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Musikethnologie

 

Music constitutes an integral part of people's everyday life. It serves as a resource for the formation and display of individual and group identities, it engenders and mediates experiences, memories and aspirations, and plays a significant role in social interactions as well as conflicts. Studying music as culture and social process, rather than as isolated sound, lies at the heart of teaching and research in the Ethnomusicology department at the University of Cologne. In dialogue with international debates, ethnomusicology in Cologne encompasses a broad spectrum of theoretical, methodological and topical approaches, and takes into consideration the complexity and diversity of the lived experience of music in social and cultural contexts. While ethnographic approaches are central to both curriculum and research, methods from other disciplines such as Media Studies, Cultural Studies, History and Critical Theory are also incorporated into the program. The fields of study accordingly encompass popular musics and traditional musics from various regions of the world, and further include areas such as music and documentary film; auditory cultures, architecture and space; soundscapes; music and politics; phenomenological and experiential approaches to the study of music and sound. Audiovisual research methods are of special importance. In addition to offering AV courses regularly, the department also runs a lab, which features video and audio recording equipment and five workstations for editing. The lab also hosts the department's extensive archive of recordings. At the moment, the collection comprises approximately 10,000, around 8,000 hours of audio tape recordings, 400 music cassettes and 1,500 CDs. In addition, around 100 VHS tapes and DVDs are part of the collection. The "Collection Norbert Schilling", donated to the institute by record collector Norbert Schilling, holds a special place in the archive, and constitutes an important resource for education and research in the field of popular music.