William Malm (b. March 6, 1928) is an American musicologist known for his studies of Japanese traditional music. As a composer, teacher, and scholar of Japanese music, Malm shaped the study of ethnomusicology in the United States. Malm authored the first major scholarly study on the history and instruments of Japanese music, Japanese Music and Musical Instruments (1959). He was a faculty member at the University of Michigan from 1960 to 1994. Malm served as President of the Society for Ethnomusicology from 1977 to 1979 and was named an Honorary Member of that organization in 2004. Malm was awarded the Fumio Koizumi Prize in 1992 for his contributions to the study of Japanese music. As the 2001 Charles Seeger Lecturer, Malm's address focused on the history and founding of ethnomusicology in the United States.
Malm studied composition at Northwestern University, where he completed a Bachelor's in 1949 and a Master's in Music in 1950. He subsequently taught at the University of Illinois for a year. From 1951 to 1953, he was an instructor at the US Naval School of Music. He completed the PhD in musicology at UCLA in 1959, where he also taught from 1958 to 1960. The bulk of his academic career was spent as a professor at the University of Michigan, where he taught from 1960 until 1994. At Michigan, he began an ethnomusicology program and worked with the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments. Malm made significant contributions to the study of Asian ethnomusicology, particularly his fieldwork and research into music for dance and Japanese music. His primary research area was the music of the shamisen, including music of the Japanese kabuki and bunraku theatre. His book Japanese Music and Musical Instruments (1959) was the first scholarly and comprehensive survey of its subject in English. His book on nagauta (music of the kabuki theater), grew out of his doctoral dissertation and offered one of the first detailed studies of a single genre of Japanese music to be published in English.