As an ardent patron of Tamil Music, Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar was very keen to develop the University as a seat of Tamil Music. Accordingly, the music college was started in 1929, with Sangeetha Kalanidhi T.S. Sabesaiyer as the first principal of the college.When the Annamalai University was inaugurated in 1930, the music college was transferred to the university, and it was constituted into a separated department that included the Faculty of Oriental Studies, Tamil, and Sanskrit.In 1937 Sangeetha kalanithi Tiger K. Varadhachariyar become the principal of the college. In 1943 a post of professor of Music was created and sangeetha Kalanithi K. Ponnaiah Pillai was the first Professor of Music, followed by Thirupampuram Swaminatha Pillai and later by Chitoor Subramaniya Pillai.
In 1953, a separate Faculty of Fine Arts was started in which a Department Painting was included. This Faculty also provided for the inclusion of the Fine Arts like sculpture, Painting, Architecture, Drawing & Drama. Isai Arasu. M.M. Dhandapani Desikar was the dean of Fine Arts and the Head of the Department of Music from 1955, followed by Dr. Madurai S. Somasundaram from 1977, and Dr. Sirkazhi S. Govindarajan from 1985. The other veterans who headed the Department were Thiru S.V. Parthasarathi, Thanjavur Thiru K.P. Sivanandam, Tmt. Abayambiga, V.G. Subramaniyam, Prof. O.S. Thiagarajan, Aridwaramangalam Dr. A.K. Palanivel, At present, Prof. Dr. R. Rajendran is the Dean i/c of Fine Arts and Dr. T. Arutselvi, Professor & Head of the Department of Music.
Music and Dance Students are being trained specially for specific occasions, government and social functions. Regular music concerts are performed by students at Rajah Annamalai Mandram, Chennai and Tamil Isai Sangam, Madurai during Music festivals. Our students performed Music and Dance concerts during the occasion of International Conferences and Seminars conducted by Various Faculties and in Medias. Every year our department staff and students are presenting Music performance at Thiruvaiyaru “Sathguru Thiyagraraja Aradhana” festival and Dance recitals at Chidambaram “Nattiyanjali” ( An international Dance festival). Most of our Staff members are regularly performing Music Concerts in Radio Sangeetha Sammelanam, AIR, Doordharsan, other TV Channels and abroad.
Our students are employed in schools and colleges all over India and abroad. Exponents in the field of music and dance are invited to perform and conduct workshops in the department thus widening the knowledge of the students. More than 20% of foreign students are studying in various programmes. Our department is conducting distance Education Programmes from 2005 and through MoU, our staff members conduct classes at Canada study centre.So far our Department produced 13 Ph.D and 7 M. Phil Scholars. At present 24 Scholars are pursuing Ph. D Programme and 1 Scholars are pursuing M. Phil Programme. .