Timeline: Pre-Institute Years, Department of Music


Undergraduate instruction in American music began with the course “History of Music in America” (Music 142). In 1947-48, a graduate course “Seminar in American Music” (Music 255), appeared in the catalog. In the 1960s and 1970s, courses on different culture groups (Anglo-American, Afro-American, Mexican American, and American Indian) were added to the curriculum.


Instruction in what we now call “world music” began at UCLA with the course "Folk Music" (Music 136), taught by Laurence Petran. Petran was a faculty member in the Music Department from 1942 to 1969, and taught “Folk Music” through 1955, except for the few occasions when other faculty taught the course. For example, ethnomusicologist Laura C. Boulton, who was a Lecturer in the UCLA Music Department from 1947 to 1949, taught the “Folk Music” course during her two-year tenure.


In 1946-47, the first undergraduate course on aesthetics (Music 168) appeared in the catalog. A graduate course “Seminar in Aesthetics” (Music 268), first appeared in the catalog in 1947-48.


Boris Kremenliev, a composer whose specialty was Balkan music, joined the UCLA Music Department, and taught from 1947 to 1976. He was the first to teach ethnomusicology courses on music in Europe and Central Asian cultures.


A graduate seminar in comparative musicology was offered for the first time: "Seminar in Comparative Musicology" (Music 264). The course title for Music 264 was changed to "Seminar in Ethno-Musicology" in 1955-56 and to “Seminar in Ethnomusicology” in 1957-58. The course number for "Seminar in Ethnomusicology" was changed to Music 280 with the establishment of the Institute in 1960-61.


Mantle Hood, a composer whose specialty was Javanese music, joined the UCLA Music Department and taught from 1954 to 1974. He was the first to teach courses on music in Southeast Asia.


Jaap Kunst, the Dutch ethnomusicologist credited with coining the term "ethnomusicology," presented two lectures at UCLA in fall 1955. Hood received his Ph.D. in 1954 at the University of Amsterdam with Kunst as his dissertation advisor.


An undergraduate course “Acoustics in Music” (Music 118), first appeared in the catalog, with Petran listed as the instructor. Thus, Petran is the first faculty member to teach courses in Systematic Musicology. In 1962-63, the graduate course “Seminar in Systematic Musicology” (Music 272A-272B), first appeared in the catalog. Prerequisites for the seminar included “Acoustics of Music” (Music 118) and “Psychology of Music” (Psychology 172A-172B). Petran is listed as the instructor for all courses.


The course title for Music 136 ("Folk Music") was changed to the current "Musical Cultures of the World." It was also divided into two parts -- 136A and 136B -- and taught by Hood and Petran.


With a $39,000 Rockefeller Foundation grant, Mantle Hood acquired the first set of instruments from Java, Thailand, Japan, and Sunda, as well as reference materials and equipment for the new ethnomusicology program. Commenting on the significance of the grant, Music Department chair, Robert U. Nelson stated: "The grant is the first of its kind to be given to an American university and represents an important recognition of the significance of ethnomusicology in the understanding of Oriental Culture" (July 7, 1958). With this purchase, the Gamelan performance program was formally established.

More on the instrument collection


In 1958, Elizabeth May and Robert Garfias became the first two students to receive degrees in music with a specialization in ethnomusicology. Elizabeth May received her Ph.D. while Robert Garfias received his M.A. In 1959, William P. Malm was the second person to receive a Ph.D. in music with a specialization in ethnomusicology. Interestingly, all three works focused on Japanese music. May, "Japanese children's music before and after contact with the West" (1958); Garfias, "The basic melody of the Togaku pieces of the Gagaku repertoire" (1958); and Malm, "Japanese nagauta music" (1959).


Charles Seeger was hired by the Music Department. During his time at UCLA, he held several job titles: Regents Professor of Music, Research Associate in Ethnomusicology, Lecturer in Music, and Research Musicologist in Ethnomusicology. He was central to the invention of the melograph at UCLA. Selected Reports Vol. 2, No. 1 contains reports on the Seeger Melograph Model C.


Mantle Hood and Boris Kremenliev wrote the proposal to form the Institute of Ethnomusicology.

Go to Institute of Ethnomusicology (Next)