Ethnomusicology Pioneer Mantle Hood

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Mantle Hood, 87, a professor, author and scholar who pioneered an interdisciplinary field that blends the studies of musicology and anthropology, died July 31 at his home in Ellicott City. He had Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Hood helped establish a framework for the field known as ethnomusicology, which is the comprehensive study of music, musicians, their instruments and the complex human intricacies behind the production of music.

After studying the music and culture of Indonesia in the 1950s, Dr. Hood became an internationally recognized authority on the musical traditions of the islands of Java and Bali, with their orchestras of bronze kettles, bamboo xylophones, drums and cymbals.

He went on to create an ethnomusicology program and institute at his alma mater, the University of California at Los Angeles, and became an influential member of the Society for Ethnomusicology. In 1980, after taking time off from academia, he started another program, this one at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

A major focus of his teachings was the study of music through performance, challenging his students to learn not only from scholarly research but also by playing instruments.

Dr. Hood, who taught at UMBC until his retirement in 1996, was the author of "The Ethnomusicologist" (1971), "The Evolution of Javanese Gamelan" (1984) and nearly 100 chapters for other books.

He was an editor of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and taught courses as a visiting professor at Yale, Harvard and Indiana universities.

Dr. Hood, who was born in Springfield, Ill., wrote pulp fiction in his youth and served in the Army in Europe during World War II.

He graduated from UCLA in 1951 and received a master's degree in music from there the next year. He received a doctorate in music from the University of Amsterdam.

His marriage to Shirley Hood ended in divorce. In 1963, he married the former Hazel Chung, a professional dancer with whom Dr. Hood collaborated in his research.

In addition to his wife, of Ellicott City, survivors include one son from his first marriage, Marlowe Hood of Paris; three sons from his second marriage, Maiyo J. Hood of Shanghai, Mitro A. Hood of Baltimore and Made M. Hood of Melbourne, Australia; and three grandchildren.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company