What is Musicology?

Musicology studies the history, cultural contexts, and interpretation of music, and in recent decades has expanded its coverage to extend beyond European art-music to other traditions and regions. The Department of Musicology at UCLA has long been the recognized leader in the study of popular music, in studying music in relation to power and difference, and approaching traditional repertories and musical practices in innovative ways. The National Research Council ranks UCLA Musicology as the number one program in the country.

Musicology offers undergraduates a Major and a Minor, with courses ranging across European and American music, including specialized courses in EDM, Motown, blues, medievalism, musicals, rock, punk, film music, sound studies, and performance studies, and studying music in relation to politics, gender, and postcolonialism. Musicology is also the home of UCLA’s Early Music Ensemble, serving the larger UCLA community and offering several public concerts each year.

Jenny Olivia Johnson Joins Musicology Faculty
Jenny Olivia Johnson has a … different artistic process than most. The musicologist and composer, who will join The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music in Fall 2023 as associate professor of musicology, has always been known for mixing seemingly incompatible elements in her work.  By way of illustration, consider Johnson’s opera “The After Time,”
Doctoral Student Breana McCullough Connects Baroque Music and Native American Voices
McCullough has been an apprentice with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado in 2022-23. She collaborated with the orchestra on their winter concert, re-envisioning a French carol to elevate indigenous perspectives.
How Spotify Knows What You Want Next
When the Wall Street Journal wants to understand how Spotify’s algorithm works, they turn to Thomas Hodgson, assistant professor of musicology and music industry at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.
Recovering Lost Stories in Early Music
It is tempting to fit diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into a box labeled campus practice and politics. But for the Early Music Ensemble at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, DEI is about faithfully recovering historical worlds through better performance and scholarship. “For so long, music history has been taught through the lives
Musicology Student Wins Prestigious National Scholarship
The Beinecke Scholarship is one of the most competitive in the United States. It gifts the most exceptional students in the arts, humanities, and social science with substantial support for graduate study. In 2023, 87 institutions nominated one candidate apiece. Only 20 students make the final selection. For the first time since 2015, one of
Who's Invited to Early Music? A Mother's Take on Audience Inclusivity
By Marylin Winkle. Published in Early Music America. In addition to being a professional early-music ensemble director, performer, and educator, I am also a mom; juggling these jobs during a pandemic was a surreal learning experience. My daughter was born in July 2020 and, like many, I had to make countless accommodations to ensure that

Explore Degrees

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 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
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