Specialization Music Studies - Arts, Culture and Media - MA Arts and Culture
Specialization– Music Studies
In the Music Studies specialization within the Master's track in Arts, Culture and Media, we focus upon music as a broad and rich field of study, which encompasses many conceptions from contemporary praxis and to historically established aesthetic doctrine. We highlight those phenomena, which most impact the organization, experience, and creative potential of musicians, musical laborers, and music worlds in the twentieth and twenty first centuries. Because humans continue to shape musical expression and experience within cultural fields, this track aims to uncover how music remains relevant for understanding the broader relation between cultural, society and music. Throughout this course, we highlight relevant spheres of influence upon music worlds such as music and national identity, tourism, festivalization, and online music collaboration. These and other processes currently preoccupy musicians and the music industries in light of both a looming economic crisis and the vast re-arrangement of people whose versatile engagements with music are changing the conception of a public sphere.
In this one-year specialization, MA students learn about globalization theory, the current make-up of musical organizations, as well as the impact of broader processes such as digitalization, urbanization, and mobility upon expanding forms of creativity. We also consider changing paradigms within music scholarship such as the notion of musical autonomy in the classical music world, which is reconsidered in light of a turn towards socio-cultural analytical models. Finally, this track examines a variety of international case studies to better understand how musical actors cope with new challenges introduced by an era of increasing media concentration, the commercialization of the live music industry, and the growing individualization of music reception practices.
In this programme students follow three courses, two of which are music-based seminars. The third course is chosen from one of the other specializations (Arts Politics and Marketing, Film Studies, Arts Cognition and Education, or Theatre and Performing Arts). The music seminars are given by international scholars whose interests and specializations reflect the orientation of these three courses: (1) Music and Globalization, (2) Music, Mobility and Cities and (3) Classical Music in the Digital Age. As briefly introduced below, each course relates to current processes guiding contemporary music practices, aesthetic values, institutional structures, and forms of mediation. After their completion of the three courses, students write a thesis that in some way engages with relevant themes from these courses. They also enroll for an internship at a related arts or music organization. Finally, during their programme, students can participate in the music and concert series Music Matters as well as attend guest lectures by internationally reputed scholars.
(1) Music and Globalization
This course provides an overview of the relationship between globalization and music in several historical periods and within various musical domains. During the first half of the course students become acquainted with important theoretical models introduced by established globalization scholars, including perspectives from cultural studies, anthropology, ethnomusicology, and urban geography. Throughout the course, we survey literature addressing such topics as the expansion of a limited number of media companies throughout the world; the impact of new technologies upon global networks of media production, distribution, and consumption; and the changes resulting from globalization in various genres of mass mediated music. We also review various artistic and socio-cultural responses to globalization. For example, locality remains an important concept for musicians and arts institutions reacting to globalizing imperatives. Conversely, we also consider such concepts as ‘hybridization,’ ‘acculturation,’ and ‘syncretism’ as important transformative processes relating to globalization. As case studies, we investigate a variety of genres and phenomena from mainstream music video, world music, and Orientalism in pop music to the “Western” art music canon its internationalization during the second half of the twentieth century. Ultimately, students acquire an in-depth understanding of globalization theory from a variety of disciplines in order to incorporate various frameworks into their own research, which addresses some facet of contemporary music making.
(2) Music, Mobility and Cities
Music can be both the cause and the effect of movement. Music vibrates and travels. People move to make music and to experience it. Music accompanies our movements in daily life. Objects, too, move and are caused to move by music and sound. Musical professionals and amateurs travel for music. Bodies dance and vibrate. Recordings circulate in physical and virtual form. This course explores what it means to be musically mobile, and what role cities play in shaping these flows of musical movement. It considers how people experience music on the move, why some musical actors are more mobile than others, and the impact of the accelerating global flows of modernity. How does travel shape music-making and musical senses of place? How do systems of urban mobility enable or constrain musical agency? What about immobility and blocked movement, such as the racial and class segregation of cities? After some introductory sessions that introduce the fields of mobility studies and urban studies, this course will focus on several musical examples. Students will apply the knowledge gained through relevant readings to these case studies, in order to reflect on the interplay of mobility with urban musical life. This course will also equip students with the methods and theoretical tools for researching and interpreting these themes, as well as engaging critically with scholarly literature.
(3) Classical Music in the Digital Age
In current thinking the notion of music as an autonomous art form has increasingly been challenged in favor of an understanding of music that is socially grounded. The impact of this new approach may affect classical music in particular, because its status and its functioning have depended very much on the supposed validity of self-referential criteria of musical structure and on music-aesthetical doctrine. This course takes a look at efforts to revive and rejuvenate classical music, both from the present and the past, either by creating new formats for performance (live or recorded) which take recourse to other media, or by foregrounding the social and ethical functions through which the societal relevance of classical music is to be reclaimed. By drawing on a wide array of methodological perspectives and case studies and then comparing them to historical source material, students will be able to interpret and reflect on new approaches to revitalize classical music in a post-musical age.
Current Music Faculty
Andre Arènds (PhD Student)
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