Current PhD-projects

Martin Breternitz

Jazz in the GDR – Music, scenes and intermediate tones in State Socialism Using the Example of the Region of Thuringia

Doctoral Candidate in the Research Training Group "The GDR and the European Dictatorships after 1945" and stipend by the Ettersberg Foundation.

Jazz in the GDR was diverse, partly subversive, often nonconformist, and always carried with it the idea of freedom. In contrast to this, there was a rigid state apparatus whose cultural authorities oscillated between repression, control and appropriation. Jazz was socially and artistically relevant at all times in the history of the GDR, and offered constant points of friction between the state and the population, which was inclined towards jazz. Using theories of cultural transfer, this research project examines the historical contexts, stylistic aspects, and forms of appropriation of jazz on the one hand, and the control structures of the cultural authorities and the actions taken against this music and its players on the other. In a broad regional study of the jazz scenes in Thuringia, which were constituted by communities and networks of jazz fans and jazz clubs, the perspectives of people who stubbornly wanted to listen to, perform and organize "their" music in a dictatorship are examined with an approach based on everyday history.

Lisa Schön

Individualized Music Intervention for People with Dementia - Case studies, Music analyses, Applications

The use of individualized music as a non-pharmacological intervention for people with dementia has proven to be positively effective due to the research project “Individualized Music for People with Dementia”, carried out at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. While more and more attention is being paid to individualized music for people with dementia in the field of psychology, it is largely unexplored in music analysis. Initial studies show the influence of the musical parameters tempo, harmony and structure of form. Larger-scale studies have not yet been carried out. This dissertation is divided in three steps. At first, detailed case studies, focussing on the listening biography of people with dementia as the cause of their reactions to music, will be examined. Secondly, musical parameters found to be effective are analyzed on the basis of a larger number of people with dementia. The results are summarized in form of a selection of particularly effective music titles. To evaluate the effectiveness of the analyzed musical parameters, this list will be played in a listening intervention. The evaluation and correlation of all results are of importance for practice-relevant topics such as a more targeted music selection and the consideration of the new living conditions with regard to the most effective musical parameters. This is especially pertinent for people with dementia, for whom little or no key information can be extracted from the audio biography.

Jin Zhang

Japanese Fusion Jazz. Musical Style and Cultural Context

Japanese music has developed under the influence of East Asian culture for a long time. However, in modern times, especially after World War II, as an imported music form, jazz has occupied a place in the music market in Japan and has a wide range of influence in a relatively short time. Nowadays, Japan is sitting on the most fertile ground for the development of jazz in Asia. More precisely, through nearly 100 years of uninterrupted exploration of jazz, Japanese jazz has formed the features of professionalism, marketization, and civilianization. Japan has established itself in the style of jazz, especially fusion jazz, which is usually called “J-Fusion”. This dissertation project will investigate Japanese fusion jazz music, focus on its composition, improvisation, and arrangement, assisted by computer analysis and visualizing to carry out the Japanese fusion jazz’s unique characteristics, analyze and sort out the influence and vicissitudes of fusion jazz on the history of Japanese music culture, and research and explore the impact of Japanese fusion jazz in other Asian countries.