The UCLA Musicology Department is part of the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA, which also includes Music and Ethnomusicology departments.
The mission of the UCLA Musicology department is to foster transformative critical thinking about music and musical practices. It defines its subject as broadly as possible, and seeks to integrate musical analysis, interpretations, social/cultural theory, performance, and historiography at all levels of specialization from general education to professional musicological training.
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, in line with the syncretic vision of the Herb Alpert School. The Department of Musicology at UCLA now leads the field nationally and internationally in offering advanced training within this broader vision of the discipline.
An illustrated dictionary of names, places, and terms pertinent to the life and art of Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805), containing some 400 entries and accompanied by a short biographical sketch of the composer. It also includes a comprehensive Bibliography and an up-to-date CD Discography.
In Making Light Raymond Knapp traces the musical legacy of German Idealism as it led to the declining prestige of composers such as Haydn while influencing the development of American popular music in the nineteenth century. Knapp identifies in Haydn and in early popular American musical cultures such as minstrelsy and operetta a strain of high camp—a mode of engagement that relishes both the superficial and serious aspects of an aesthetic experience—that runs antithetical to German Idealism's musical paradigms. By considering the disservice done to Haydn by German Idealism alongside the emergence of musical camp in American popular music, Knapp outlines a common ground: a humanistically based aesthetic of shared pleasure that points to ways in which camp receptive modes might rejuvenate the original appeal of Haydn's music that has mostly eluded audiences. In so doing, Knapp remaps the historiographical modes and systems of critical evaluation that dominate musicology while troubling the divide between serious and popular music.
In The Race of Sound Nina Sun Eidsheim traces the ways in which sonic attributes that might seem natural, such as the voice and its qualities, are socially produced. Eidsheim illustrates how listeners measure race through sound and locate racial subjectivities in vocal timbre—the color or tone of a voice. Eidsheim examines singers Marian Anderson, Billie Holiday, and Jimmy Scott as well as the vocal synthesis technology Vocaloid to show how listeners carry a series of assumptions about the nature of the voice and to whom it belongs. Outlining how the voice is linked to ideas of racial essentialism and authenticity, Eidsheim untangles the relationship between race, gender, vocal technique, and timbre while addressing an undertheorized space of racial and ethnic performance. In so doing, she advances our knowledge of the cultural-historical formation of the timbral politics of difference and the ways that comprehending voice remains central to understanding human experience, all the while advocating for a form of listening that would allow us to hear singers in a self-reflexive, denaturalized way.