Bruno Nettl Papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Subject Terms

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Administrative Files



Sound Recordings

Diplomas, Awards, Honorary Degrees, and Photographs

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Finding Aid for Bruno Nettl Papers, 1949-2010 | The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

By Nolan Vallier, Adriana Cuervo, and Elizabeth Hartman

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Collection Overview

Title: Bruno Nettl Papers, 1949-2010Add to your cart.

ID: 12/5/39

Primary Creator: Nettl, Bruno (1930-2020)

Extent: 20.75 cubic feet


The Bruno Nettl Papers were initially arranged into two distinct Series: Series 1) Correspondence and Series 2) Sound Recordings in 2006. After restrictions on the collection were lifted in 2009 and additional materials were acquired from Bruno Nettl in 2013, the papers were re-arranged keeping the original order of the 2006 arrangement in tact. All materials recevied after 2013 were arranged either chronologically or alphabetically. The 2019 arrangement partitioned the papers into four distinct series: Series 1: Administrative Records, Series 2: Correspondence, Series 3: Research, and Series 4: Sound Recordings. A fifth series was created with the 2021 addition: Series 5: Recognition and Photographs.

Series 1: Administrative Records is arranged into two sub-series: 1) University of Illinois Musicology Department Files and 2) Course Files for Musicology Courses, Anthropology Courses, and Other University Residencies. Starting with the 2019 acquisition, Subseries 1 and 2 are arranged chronologically when possible and alphabetically by subject when not.

Series 2: Correspondence is arranged into three sub-series: 1) Administrative Correspondence, 2) Professional Organization and Committee Correspondence, and 3) Personal and Research Correspondence. Subseries 1) Administrative Correspondence was arranged alphabetically in 2013. Subseries 3) Personal and Research Correspondence was arranged chronologically.

Series 3: Research is arranged into three sub-series: 1) Writings, Lectures, and Grant Applications, 2) Field Notes, Transcriptions, and Primary Research Materials, and 3) Secondary Sources and Annotations. Starting with the 2019 arrangment, Subseries 1 and 2 were arranged chronologically and Subseries 3 was arranged alphabetically by author's last name and chronologically by publication date when necessary. The 2021 addition follows the 2019 arrangement, with the addition of two further sub-series: 4) George Herzog Project (1928-1999) and 5) Paul Nettl Papers. Sub-series 4 is arranged alphabetically by name, and sub-series 5 is arranged chronologically.

Series 4: Sound Recordings is arranged chronologically and by collection and tape number therein. All undated tapes have been arranged alphabetically by subject. The sound recordings acquired in 2021 were arranged into three sub-series: 1) Field Recordings and Research, 2) Demonstrations, Lectures, and Example Recordings, and 3) Commercial Recordings. Sub-series 1 and 2 were arranged chronologically, and by collection and tape number where applicable, with undated tapes arranged alphabetically by title. Sub-series 3 is arranged alphabetically by performer.

Series 5: Recognition and Photographs is arranged into two sub-series: 1) Diplomas, Awards and Honorary Degrees and 2) Photographs. Subseries 1 and 2 were arranged chronologically.

Date Acquired: 01/13/2006. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Champaign, Illinois, Ethnography, Ethnomusicology, Folklore, Folk music, Folk music - Instruction and study, Folk music - Music teachers, Indian Dance, Indians of North America -- Music, Music, Music, School of, Music -- India, Music - Instruction and study, Music -- Iran, Music -- Montana, Music -- Native American, Tehran, Iran, World Music

Formats/Genres: Papers

Languages: English, Persian, Persian, Spanish;Castilian, German, Czech, Korean, Italian, Chinese

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Consists of administrative records, correspondence, published and unpublished research, and field recordings of Bruno Nettl while a professor of Musicology for the University of Illinois School of Music. The papers document Nettl's career as a teacher, administrator and internationally recognized researcher. Of particular interest is correspondence between Dr. Nettl and other renowned musicologists including Gerard Behauge, Stephen Blum, Philip Bohlman, Charles Hamm, Daniel Neuman, Stephen Slawek, Theodore Solis, Christopher Waterman, and Robert Witmer. In addition, these papers contain his field notes, field recordings, and melodic transcriptions from his three main research inquiries: the Blackfoot Native Americans, Persian Classical Music, and Indian Music. Additional areas of interest documented in The 2021 addition to the collection are Nettl's engagement with the work of other renowned musicologists Paul Nettl this father) and George Herzog, and the international commercial recordings collected by Nettl through his research.

Biographical Note

Bruno Nettl (1930-2020) was born March 14, 1930 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He is the son of the late musicologist Paul Nettl, who taught at Indiana University from 1946-1964. After emigrating to the United States at the age of nine, he began studying music. In 1950, he graduated from Indiana University with a bachelors degree in music. In 1951, he wrote his master's thesis entitled, "The Musical Culture of the Arapaho." Nettl completed his doctoral studies with the eminent musicologist, George Herzog, and graduated with a PhD in musicology from Indiana University just two years later. His dissertation, "American Indian Music North of Mexico: It's Styles and Areas," would later be expanded in several articles and books on Native American musics. After receiving his first faculty position as a musicologist at Wayne State University in 1953, Dr. Nettl received a Fulbright Lectureship at the University of Kiel in Germany in 1956. Four years later, Dr. Nettl received a master's degree in library and information science at the University of Michigan.

In 1964, Dr. Nettl was hired as an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Illinois. After being promoted to Professor of Musicology and Anthropology in 1967, he served as the head of the musicology department at Illinois from 1966-1968, 1969-1972, 1975-1977, 1982-1985, and 1987-1989. Dr. Nettl was instrumental in establishing a curriculum for the discipline of Ethnomusicology and his early courses at the University of Illinois show the interdisciplinary nature of his design. He offered a year-long survey in world musics as well as specific area studies geared toward graduate and undergraduate students. During his time at the University of Illinois, he served as the dissertation advisor to several important musicologists including: Stephen Blum, Philip Bohlman, Doris Dyen, Martha Ellen Davis, Marcello Sorce Keller, Daniel Neuman, Ronald Riddle, Ali Jihad Racy, Stephen Slawek, Theodore Solis, Christopher Waterman, and Robert Witmer. In 1992, he became Professor Emeritus and began teaching part-time. In 2000, Dr. Nettl and his wife, Wanda, endowed an annual lecture series featuring the work of eminent musicologists at the University of Illinois. Some of the participants of this lecture series include: Philip Bohlman, Pamela Potter, Thomas Turino, Martin Stokes, Jeff Todd Titon, Portia Maultsby, Alejando Madrid, and Kay Kauffman Shelemay.

Dr. Nettl's research includes three principal areas: Blackfoot Native American Music, Persian Classical Music (Radifs), and South Indian Music (Carnatic Music). Principally, his field research took place in Montana, Tehran, Jerusalem, and Madras between 1965 and 1982. In 1965 he began conducting research on various Blackfoot reservations in Montana. His research on the Blackfoot People would also bring him the Museum of the Southwest in 1984, where he consulted hundreds of early audio recordings of Blackfoot music. In 1966, he received a Fulbright Research Fellowship to conduct research in Iran. While in Tehran, he studied with the eminent Iranian pedagog Nur Ali Borumand. In the early 1970s, Nettl continued his research on Persian Radifs in Jerusalem, examining audio recordings at the Lachman Collection. His research on Blackfoot and Iranian music resulted in two of his most famous ethnographies: The Radif of Persian Music: Studies of Structure and Cultural Context (1987) and Blackfoot Musical Thought: Comparitive Perspectives (1989). In addition to these two primary research interests, he has written extensively about the history of the discipline of Ethnomusicology. His work on this subject includes the following books: Theory and Method in Ethnomusicology (1964), The Study of Ethnomusicology: 29 Issues and Concepts (1983), Encounters in Ethnomusicology, a Memoir (2002), The Study of Ethnomusicology: 31 Issues and Concepts (2005), and Nettl's Elephant: On the History of Ethnomusicology (2010). Dr. Nettl has also written and edited several editions of the popular world music survey Excursions in World Music (1992-2012) and has written several definitions related to his world music research for Oxford New Grove Dictionary of Music as well as The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music.

Dr. Nettl has served on numerous national and international councils related to ethnomusicology and folk music. In 1961, he became the editor of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) Journal, Ethnomusicology. The Society for Ethnomusicology had been founded only six years prior to his engagement as editor. He would later serve as the society's president from 1969-1971 and as editor of the journal once more from 1985-1989 and from 1998-2002. In 1983, he was awarded the Charles Seeger Lecturer Prize and in 2005 the Society awarded him a lifetime service award as well as the title of "Board Member Emeritus." Since 2012, the Society for Ethnomusicology has offered the Bruno Nettl Prize for historical studies on the field of Ethnomusicology. Beginning in 1972, he served as the general editor for the Detroit Studies in Music Bibliography (DSMB). Between 1974-1977, he served as the editor to the Journal Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council. He has also served on the editorial boards for the Harvard Dictionary of Music, The Garland Encylcopedia of World Music, and Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology. He became a member of the Executive Board of the College Music Society in 1977 and served until 1981. In 1985, he acted as the Spivacke Consultant to the Music Division of the Library of Congress. He also served on the Board of the International Society for Music Educators (ISME) In the early 1990s.

Dr. Nettl has also won several major awards for his research and his contributions to the field of Ethnomusicology. In 1981 he was named a fellow of the American Insititute for Indian Studies and a Senior Fellow for Independent Study and Research. Most recently in 2009, he received a Mellon Distinguished Emeritus Fellowship.  He died after a short illness on January 15, 2020.

Subject/Index Terms

Champaign, Illinois
Folk music
Folk music - Instruction and study
Folk music - Music teachers
Indian Dance
Indians of North America -- Music
Music, School of
Music -- India
Music - Instruction and study
Music -- Iran
Music -- Montana
Music -- Native American
Tehran, Iran
World Music

Administrative Information

Repository: The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

Accruals: Papers were initially acquired on January 13, 2006 and were restricted until 2009. An additional two boxes of sound recordings and one box of correspondence was added on May 4, 2013. Four additional boxes of files were added on May 2, 2019. An additional seven boxes of files and twelve boxes of sound recordings were added on July 21, 2021. An addition of two boxes of files and one box of cassette recordings were added on July 25, 2022.

Access Restrictions: Collection restricted until January 13, 2009, opened January 14, 2009.

Acquisition Source: Bruno Nettl

Acquisition Method: Gift

Other Note: Pages

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Administrative Files, 1965-2009],
[Series 2: Correspondence, 1958-2010],
[Series 3: Research, 1951-2002],
[Series 4: Sound Recordings, 1949-1974],
[Series 5: Diplomas, Awards, Honorary Degrees, and Photographs, 1948-2018],

Series 5: Diplomas, Awards, Honorary Degrees, and Photographs, 1948-2018Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 1: Diplomas, Awards, and Honorary DegreesAdd to your cart.
Box 25Add to your cart.
Folder 47: The University School Diploma, May 28, 1948Add to your cart.
Folder 48: Bachelor's Diploma, Indiana University, June 12, 1950Add to your cart.
Folder 49: Phi Beta Kappa, 1950-1998Add to your cart.
Folder 50: Master of Arts Diploma, Indiana University, Juna 18, 1951Add to your cart.
Folder 51: Doctorate Diploma, Indiana University, June 15, 1953Add to your cart.
Folder 52: Master of Library Science, University of Michigan, June 11, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 53: Photographs, 1973-2006Add to your cart.
Folder 54: Honors and Praise, December 10, 1985 - December 8, 2014Add to your cart.
Folder 55: University of Illinois honors and awards programs, 1985-2015Add to your cart.
Folder 56: Distinguished Alumni Service Award, Indiana University, 1986-1987Add to your cart.
Folder 57: Honorary Doctorate, University of Chicago, 1993Add to your cart.
Folder 58: Koizumi Fumio Prize, October 12, 2014Add to your cart.
Folder 59: Honorary Doctorate, University of Illinois, May 1996Add to your cart.
Folder 60: AMS Honorary Membership, November 1995Add to your cart.
Folder 61: Honorary Doctorate Diploma, University of Illinois, May 12, 1996Add to your cart.
Folder 62: American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow, April 1997-September 1997Add to your cart.
Folder 63: Housewright Chair, Florida State University, 1997-1998Add to your cart.
Folder 64: Class of 1948 Reunion, University High School, 1998Add to your cart.
Folder 65: ISME Recognition, July 25, 1998Add to your cart.
Folder 66: Distinguished Alumni Awards, Indiana University, 1998-2017Add to your cart.
Folder 67: Honorary Doctorate, Carleton College, June 2000Add to your cart.
Folder 68: Medical Scholar's Advisor Award, Illinois, August 2001Add to your cart.
Folder 69: Honorary Doctorate, Kenyon College, May 2002Add to your cart.
Folder 70: Traditions, Indiana University Alumni Newsletter, 2003Add to your cart.
Folder 71: Honorary Professor Certificate, Central Conservatory of Music, May 16, 2007Add to your cart.
Folder 72: Jan Patocka Memorial Medal, November 11, 2008Add to your cart.
Awarded by Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Folder 73: Taiji Traditional Music Award, Beijing, October 2012Add to your cart.
Awarded by Central Conservatory of Music and Taiji Traditional Music Foundation
Folder 74: ACLS Haskins Prize Lecture, May 9, 2014Add to your cart.
Folder 75: Marquis Who's Who, September 2018Add to your cart.
Folder 76: "The Life and Times of Bruno Nettl" by Yawen Ludden, undatedAdd to your cart.
Oversize Portfolio Case 1Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Phi Mu Alpha Award, undatedAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 2: PhotographsAdd to your cart.
Box 25Add to your cart.
Folder 77: Photographs, 1967-1988Add to your cart.
Folder 78: SEM Past Presidents photograph, November 20, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 79: University High Reunion photographs, 1988Add to your cart.
Folder 80: Carleton College Commencement photograph, June 10, 2000Add to your cart.
Oversize Portfolio Case 1Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Stage Set Etching by Matthew Kusel, undatedAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Administrative Files, 1965-2009],
[Series 2: Correspondence, 1958-2010],
[Series 3: Research, 1951-2002],
[Series 4: Sound Recordings, 1949-1974],
[Series 5: Diplomas, Awards, Honorary Degrees, and Photographs, 1948-2018],

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