What is Musicology?

Musicologists study the history, cultural contexts, and interpretation of music. While the discipline has tended, historically, to focus largely on European art-music repertories, in recent decades it has expanded to include many other traditions as well as other regions. The Department of Musicology at UCLA now leads the field nationally and internationally in offering advanced training within this broader vision of the discipline and is a recognized leader in the study of popular music, the study of music, power, and difference, and in innovative approaches to the study of traditional repertories and musical practices.

The most recent report of the National Research Council ranked UCLA Musicology as the number one musicology doctoral program in the country.  In addition to the Ph.D., the department offers both a major and a minor in Musicology, with course offerings ranging from traditional subjects spanning the history of European and American music, to more specialized courses in electronic dance music, Motown, blues, medievalism, musicals, rock & roll, punk, and film music, to theoretical explorations of sound studies, music and politics, performance studies, musical listening, music and gender, the philosophy of music, and music in postcolonial studies.  The department is also the home of the UCLA Early Music Ensemble, which engages students from across the university and UCLA community, and presents several public concerts each year.

Musicology Faculty
See All Musicology Faculty
Nina Eidsheim
César Favila
Assistant Professor
Jessica Schwartz
Assistant Professor
Mark Kligman
Chair of Ethnomusicology; Professor
Jessica A. Holmes
Postdoctoral Scholar
Raymond Knapp
Academic Associate Dean; Professor
Shana Redmond
Associate Professor
Elisabeth Le Guin
Chair of Musicology; Professor
Tamara Levitz
Elizabeth Randell Upton
Associate Professor
Robert Fink
Chair of Music Industry Minor; Professor
Sukha Gildart
Lecturer, Body as Instrument
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INTERVIEW: “Musicology has tended to undervalue the role of the body in the performance of western art music,” said postdoctoral musicology scholar Jessica Holmes in Artsfile.
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IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: "What is the sound of your DNA?” Spotify and 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.
Musicologists Transcend the Mind-Body Divide in Coursework and Research
The Department of Musicology is at the forefront of conducting research and developing courses that focus on the role of the body in relation to the performance, creation, and experience of music.
Musicologist César Favila joins School of Music as Assistant Professor
César Favila is an expert in Latin American musics, Mexican music, early modern music, sacred music, and women’s music.
Professor Nina Eidsheim in the NYT's - A Playlist for Commutes
"If a commuter’s goal is to de-stress or to have a productive workday using music, I’d encourage them to think about what music puts them in which mood and to create their own highly personalized commuting playlist with that purpose in mind."
Robert Fink on Inequality in Music
“I can’t think of a single hip-hop song about people getting subprime mortgages or that kind of thing,” Fink says.
Explore Degrees
Mentorship in the creation and realization of music for concerts, opera, and visual media
Graduate study and training in choral, orchestral, or wind conducting
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
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