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.

Featured Alumni

Martha Gonzalez ’99

Department of Musicology

Martha Gonzalez is a Chicana artivista (artist/activist) musician, feminist music theorist and Associate Professor in the Intercollegiate Department of Chicana/o Latina/o Studies at Scripps College. A Fulbright (2007-08), Ford (2012-13) and Woodrow Wilson Fellow (2016-17), her academic interests have been fueled by her own musicianship as a singer/songwriter and percussionist for the GRAMMY Award-winning (2013) band Quetzal. Gonzalez’s first manuscript “Chican@ Artivistas: Music, Community and Transborder Tactics in East Los Angeles” was just published in the University Texas Press. She received her B.A. in ethnomusicology in 1999.

Read more to discover insights into her early scholarly influences, how teaching, researching and performing all inform one another, as well as her advice for musicology students.

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Musicology Faculty

Naming, Understanding, and Playing with Metaphors in Music
This symposium aims to spark conversation on how metaphorical language shapes our understanding of not only music and sound but one another and the world.
Ceremony Held for Outdoor Courtyard Dedicated as Anti-Discrimination Haven
The Herb Alpert School of Music has designated an outdoor space between the Music Library at the Schoenberg Musical Building and the recording center in the Ostin Music Center as a haven from discrimination and marginalization.
UCLA Library awards grants to eight music school projects
Funds to support commissions, performances, recordings, residencies and research for contemporary music
School of Music Student Wins Marshall Scholarship
The Marshall Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships offered to American college students and covers all costs of pursuing a two-year degree at a British university.
The Indo-Persian Musical Confluence Welcomes Attendees From Across the Globe
The School of Music’s Department of Ethnomusicology held eight virtual panels and performances as part of “The Indo-Persian Musical Confluence” series November 2020 – May 2021. This attracted participants from across the globe, including Europe, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Canada and numerous regions within the United States.
Seven UCLA professors elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Among UCLA’s 2021 honorees are the School of Music’s faculty Terence Blanchard, Inaugural Kenny Burrell Chair and Professor of Global Jazz Studies, and Elisabeth Le Guin, Professor of Musicology and Special Assistant to the Inaugural Dean for Faculty Development and Gender Equity.

Explore 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