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Hood, Ki Mantlelocked

  • Giovanni Giuriati

(b Springfield, IL, June 24, 1918; d Ellicott City, MD, July 31, 2005). American ethnomusicologist and composer. After studying composition privately with Ernst Toch (1945–50), he completed the AB in music (1951) and the MA in composition (1952) at UCLA. He took the doctorate on a Fulbright fellowship at the University of Amsterdam with Jaap Kunst with a dissertation on the Javanese modal system (1954). During the same year he became an instructor at UCLA, where he initiated the first formal programme in ethnomusicology. Following fieldwork in Indonesia on a Ford Fellowship (1956–8), he returned to UCLA and was appointed assistant professor (1956), associate professor (1959) and full professor (1962); he also founded the Institute of Ethnomusicology in 1961. He was visiting professor at universities in the USA and abroad, including the University of Ghana (1963–4), the University of Beijing (1983), Queen's University, Belfast (1985), and the Schola Tinggi Seni Indonesia (1998). Although he retired from UCLA as professor emeritus in 1974, he continued to teach as distinguished senior professor of music at the universities of Maryland (1980–96) and West Virginia (1996–2005). He was president of the Society for Ethnomusicology (1965–7) and was made an honorary life member of the European Seminar in Ethnomusicology in 1985.

Hood was the first scholar to offer training in the performance of non-Western music (in Javanese and Balinese gamelan), a practice now common at most large Western universities. His emphasis on performance participation or ‘bi-musicality’ as an essential aspect of research is a major contribution to the field; his breadth of approach is outlined in the writings Music the Unknown (1963), ‘Ethnomusicology’ (HDM) and The Ethnomusicologist (1971), which are germane to the understanding of his work. His findings on Javanese and Balinese music, which resulted in landmark studies on tuning and modal systems, improvisation and polyphonic stratification, have served as a foundation for studies in other musical cultures of Southeast Asia. He also made many important recordings of gamelan music and contributed to the development of the Seeger melograph in the 1960s and the 1980s. Inspired by the complexity of Southeast Asian musics, his latest writings on the ‘quantum theory’ of music challenge traditional theories of sound as a continual process. Hood’s hypothesis is that there is a smallest time scale unit of sound (as the quanta are fixed elemental units of radiating energy), setting forward a research model that includes musicology in the processes of thinking of 20th-century physics. Many of his compositions have been published and recorded, including Implosion (1982, for percussion quartet) and Udan Bostan (1996, for gamelan). In honour of his achievements, the Indonesian government conferred on him the title ‘Ki’ in 1986 and elected him to the Dharma kusuma (‘Society of National Heroes’) in 1992.


  • The Nuclear Theme as a Determinant of Paṭet in Javanese Music (diss., U. of Amsterdam, 1954; Groningen, 1954/R)
  • ‘The Reliability of Oral Tradition’, JAMS, 12 (1959), 201–9
  • ‘The Challenge of “Bi-Musicality”’, EthM, 4 (1960), 55–9
  • ‘The Enduring Tradition: Music and Theater in Java and Bali’, Indonesia, ed. R.T. McVey (New Haven, CT, 1963, 2/1967), 438–71
  • with F.Ll. Harrison and C.V. Palisca : Musicology (Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1963) [incl. ‘Music, the Unknown’, 217–326]
  • ‘Aspects of Group Improvisation in the Javanese Gamelan’, Musics of Asia: Manila 1966, 16–23 [summary in EthM, xi (1967), 107–13]
  • ‘Slendro and Pelog Redefined’, Selected Reports, 1/1 (1966), 28–47
  • ‘The Effect of Medieval Technology on Musical Style in the Orient’, Selected Reports, 1/3 (1970), 147–70
  • The Ethnomusicologist (New York, 1971, 2/1982)
  • ‘Improvisation in the Stratified Ensembles of Southeast Asia’, Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology, 2/2 (1974–5), 25–33
  • The Evolution of Javanese Gamelan, i: Music of the Roaring Sea (Wilhelmshaven, 1980); ii: Legacy of the Roaring Sea (1984); iii: Paragon of the Roaring Sea (1988)
  • ‘Musical Ornamentation as History: the Hawaiian Steel Guitar’, YTM, 15 (1983), 141–8
  • ‘Stratification polyphonique dans les musiques d'Asie du Sud-Est’, Cahiers de musiques traditionnelles, 6 (1993), 3–10
  • ‘Angkep-angkepan’, Ndroje balendro: musiques, terrains et disciplines, ed. V. Dehoux and others (Paris, 1995), 321–36
  • ‘The Quantum Theory of Music II’, World Music Reports, 1/1 (1996), 9–17


  • A. Merriam : ‘On Objections to Comparison in Ethnomusicology’, Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Music, ed. R. Falck and T. Rice (Toronto, 1982), 174–89
  • J. Maceda : ‘Bipolarity, Ki Mantle Hood's Trilogy, Four Counts and the Fifth Interval’, AsM, 21/2 (1990), 135–46
  • G. Giuriati : ‘La voie du gamelan: entretien avec Ki Mantle Hood’, Cahiers de musiques traditionelles, 8 (1995), 193–214 [incl. list of writings, 214]

See also

Performing practice, §II, 4: Non-Western and traditional music: Scholarly approaches & issues


Instruments, classification of, §4: Other 20th-century approaches

Journal of the American Musicological Society
Yearbook for Traditional Music
Asian Music