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date: 17 May 2021

Musicology (Fr. musicologie; Ger. Musikwissenschaft, Musikforschung; It. musicologia)locked

  • Vincent Duckles,
  • Jann Pasler,
  • Glenn Stanley,
  • Thomas Christensen,
  • Barbara H. Haggh,
  • Robert Balchin,
  • Laurence Libin,
  • Tilman Seebass,
  • Janet K. Page,
  • Lydia Goehr,
  • Bojan Bujic,
  • Eric F. Clarke,
  • Susan McClary,
  • Jean Gribenski,
  • Carolyn Gianturco,
  • Pamela M. Potter,
  • David Fallows,
  • Miloš Velimirović,
  • Katy Romanou,
  • Gary Tomlinson,
  • Gerard Béhague,
  • Masakata Kanazawa
  •  and Peter Platt


(Fr. musicologieGer. MusikwissenschaftMusikforschungIt. musicologia)

Vincent Duckles and Jann Pasler

The term ‘musicology’ has been defined in many different ways. As a method, it is a form of scholarship characterized by the procedures of research. A simple definition in these terms would be ‘the scholarly study of music’. Traditionally, musicology has borrowed from ‘art history for its historiographic paradigms and literary studies for its paleographic and philological principles’ (Treitler, 1995). A committee of the American Musicological Society (AMS) in 1955 also defined musicology as ‘a field of knowledge having as its object the investigation of the art of music as a physical, psychological, aesthetic, and cultural phenomenon’ (JAMS, viii, p.153). The last of these four attributes gives the definition considerable breadth, although music, and music as an ‘art’, remains at the centre of the investigation.

A third view, which neither of these definitions fully implies, is based on the belief that the advanced study of music should be centred not just on music but also on musicians acting within a social and cultural environment. This shift from music as a product (which tends to imply fixity) to music as a process involving composer, performer, and consumer (i.e. listeners) has involved new methods, some of them borrowed from the social sciences, particularly anthropology, ethnology, linguistics, sociology, and more recently politics, gender studies, and cultural theory. This type of inquiry is also associated with ethnomusicology. Harrison (...

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