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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.

Join us Wednesday, 4/7 at 11 AM PT for the first concert in the brand new series, “Musics from Around the World: Southern California Composers in Concert”, launched by The World Music Center at @UCLAAlpert, spotlighting contemporary global music makers throughout the region. Kicking it off will be composer, performer and improviser Christopher Adler (@christopheradlerdotcom).⠀
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Adler will present his work with the khaen, the bamboo free-reed mouth organ of Laos and Northeast Thailand, an instrument he has championed for over 25 years. He will perform traditional and contemporary solos, as well as two duos with violinist Batya MacAdam-Somer (@lesterbangslives), including the world premiere of a new adaptation of a piece originally for Chinese instruments.⠀
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“Musics from Around the World: Southern California Composers in Concert” is part of the yearlong celebration of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive's 60th anniversary.⠀
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To register for this event, click the link in our bio ⬆️.⠀
#ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology #WorldMusic
Join us tonight, 3/19 at 7 p.m. for the “End of the Quarter Showcase” organized by the Alpert Student Advisory Board! ⠀
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Tonight’s concert features performers from all departments at the School of Music, including the UCLA Percussion Ensemble, the Music of China Ensemble, Irina Bazik, Kelsey Ma (@melseyka), Valerie Stern, Professor Inna Faliks, and original works from Kian Ravaei (@kianraveei), Robby Good (@robbygood702), Shirunyu Li among many more. ⠀
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To watch the concert, click the link in our bio ⬆️. ⠀
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#ThisisUCLAMusic #music #Ethnomusicology #GlobalJazz
In recognition of Women’s History Month, @UCLAalpert is proud to spotlight fourth year Ethnomusicology major and composer Kenedea Lee (@kenedea_music). ⠀
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Lee started classical training when she was 9 years old and only immersed herself in that style of music until her late teen years. During her senior year of high school, she realized that she wanted to learn music outside of Western classical music, which led her to pursue Ethnomusicology. Having fond memories performing at UCLA Alpert’s Schoenberg Hall during high school was a huge reason why she chose to attend the School of Music.⠀
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She began writing music after she was given an assignment to write and perform a short blues piece from her music theory professor. After hearing herself and other musicians play a simple melodic line with supporting harmonies, that nearly knocked her off her feet. ⠀
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“I was inspired to compose music ever since,” said Lee. “As I genuinely write from my heart, I aspire to bring a sense of joy and warmth to those who listen to my compositions.” ⠀
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One woman musician she looks up to is Lynette Williams (@hammondgal), the keyboardist for @ChildishGambino. ⠀
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“I am not only inspired by her talent, but also by her kindness and character,” said Lee. “She inspires me to be a better musician and a good person at the same time. The two should always be hand and hand!” ⠀
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Lee encourages other women wanting to pursue a profession in music to wholeheartedly believe in yourself. Acknowledging that the industry is heavily dominated by men, she wants women not to be discouraged by what looks like the "odds,” but to keep your eyes on your goals. ⠀
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Staying focused on her goals, Lee is releasing a short jazz album called "Warm Colors” in the coming months, which will be available on most music platforms. ⠀
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We are truly inspired and look forward to hearing Lee’s new music. 🎵💙⠀
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#ThisisUCLAMusic #WomenInMusic #WomensHistoryMonth #Ethnomusicology
Lupita Infante ‘17 (@luinfante), Ethnomusicology alumna and GRAMMY nominee for her first studio album, “La Serenata,” in the Best Regional Mexican Music Album category will kick off the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony event with a tribute performance celebrating the 50th anniversary of the timeless classic Marvin Gaye track “Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology).” Joining her will be several nominees, including former Bruin Kamasi Washington (@kamasiwashington). ⠀
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Infante will also have the honor of presenting the first GRAMMY Awards of the day, alongside Bill Burr (@wilfredburr), Chika (@chikalogy) and former Recording Academy Chair Jimmy Jam (@flytetymejam).⠀
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The Premiere Ceremony will be livestreamed internationally on Sunday, 3/14 at 12 p.m. PT via the @recordingacademy website before the 2021 GRAMMY Awards show. 💙 ⠀
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To learn more, click the link in our bio ⬆️.⠀
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#ThisisUCLAMusic #GRAMMYs #Ethnomusicology #Alumni
“Lift Every Voice & Sing” and “The Star Spangled Banner” @UCLAWBB for BHM. During a recent @uclawbb game against Oregon State, Ethnomusicology major Yeremiya “Yerry” Wright ‘23 (@itsyerry) and Psychology major Foluke Oduntan ‘21 (@rachealfolu) were invited to perform the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “The Star Spangled Banner” in honor of Black History Month.  Wright and Oduntan are members of the Leadership Team in the Department of Ethnomusicology’s Music of African Americans Ensemble at @UCLAalpert, which is directed by Dr. Diane White-Clayton (@dianewhiteclayton). We are beyond proud of our talented students. 💙  Happy Black History Month! 💛  #ThisisUCLAMusic #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM #Ethnomusicology
Share the love with 💙 Mariachi de Uclatlán 💛 this Valentine’s Day!⠀
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Donate to Uclatlán by 12 PM PT on Saturday, 2/13, and they will thank you with a personalized serenade on Valentine’s Day for you or your special someone!⠀
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Mariachi de Uclatlán will also close out Valentine's Day with a serenata of “Amor de mis amores" on their social media channels - @Uclatlan.⠀
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To donate, click the link in our bio ⬆️ and email or DM @Uclatlan your confirmation to choose your songs and special message you would like them to include in your serenade.⠀
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#ThisisUCLAMusic #SerenatasDeAmor #Uclatlan #ValentinesDay #Giving #Ethnomusicology
In 2014, classical Thai musician and instrument repairer Supeena Adler joined the @UCLAalpert Department of Ethnomusicology to oversee an extensive restoration of its collection of rare Thai instruments.  After hours of hard work, the exquisite collection was brought back to life and ready to be enjoyed by students for the first time in 35 years, reviving the UCLA Music of Thailand Ensemble under Adler’s direction. 🇹🇭  Discover how this important effort created unique opportunities for students and connected them to a global Thai community in this short video.  #ThisisUCLAMusic #WorldMusic #ThaiMusic #Ethnomusicology #Giving
Congratulations to @UCLAalpert’s Ethnomusicology alumna, Lupita Infante (‘17) on receiving a Grammy nomination for her first studio album, “La Serenata,” in the “Best Regional Mexican Music Album” category. ⠀
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Infante, who was recently profiled by @abc7la, shared that studying at the School of Music was integral to her journey. ⠀
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“UCLA holds a special place in my heart in so many ways,” said Infante. “Studying at UCLA opened my mind to new worlds.”⠀
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After graduating from the SOM, Infante set her sights on a singing career. While making herself available for opportunities, she decided to drive for Lyft and Uber.⠀
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Her hard work eventually paid off as she now follows in the footsteps of her grandfather, Pedro Infante, an icon in the world of mariachi. ⠀
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We are in awe of her accomplishment 👏🏼 and so proud! Tune in to the GRAMMY Awards on March 14 on CBS.⠀
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To watch Infante’s interview with ABC7 Los Angeles, click the link in our bio ⬆️.⠀
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#ThisisUCLAMusic #Mariachi #Grammys2021 #Ethnomusicology #Alumni
Shabnam Fasa (’09) and Julius Reder Carlson (Ph.D. ’11, Ph.D. ’15) met as students at @UCLAalpert and shared their appreciation of ethnomusicology and world music. They also shared the desire to live in a society where socioeconomic and cultural differences are not barriers to acceptance and personal growth.⠀
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Wanting to create an inclusive space where youth from all backgrounds connect through music is how the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra (SMYO) started.⠀
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“We wanted to create a program where all kids could come, regardless of racial background, economic background, and it had to remain tuition-free for all kids,” said Fasa. “And not just limit it to Western classical music, but have all these other world music ensembles at the same level.”⠀
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Carlson recalls that many of the foundational concepts of the orchestra came from discussions with graduate students in the ethnomusicology program, particularly the modeling of Anthony Seeger, who was his adviser and mentor. Additionally, 90% of faculty, staff and board members are connected to UCLA. ⠀
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Fasa and Carlson have big plans for SMYO. “In 2028, we would like to open the Olympics with our world music ensembles representing all of Los Angeles,” said Carlson.⠀
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We look forward to SMYO continuing its mission. GoBruins! 💙⠀
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To read the full article, click the link in our bio ⬆️.⠀
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#ThisIsUCLAMusic #UCLAAlumni #Ethnomusicology ⠀
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@santamonicayouthorchestra⠀
@uclaalumni
In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, @UCLAalpert is proud to spotlight Herman Chavez, a third-year transfer student majoring in Ethnomusicology and Comparative Literature. Herman is a first-generation American who shared how his identity has shaped his sense of place and belonging.  “As a Bolivian-American, my specific country often goes underrepresented in both the United States and in international conversations about art and culture,” said Herman. “I am a proud Boliviano and I carry my culture with me as a student and advocate at the School of Music.”  As the son of immigrants, his experience made him keen to the dissonance between his household and the majority of the U.S., guiding his curiosity on how aspects of migration and movement impact Latinx identity formation. His areas of research include: critical race studies, folkloric and Indigenous music, diaspora and migration, poetics and queerness in music, decolonial and post-colonial theory, and Latin American, Bolivian and Andean music.  Herman also sits on the Changing the Culture Subcommittee as part of the school’s Anti-Racism Action Committee, which strives to improve the academic atmosphere at the school for racialized students. He has also been admitted to the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program where he is conducting research on Bolivian music with faculty mentor and musicology professor, Cesar Favila.  “In my time here, I hope to share the Bolivian and Andean identity in and out of musical spaces.”  #ThisisUCLAMusic #HispanicHeritageMonth #Ethnomusicology
Second year ethnomusicology student, Sophia Bacino, recently had her original song featured in the new film “Mighty Oak,” which is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.  @UCLAalpert caught up with Sophia for a Q&A about her memorable experience.  "My first year at UCLA prepared me in a few key ways. First, the chaos of Bruin Walk taught me how to drown out surrounding distractions and focus on the job at hand. Also, my Music 3 theory class helped to guide my professionalism in a serious musical setting." – Sophia Bacino  To read the full Q&A, click the link in our bio ⬆️.  #ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology
UCLA's Persian Music Ensemble - A Virtual Performance for Farhang. #repost @farhangfoundation 
Farhang Foundation and the @uclaalpert School of Music proudly present UCLA’s Persian Music Ensemble under the direction of @mehrdad.arabi , performing Nobat-e Hejran Gozasht (The Separation is Over) by Aliakbar Sheida.
In the Spring of 2020, students with the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s Iranian Music Program moved to remote instruction in response to COVID-19. Many no longer had access to the Iranian instruments on the UCLA campus.
Their instructor, @mehrdad.arabi , improvised and encouraged creativity by asking students to play using whatever items they could find at home. The pandemic may have separated them physically, but their love of Iranian music kept their bond strong.
Farhang Foundation is proud to support the historic Iranian Music Program at UCLA.  Thank you to the dedicated students and staff with the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and the Iranian Music Program.  For more information on the UCLA Iranian Music Program, please visit farhang.org/programs/uclamusic  #Ethnomusicology
Music of African Americans Course at UCLA. UCLAalpert’s Dr. @DianeWhiteClayton, aka Dr. Dee, invites you to join her summer course, Music of African Americans.
The class, which runs from June 22 – July 31, 2020 (taught remotely) will cover amazing pieces of gospel music (traditional and contemporary), Afro-American spirituals, performance practice and more.
This course is open to all levels of experience. There will also be a virtual choir performance.
Dr. Dee would love to have you! Learn more and register at the link in our bio.
#ThisisUCLAMusic #gospelmusic #Ethnomusicology
Meet first-year Ethnomusicology student Jackie Rodriguez.  Although she has a deep love for classical music, Jackie Rodriguez didn’t want to limit her world of music. A classically trained cellist, Jackie fell in love with the diversity of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s Ethnomusicology Department and how it allows her to explore music from around our world. In her time at UCLA, Jackie has played the Persian Setar, and taken part in the Music of Mexico ensemble, playing the Mexican Vihuela, and learning about music like Jarocho from Veracruz, Mexico. She believes stepping into music from other cultures is the key to understanding one another. Exploring different cultures and learning to appreciate them can come from a willingness to understand which is why she decided to pursue Ethnomusicology. 
Jackie manifests “a musical environment where people are welcomed no matter who they are or what their background is, ultimately providing individuals (especially underrepresented musicians) a chance to display their talents.” Although Jackie has struggled to see musicians who look like her in classical music, she realized it’s not up to anybody to decide where she belongs. “For those who have felt the same way, it’s ultimately up to us how we develop our own paths within the world of music and hopefully empower others to know it’s possible for them as well.”
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March is Women’s History Month. Show all the women in your life some appreciation and promote equality. Stay tuned as @UCLAalpert highlights some of our own Bruin Women in music. •••
#BruinWomen #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2020 #IntlWomensDay #ThisIsUCLAMusic #WomenInMusic #WOC #EachForEqual #CelebratingWomen #WomensMonth #WomenInspiringWomen #Ethnomusicology
✨🌿 Golden hour illuminated by @uclaalpert Ethnomusicology students Justin Inbar on sitar and Ram Kaundinya on tabla playing classical Hindustani music. Thank you to Justin, Ram, and everyone who came to sit and watch the day end in the garden to such beautiful sounds. #ethnomusicology #sceneatucla #sitar #tabla #botanicalgarden #ucla #hindustani #ethnomusicologyinthegarden #Repost @uclabotanical @sustainucla

“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 Assistant Professor
Farzad Amoozegar
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Pejman Hadadi
Visiting Assistant Professor
Mark Kligman
Chair of Ethnomusicology; Professor
Chi Li
Adjunct Professor
Steven Loza
Chair of Global Jazz Studies; Professor
A. J. Racy
Distinguished Professor
Yuri Shimoda
Digital Projects and Preservation Specialist, UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive
Daniel Szabo
Adjunct Associate Professor
Ivan Varimezov
Adjunct Assoc. Professor
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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From Broadway’s “Grease” to Studying Ethnomusicology
Allie Schulz is a first-year transfer student from Los Angeles City College (LACC), majoring in Ethnomusicology at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Before transferring to UCLA, Schulz spent her time performing musical theater on Broadway in New York City, touring the country and was even cast in a reality TV show in Los
Original Student Song Featured in New Film “Mighty Oak”
Second year ethnomusicology student, Sophia Bacino is honored to have her original song “Indigo” featured in the new film “Mighty Oak.”
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.

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