Program Year
The Lowell Milken Fund for American Jewish Music presents more than a dozen performances this academic year. Featuring special guest artists, world-class student performers and leading scholars in the field,
Mariachi de Uclatán performance to celebrate life and honor dead
The majority of UCLA is gearing up for the night of Oct. 31 with jack-o’-lanterns and cobwebs, but members of Mariachi de Uclatán will spend the evening making music and decorating altars with flowers and photographs.
Professor I Nyoman Wenten Featured in New Gamelan Documentary
A new documentary features Ethnomusicology Professor I Nyoman Wenten and the music of Balinese Gamelan. After 40 years of teaching and performing Gamelan music, Wenten travels to Bali to pay homage to the tradition, and when he returns, he teams up with GRAMMY-award winning vocalist Judith Hill to reintroduce Gamelan to pop music audiences.
Research and Scholarly Events Advance Knowledge of Field of American Jewish Music
During the summer of 2018, two graduate student researchers were kept busy by the Lowell Milken Fund for American Jewish Music. One researched composers and their interrelationships across generations. The other focused exclusively on one composer, Max Helfman. 
Daniel Szabo wins the 4th Annual ASCAP Foundation Symphonic Jazz Orchestra Commissioning Prize
UCLA professor Daniel Szabo was selected from a pool of submissions from across the country, ranging from leading jazz veterans to promising young composers, as the recent winner of the ASCAP Foundation/Symphonic Jazz Orchestra Commissioning Prize.
Content for Humans About the Content of Humans
IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: "What is the sound of your DNA?” Spotify and Ancestry.com teamed up to create a tool to convert DNA sequences into Spotify playlists. Professors Tim Taylor and Gigi Johnson weighed in at the New York Times.

Explore Our Degrees

Composition
Mentorship in the creation and realization of music for concerts, opera, and visual media
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 Education
Preparation for music educators leading to a B.A. and teaching credential in just four years
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 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz