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Systematic Musicology Specialization

(M.A./Ph.D. degree in Ethnomusicology) [PRINT]

The specialization in Systematic Musicology has three goals: to provide students with a multidisciplinary curriculum that includes a cross-cultural perspective; to encourage critical awareness of current and historical approaches to the study of music; and to develop interdisciplinary research. The specialization offers the Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in ethnomusicology. Though the M.A. degree is offered, students with the desire and ability to attain the Ph.D are sought.

At UCLA, systematic musicology consists of two streams, one scientific and empirical, the other philosophical and critical. In a third stream, the specialization includes Adler's interest in comparative musicology through intimate contact with the Ethnomusicology specialization. (Click on Ethnomusicology, Graduate for a description of that specialization.)

The empirical stream, taught by Roger Kendall, concentrates on musical perception and cognition, instrument acoustics, tuning systems, analysis of timbre, and the relationship between music and other modalities, such as film and animation. Computer skills and statistics are crucial parts of this stream, and students and faculty are working on issues and techniques related to reporting their findings on the World Wide Web . Students and faculty have also been instrumental in reviving empirical research in world music, including the tuning of gamelans, the perception of Indian modes, and the percpetion and acoustics of gamelan modes.

The philosophical stream, taught by Roger Savage, concentrates on musical aesthetics, sociology of music, semiotics, hermeneutics, and critical theory. Reading in continental philosophy is particularly important for this stream. Students and faculty work on developing a critical understanding of music's social and cultural efficacy, often in conjunction with students in ethnomusicology.

M.A. Degree Requirements

The M.A. with a specialization in systematic musicology requires twelve courses. The core consists of three courses: Empirical Foundations in Systematic Musicology (C203), Aesthetic and Philosophical Foundations in Systematic Musicology (C204), and one of the Musicology 260A-F Seminars: Historical Musicology. The remaining nine courses are electives, including courses from other departments, selected with the guidance of the student's advisor.

Systematic musicology students at the master's level are required to pass a reading examination, or pass the fifth quarter of a course sequence with a grade of B or better, in one foreign language.

Systematic musicology students complete the degree by taking an examination that consists of an original research project of a scope agreed upon with the student's advisor; an oral examination on the paper is required only if the paper receives a grade of Low Pass. For the complete and official set of requirements for the M.A. degree, see Program Requirements for UCLA Graduate Degrees at the Graduate Division website.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. with a specialization in systematic musicology requires six elective courses beyond the requirements for the M.A. Ph.D. students must also pass an examination, or pass the fifth quarter of a course sequence with a grade of B or better, in a second foreign language.

Ph.D. students take four written qualifying examinations upon completion of all course work and foreign language requirements. They cover: (1) history, theory, and method in systematic musicology; (2) one of the theoretical approaches to systematic musicology: organology; aesthetics; psychology; sociology; acoustics, or ethnomusicology; (3) Western music theory and history; and (4) a topic outside systematic musicology or another of the theoretical approaches to systematic musicology listed in (2) above. When the written qualifying examinations have been passed, the dissertation proposal is defended in an oral examination, students are advanced to candidacy and awarded the Candidate in Philosophy (C.Phil.) It is expected that all the above requirements will be completed within two years of entering the Ph.D. program, that is, after completing the M.A. degree.

Students are required to complete an approved doctoral dissertation that demonstrates the student's ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study. It is expected that the research for and the writing of the dissertation will be completed within three years after advancement to candidacy.

For the complete and official set of requirements for the Ph.D., see Program Requirements for UCLA Graduate Degrees available online at the Graduate Division website.