Musical Ethnology

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The subject area Musical Ethnology was founded in 1988 on the initiative of the music educator Josef Sulz at the University Mozarteum, Innsbruck location. Since 2000 it has been part of the Department of Musicology and has been directed by Thomas Nußbaumer since 2001. The Department is the first and only university research institution in Western Austria and the EU region Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino that is primarily concerned with ethnomusicology / folk music research.

Subject Area of Musical Ethnology
+43 676 88122 345

Department of Musicology
(Location Innsbruck)  

The main focus is on the study of traditional music and everyday musical culture in Western Austria, especially in Tyrol and South Tyrol, and on participation in ethnomusicological research activities in the Alpine countries (also by organizing symposia). Research projects are also carried out abroad (e.g. in Iowa, USA, on the music of the Old Order Amish).

The subject area maintains intensive contacts with numerous musicological, ethnomusicological and folkloristic institutions in Germany and abroad within the framework of joint projects. It has an extensive audiovisual archive with ethnomusicological field recordings mainly from the Alpine region. They reflect the research focus of the department since 1988.

  • Processing of the Tyrolean and Vorarlberg holdings of the Sonnleithner Collection (1819) (since 2016)
  • Field research on the music of the Old Order Amish of Kalona, Iowa (field trips 2005, 2009, 2012, 2015, 2019)
  • Field research on the role of music in the Amana Colonies, Iowa (field trips 2005, 2009, 2012, 2015)
  • Field research Dreiländereck (A/CH/I) with recordings on musical folk culture in the regions of Oberes Gericht, Obervinschgau and Unterengadin (since 2008)
  • Music of minorities in Tyrol (2004, 2005)
  • Field research on the topic of "Music and customs Tyrol/South Tyrol" with a focus on "Anklöpfeln/Klöckeln" (field research among the Tyrolean Unterland, in the Sarntal, Grödental, Pfunderertal) and "music and carnival" (research work in Telfs, Nuremberg, and other places).(since 2000)
  • Documentation of the folk music situation in Tyrol as part of the project "Folk Music in Conversation" (1998-2001)
  • Basic research on the evaluation of the South Tyrolean collection of Alfred Quellmalz (approx. 3.000 magnetophone recordings of surviving South Tyrolean folk music from 1940-1942), also as a contribution to the problem of "folk music in National Socialism" (1995-2001)
  • Field research with singers and musicians in the Zillertal, Brixental, Ötztal, Passeiertal, Schnalstal (Tyrol/South Tyrol), Lammertal and Gasteinertal (Salzburg) as well as selectively in numerous Tyrolean and South Tyrolean villages (since 1990)

The subject area organizes international symposia on folk music research in the Alpine countries. Previous topics were:

  • 1988: Folk Music and Economy
  • 1990: Improvisation in Folk Music of the Alpine Countries
  • 1992: Authentic Folk Singing in the Alps
  • 1994: Dance Music in the Alpine Region
  • 1996: Music in the Customs of the Alpine Countries
  • 1998: Religious Folk Music in the Alps
  • 2000: Music Education and Folk Music Research. Chances of a Cooperation
  • 2002: Inspiration Folk Music. Alpine sound worlds and composition
  • 2004: Musica Alpina? On the Interculturality of Folk Music in the Alps
  • 2008: Historical Sources of Folk Music in the Alps - and the Present
  • 2010: Polarities? "Folk Music" in the Alps between Functionality, Maintenance and Competition
  • 2012: Innovations. The New in Folk Music in the Alps
  • 2013: On the (Alpine?) Early History of the Waltz
  • 2014: Volksmusik & Wettbewerb / Folk Music & Competition
  • 2016: Yodeling. On the history and practice of singing in alternating registers 2018: Polyphony Alpine Space
  • 2021: Bells in the Alpine Space - between signal and sound art In cooperation partnership the following symposia were co-organized:
  • 2003: Cesar Bresgen. Komponist und Musikpädagoge im Spannungsfeld des 20. Jahrhunderts (with the Institute for Musicology and Interdisciplinary Studies of the Mozarteum University Salzburg and others)
  • 2014: Europäische Mehrstimmigkeiten - Polyphonies européennes (with the France-focus of the University of Innsbruck)
  • 2015: Polemische Arien. Zykan, Pirchner und Wisser als Akteure in Kontroversen (with a focus on science & art, Mozarteum & University of Salzburg)
  • 2021: Zwischen den Saiten - Die Einfachpedalharfe zurzeit Joseph Haydns und die (Tiroler) Volksharfe
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