Musicology What do musicologists do

Musicology degree

Studying musicology is not necessarily the same as studying music at a pop academy or focusing directly on practice, such as production. This is not to say that there aren't many career paths open to you as a future musicologist, but that you should be ready to read and analyze music.

You can look forward to a variety of categories in music research. A very well-known and classic division into sub-disciplines of musicology is the threefolding into Historical musicology, systematic musicology and the Ethnomusicology, the latter is also under the title Comparative musicology known.

A division of the study programs according to this threefolding would then be in the Historical musicology to deal with the history of music. As a rule, a geographic-cultural focus is set, as is usually the case at German universities in Europe. Your tools for this historical appraisal are, for example, notation studies, source research, performance practice and dealing with artist biographies.

You will familiarize yourself with the terminology of musicology and deepen your knowledge of syntax. The theory of sentences includes, for example, harmony, rhythm and counterpoint. Some of these tools are already at Proficiency tests required, for example when you have to write down a piece you have heard. But more on that below.

Under the Systematic musicology one generally understands an interdisciplinary research approach: The physiological component of music as well as psychological, sociological, educational, philosophical and many other questions can be taken up. The aim is to try to examine the medium and its scope from all directions.

The Ethnomusicology works comparatively, but not judgingly. Historical and systematic aspects can also be taken into account here when it comes to what music means in which cultural area, how and on what occasions it is received, what status and social significance it has. Migration, religion and political-musical subcultures are also influences that you might dedicate yourself to.

This brief outline of the three usual sub-areas is primarily intended only to make it clear to you how broad the research approaches in musicology are. Each university creates its own structure and its own individual curricula; The interdisciplinary nature of the arts and humanities subjects can, for example, relate to the entire course of study.

Also, units are like Popular music or Sound studies not uncommon. The focus depends on the university and of course the lecturer, for example there may be a separate professorship for sound studies.

If you would like to find out more in advance: Many universities put the course catalogs from previous semesters on their homepages. You will also often find module manuals there, i.e. the time and content planning for the entire degree program.

As you must now realize, a pure musicology degree is primarily a scientific examination of the subject of music. Nonetheless, musicology is a degree that, to a certain extent, also relies on your practical skills. While humanities subjects, for example, often “only” rely on NC and waiting times for the allocation of their study places, a certain talent or previous experience is necessary or desirable for musicology, depending on the university. But let's start from the beginning.

Formal requirements

At universities:

The most basic requirement to study musicology at a state university is first of all General University Entrance Qualification, i.e. your high school diploma or a comparable qualification that gives you the same privileges. State universities that offer musicology as one of many subjects from all possible areas sometimes recommend that you have a musical background rather than checking it. But it can also happen here that you have to take an aptitude test here, which you can find out on the website of the university. Examples of this are the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, the LMU Munich and the University of Leipzig.

The fact that you have practical skills makes perfect sense: Even if you don't want to make music practically in your future profession, it is important not only to read notes, but to be able to hear them practically at the same time. This will also make your studies easier for you, for example when reading scores.

When it comes to the NC as a criterion for studying musicology, you shouldn't worry too much: in many cases, all applicants were admitted in the 2019/20 winter semester, for example at the University of Cologne, the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and the Rheinische Friedrich- Wilhelms University of Bonn.

At music universities:

question: The theoretical examination of music at a university that focuses on practice? At first glance, that seems paradoxical.

Because music colleges are among the universities that are dedicated to the arts, which means that it is (even) more about talent and creativity than at non-specialized universities. There are also colleges for music and theater, or music and performing arts, and music and dance. The orientation of the lesson plans and possibly the study atmosphere are accordingly somewhat different than at general universities, practice and creativity are more present and the size of the courses is often more manageable.

Here there are Degree programs for individual instruments, singing, composition and more. Music colleges therefore usually rely on proficiency tests in order to be able to make a pre-selection. In return, the NC usually (also here) neglected. After all, your grade in chemistry may have ruined your NC, but if, for example, you have perfect pitch and can sing like an angel, it's only fair to be generously ignored.

But why should you take a practical exam for a course that we have just described in detail as primarily theoretical?

Answer: Some music colleges offer a bachelor's degree in musicology as a subject that you can combine with an instrument, for example. Or you go to college Music for teaching, the theoretical discussion of the matter is also very important here. Sometimes you meet here Combination offers, in which you study a subject at a "normal" university and music (science) at a music college. Then you usually have to apply to both.

There are also courses of study such as composition / musicology, music education as well as composition education / listening education, here too there are collaborations between universities. With such inter-university offers, it is best to pay particular attention to the admission requirements and the sequence of enrollment modalities!

Music theory is always an aspect of the course, even if you are studying music at a music college; even if you are not only or not explicitly studying musicology there. Well, your first thought might not have been to apply for a pure musicology degree at a music college. But know that it works - there are many possibilities and fields in the music sector! In addition, in some cases you can go to music colleges study without a high school diploma, for example when you take a particularly impressive aptitude test. You can find information about these possible special regulations on the websites of the universities.

In general, the following applies everywhere: Good English knowledge are in most cases a requirement or recommendation for studying musicology, regardless of the type of university. You can usually prove this with your Abitur certificate or with certificates of the requested language levels. In addition, knowledge of a second European foreign language is often desirable.

Of course, you will at least be a little nervous before such an exam. Perhaps it will help you to know the exact details in advance To inform about the modalities on the websites of the universities, you should do that carefully anyway. Perhaps you can ask the student councils at the university how their exams went.

In most cases you can expect the exam to be split up. If you (also) apply for a course on your instrument or singing at a university, you will prepare a certain number of pieces sometimes you are recommended levels of difficulty or certain composers are given. Then there is another part for Music theory and / or ear training and finally often a conversation, in which you can show your motivation and shine with your personality.

Tip: If you are very worried about your aptitude test or want to improve a little, there are offers from music schools to prepare for it.

However you prepare, don't forget the following: inhale and exhale. And just because it might not work right away at the first university doesn't mean you have no talent!

personal requirements

We should have emphasized it often enough by now: It is a great advantage if you like to deal analytically with texts and theories. If you do not run out of breath and you still do not lose your passion in practice, you already have a very good foundation for academic success.

Of course, he always helps you in university life Enjoy working with your fellow studentsThat is often not difficult for people making music, because making music together ultimately means, among other things, finding your way around a complex structure and taking others into account.

You can study musicology both as a bachelor's degree and, based on it, as a master's degree. The Master usually deepens and specializes the knowledge you have already acquired. The standard period of study in the Bachelor is usually six to eight semestersthat in the master three to four semesters.

Forms and degrees of study

Depending on the university, you can study musicology in Single and / or two-subject bachelor's degree to study. This applies not only to the cross-university combined offers that we have already mentioned, but also to combinations within a university from its range of courses.

So if the musicological institute belongs to the Philosophical Faculty, you can choose a second subject from the range of courses offered by this faculty. The offers of other faculties may also be open to you. With a two-subject bachelor's degree, you must of course pay attention to the requirements of your other subject. The universities usually have detailed information on possible combinations of subjects on their websites.

The advanced master are mostly offered with one subject. Occasionally, you will also get your degree diploma bump.

If you Studying music to become a teacher, you conclude this course of studies at some universities with the State examination from, at other universities the graduation into Bachelor and Master has been introduced.

A promotion in musicology is also possible, both at universities and music colleges.

The good news: