Fredric Lieberman

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Fredric Lieberman (died May 4, 2013) was an American ethnomusicologist, composer, music professor, and author. As a faculty member at the University of California at Santa Cruz, he was affiliated with the Music Department (including the undergraduate degree programs, the master's program in ethnomusicology, and the Ph.D. program in cross-cultural musicology). UCSC is where he became known for teaching and studying the Grateful Dead.[1]

He was perhaps best known for his role as the key contact between the University of California at Santa Cruz and The Grateful Dead, in finding a home for the band's archives at the university's McHenry Library[1][2] and for his collaboration with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart on three of Hart's books: Planet Drum, Drumming at the Edge of Magic, and Spirit Into Sound.[3] He was a composer of music and published several of his compositions. He co-authored a biographical study of composer Lou Harrison with Dr. Leta Miller and authored numerous other publications.

Lieberman's early research focused on East Asian musics (especially Chinese music, but his geographic areas of interest included Japan, Korea, Bhutan, Tibet, and South India), then American vernacular music (from Tin Pan Alley to contemporary rock), as well as his work on theories of organology and copyright law (as applied to music and intellectual property).[4] He was an avid collector of traditional musical instruments from around the world.


Fredric Lieberman was raised in New York and graduated from Fieldston High School in 1958. He attended the Eastman School of Music where he graduated with a Bachelors in Music with a focus in composition, musicology, and conducting. Lieberman continued his education by receiving a Masters from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Ethnomusicology. In 1968 he was given his Ph.D. in music with an emphasis in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles.[5] Through the years he has taught at Brown, the University of Washington, and eventually settled at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Lieberman co-wrote three books with Mickey Hart and was a consultant for him on various projects.[6] One of these, Planet Drum: A Celebration of Percussion and Rhythm, also co-written by D.A. Sonneborn, examines rhythm's role in cultural traditions and considers the primal percussion experience of the "Big Bang.".[7] He also co-wrote with Leta E. Miller, Lou Harrison (2006); a study of the life and career of Lou Harrison (1917–2003),[8] and he also wrote Chinese music: An annotated bibliography (1979).[9]

Lieberman also started and was CEO of his own company named Music Forensics in which he consulted with attorneys and musicians over copyright laws.

Lieberman died on May 4, 2013 due to cardiac arrest.[10]


  • Hart, Mickey; Lieberman, Fredric. Spirit into Sound: The Magic of Music. (August 30, 2006). Grateful Dead Productions. ISBN 1-888358-23-8 (ISBN 9781888358230).
  • Hart, Mickey; Sonneborn, D.A.; Lieberman, Fredric. (1991, August 1998). Planet Drum: A Celebration of Percussion and Rhythm. Grateful Dead Productions. ISBN 1-888358-20-3 (ISBN 9781888358209).
  • Hart, Mickey; Stevens, Jay; Lieberman, Fredric. Drumming at the Edge of Magic: A Journey into the Spirit of Percussion. (1990, December 28, 1998). Grateful Dead Productions. ISBN 1-888358-18-1 (ISBN 9781888358186).
  • Hart, Mickey; Stevens, Jay; Lieberman, Fredric. Die magische Trommel. Eine Reise zu den Quellen des Rhythmus . (1991, 1993). Goldmann Wilhelm GmbH. ISBN 3-442-12156-6 (ISBN 9783442121564).
  • Lieberman, Fredric. Chinese music: An annotated bibliography (Garland reference library of the humanities ; v. 75). (January 1, 1979). Garland Pub. ISBN 0-8240-9922-2 (ISBN 9780824099220).
  • Lieberman, Fredric and Miller, Leta E. . Lou Harrison. (June 5, 2006). University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-03120-2 (ISBN 9780252031205).
  • Miller, Leta E.; Lieberman, Fredric. (1998). Composing a world: Lou Harrison, musical wayfarer. University of Illinois Press, ISBN 0-252-07188-3, (ISBN 9780252071881)[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Green, Joshua (March 2010). "Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  2. ^ Rappaport, Scott (April 24, 2008). "Grateful Dead Donates Archives to UC Santa Cruz". UC Santa Cruz News and Events. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  3. ^ "University Library: The Grateful Dead Archive". Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2013-05-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^
  6. ^ "UCSC: Fred Lieberman: Education and Interests". Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  7. ^ "Official Webpage of Mickey Hart". Archived from the original on 2011-07-09. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  8. ^ "Lou Harrison". Retrieved 2011-06-30.
  9. ^ "Chinese Music: An annotated bibliography". Retrieved 2011-06-30.
  10. ^ "In Memoriam – Fredric Lieberman". Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  11. ^ Miller, Leta E.; Lieberman, Fredric (10 September 1998). "Composing a World: Lou Harrison, Musical Wayfarer". University of Illinois Press. Retrieved 10 September 2017 – via Google Books.

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