Transcultural Music Studies

At the department "Transcultural Music Studies" (TMS) of the institute for Musicology Weimar-Jena the approaches to comparative Musicology / Ethnomusicology are expanded by enabling the students to gain insight into music-research in the context of current issues, in regards to cultural globalization, and study different forms of transfer-processes.

Globalization, the constitution of identity, and the accentuation of differences in interaction with culture, are highlighted – both visually, as well as audibly – through music. To be able to retrace and understand these processes, is one of the key concerns of the Transcultural Music Studies.

In the Transcultural Music Studies, objects of research are examined from multiple points of view, as well as contextually and locational. Thus, the objective is a musicological pluralism of perspectives and, furthermore, a fundamental interest into any kind of music practice, or music reception.

Music is examined primarily as a form of performance in its respective social and cultural context. As musical performance, meaning live performances in a broader sense, is the main object of interest, field research has established itself as the principle method of data acquisition (audio/video-recording, interviews, participatory observation). Accordingly, Transcultural Music Studies concentrates on music, in which the musically acting and musically thinking human being, apart from the produced sound, lies also in the center of epistemological focus.

In respect to musical analysis, this means that the enabling sources are manifold (sound storage media, alternative forms of notation, written reports, iconography, photographs, films, the internet etc.). In a certain sense, sources themselves can act as a part to find a way for the understanding of music and be processed in the analysis. Tested methods of neighboring sociological disciplines are consulted as well, whilst Transcultural Music Studies also maintains a critical perspective, manifest e. g. in gender-related music studies, so called World Music, as well as in the so called Global Music Studies.

In addition to lectures, held by visiting professors, cooperational projects and international study trips take place on a regular basis.

Some key aspects of the curriculum of Transcultural Music Studies are:

  • Ethnomusicology / field research
  • Transcription and intersemiotic translation of musical sound
  • Musicology and dance
  • Iconography, filmanalysis
  • Organology
  • Music and globalization
  • Music as intangible cultural heritage
  • Performance studies
  • Virtual music-archives
  • World Music
  • Culture theory