… to the website of the Department of Musicology Weimar Jena!

This semester, on June 24th, 2022 to be exact, our University is celebrating its 150th birthday. One hundred and fifty years of the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar means one hundred and fifty years of cultivating the canon of Western music. This not only means a commitment to the masterpieces of European musical art, but also training “in the service” of this music. At least that's how some of the statements made by music teachers working at our university can be understood.

If the start was made in 1877 to train young talents for the Weimar Orchestra, then today the students at our University are being prepared for a much wider, musically differentiated career in the field of music, which includes artistic excellence, but at the same time goes far beyond instrumental or vocal music-making. In fact, it is no longer only musicians in the narrower sense who leave the university, but also graduates of educational and scientific courses, including cultural management and music theory.

„Lautenspielerin“ by Hendrick Terbrugghen, Utrecht, ca. 1626. Sammlung Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
© 2022 Department of Musicology Weimar-Jena

A painting by the Dutch painter Hendrick Terbrugghen (1588-1629) serves as an example of the diverse perspective on music, of the differentiated understanding that is taught at the Department of Musicology in Weimar-Jena. The "lute player" portrayed by the artist is in the process of tuning her instrument. At the same time, she also seems to be singing or at least making vocal sounds. In front of her is an extensive collection of bound sheets of music, a repertoire from which she will perform. The lute she is holding in her hands goes back to corresponding instruments from the Ottoman-Arabic culture: the pegbox that is tilted backward and the decorations on the sound hole indicate this. At the same time, other features suggest that the instrument represents a European model: the frets, the eight double-course strings (in the case of the Arabic lute, six double-course strings dominate). After all, we are dealing with a female musician. Who is she, what is her role in the music culture she represents here?

These observations and questions alone indicate in various sub-areas of musicology: notation and instrumentation studies, music history, gender and performance studies, tuning and modes, tonal systems and acoustics, organology and musical cultural history, transcultural music studies and systematic musicology - from all these at least and many more are taught and researched at the Department of Musicology Weimar-Jena.

Together, musicology and music practice are constantly relocating musical culture in its time and also in its respective socio-cultural context. Thus, musicology occupies a central place in the curriculum of a music university like ours, with basic offers also at a big university like the Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

After a long pandemic break, we hope to have our “tea time” together again this semester, every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Just come over!

I wish you all a good summer semester 2022!

Prof. Dr. Tiago de Oliveira Pinto
Head of Department