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Georg August University Göttingen
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Georg August University Göttingen
Master of Arts in Cultural Musicology

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

The M.A. is offered by the department of musicology, faculty of the humanities at the Georg August University. The M.A. courses are taught in English and German language.The M.A. can be studied as a single subject, but also in combination with other M.A. courses offered by the faculty of the humanities and/or the faculty of social sciences (e.g. Cultural Anthropology). After finishing the M.A. in Cultural Musicology, students can opt for a PhD in the broad field of musicology at the University of Göttingen, specializing in either historical, social or cultural musicology.

Program Focus

The master's degree in Cultural Musicology offers you a unique opportunity: to deal in depth with cultural issues relating to the musics of the world. The faculty integrates methods and techniques that are taken to be characteristic for each of the three 'classical' sub-disciplines of musicology (Historical Musicology, Systematic Musicology, Ethnomusicology), and aims for a joint exploration of opportunities within these three areas. This, we believe, results in music research that can do better justice to its object: musics of the world, with no preference for a particular music. In the course of the Cultural Musicology program, students learn to integrate current musicological research with theories and methods from Cultural Studies. The program includes introductory courses on cultural analysis, as well as advanced seminars in which musical practices are critically examined in their historical, social and spatial cultural contexts. The analysis of music with different techniques, including computer-based methods, plays a central role. Depending on the study profile, students may deepen their knowledge and improve their skills in an independently conducted research project that precedes the thesis. Finally, the Cultural Musicology program also provides for an internship, which helps students prepare themselves for various professional fields.

Special Resources

The university offers a broad range of opportunities for practical music making, such as playing in an mbira ensemble, singing in a choir or performing in a symphony orchestra. The department of musicology hosts a music analysis studio, designed for computer based music analysis. In addition, the department hosts one of the largest collections of musical instruments in Europe, which is used for teaching and research. The cultural musicology department organizes international workshops, reading groups and conferences on a regular basis, in addition to the annual "Thinking Through Music With …” day, a day that is dedicated to discussing the work of one particular thinker in the broad field of cultural musicology. The purpose of this day is to critically engage with a selection of the invited thinker's body of work – directly or indirectly – related to music. The Department has an Erasmus partnership with Universities in Amsterdam, Tallinn, Turku, Thessaloniki, Arta and Lisbon, which allows for an exchange of both students and teachers from these partner universities. The department also has a cooperation with the Hochschule für Musik and Theater Hannover.

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Prof. Dr. Birgit Abels

Degree: University of Göttingen, 2011 (PhD Bochum 2007),

Affiliation: Department of Cultural Musicology and Ethnomusicology.

Research interests: cultural theory, spatiality, musical meaning, postcolonial theory. Geographic focus: the Pacific Ocean (particularly Micronesia), North India, and the Southeast Asian island world.

Dr. Klaus-Peter Brenner

Degree: University of Göttingen 1991.

Affiliation: Department of Cultural Musicology and Ethnomusicology.

Research interests: ethnomusicology with a focus on the musical cultures of Africa and Asia, cognitive and evolutionary aspects of non-European musical styles: tone systems, modal systems, metrorhythmical systems, polyphony, improvisation, Interdisciplinary research approaches, connecting ethnomusicology to ethnomathematics, linguistics, and ethno-organology, general organology and the history of its theories and methods.

Eva-Maria van Straaten, M.A.

            Degree: University of Amsterdam 2011.

Affiliation: Department of Cultural Musicology and Ethnomusicology.

Research interests: popular musics of the world, Electronic Dance Music, Hindustani classical music, spatiality, postcolonial theory, cultural theory.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Waczkat

            Degree: University of Göttingen (PhD University of Rostock 1997)

Affiliation: Department of Historical Musicology.

Research interests: music and cultural history of the 16th – 18th centuries, music theory and history of composition, historical musicology and new media, Musica Baltica, music and musicology in posttotalitarian contexts.

Affiliated Faculty

Gerlinde Feller, M.A.

            Degree: Freie Universität Berlin 2009.

Affiliation: Department of Cultural Musicology and Ethnomusicology.

Research interests: music and gender, music and the body, bollywood, movement and music, music of Southeast Asia.

Charissa Granger, M.A.

            Degree: University of Amsterdam 2012.

Affiliation: Department of Cultural Musicology and Ethnomusicology.

Research interests: music and the formation of socio-/cultural identity. I am occupied with how music plays a role in the development of disenfranchised communities and in turn how this music is formed within said society.

Friedlind Riedel, M.A.

            Degree: Georg August University Göttingen 2013.

Affiliation: Department of Cultural Musicology and Ethnomusicology.

Research interests: music in Southeast Asia esp. Yunnan and Burma, music in discourses of ethnicity in the Peoples Republic of China, methods and methodologies of postcolonial fieldwork, music as localization.

General Program Statement

In the M.A. program, you will learn how to deal with both the cultural analysis of music and the musical analysis of culture. You will critically inquire into processes of cultural transference and musical and cultural dynamics; in this, the in-depth study of specific musical genres, regions or transnational flows as well as musical analysis stand central. Particular emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary approaches, which will help you acquire skills in the application of methods relevant to cultural studies; these complement your training in reflecting critically on musics and how, in various historical and cultural contexts, they have played a role in cultural dynamics. An integrated internship will allow you to gain experience in the practical application of your academic training and to significantly improve your employability prior to graduation. 
Your Master's thesis may be prepared in connection with an individual field research project, which will allow you to gain hands-on research experience further sharpening your academic profile.

Curriculum M.A. Cultural Musicology

M.Mus.31: Music and Cultural Analysis

M.Mus.32: Musical Flows, Genres and Regions

M.Mus.33: Field research: theories and methods

M.Mus.51: Musico-logica I: Theories of Music

M.Mus.52: Music and Cultural History

M.Mus.61: Internship

M.Mus.53: Musico-logica II: Analysis

M.Mus.54: Music, Ritual and Religion   

M.Mus.62: (Field-) research project

M.Mus.63: Colloquium I: Current Research

M.Mus.64: Colloquium II: Own research projects

M.A. thesis

Financial Support

For questions regarding financial support for international students, please contact the student service centre: http://www.uni-goettingen.de/en/83141.html.

Further Information

Eva-Maria van Straaten
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Department of Musicology

Kurze Geismarstraße 1

D-37073 Göttingen



Tel. +49-(0)551/39-4930

Program Website


Ethnomusicology Student Group

Helge Korengel: Fachgruppe.Musikwissenschaft@uni-goettingen.de


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