What is a musicology and what are the professional opportunities?

musicology

musicology

Today is European Music Day, a celebration of everything that has to do with the importance of music in our lives. Opened in 1982, the idea is to create a space for musicians, musicologists and people who have been able to study music and share their work.

As a way to celebrate, in this post, we spoke with José Sánchez-Sanz, Director of the Master in Music Research   at the European University, to understand more about musicology and career opportunities in the sector after studying a career in musicology. 

WHAT IS MUSICOLOGY?

Musicology is, according to the dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Spanish language, the scientific study of the theory and history of music. As studies, it belongs to the branch of the humanities and has long been linked to the studies of Art History.

It is a study of music that focuses on aspects that are far from pure artistic production, which would be musical studies as such, and that work the part more referred to aspects that have to do with its analysis, its foundation and its historical and social repercussion. The origin of musicology is very modern, since the first studies and writings referring to it date from the end of the 19th century, which is when it was established in universities and academic centers as a complement to the artistic work of composers, composers and interpreters.

WHAT IS A MUSICOLOGIST AND WHAT DOES HE USUALLY STUDY?

There are many disciplines within musicology , as many as the possibilities for music. It can be studied from ancient musical writing, prior to our notation, to the repercussion and influence of current music in all its areas, contemporary, ethnic, urban, current, commercial, music for film, and any cultural phenomenon that music implies. .

The musicology careers that are currently being offered at universities, such as the Bachelor of Music  at the European University, are increasingly approaching the world of music of the moment by analyzing the contemporary musical phenomenon, but always without losing the reference of tradition. acquired over centuries of musical tradition.

WHAT CAREER OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE FOR A MUSICOLOGIST AFTER FINISHING HIS STUDIES?

The outputs of female musicologists and musicologists are largely in the academic world. They can work researching in the field of music that interests them to deepen and impart teaching, courses and workshops. On the other hand, the relationship with cultural centers is important. Both concert halls and opera houses, as well as any entity that is related to music, need the services of people who work in research for the development of content that complements all the activities they carry out. Whether it is the writing of programs or audition guides, as well as the organization of talks, courses and workshops, or audiovisual activities, a research profile of music capable of carrying out this type of work is needed.

We must also take into account how necessary communication is currently in the field of artistic expression, and it is the musicologists and musicologists who base this work in any space of these characteristics, as well as art historians and historians of the art with in museums and exhibition halls. Also within music criticism and journalism, knowledge in musicology is required to face an artistic world in constant change, and in which tradition is constantly combined with contemporaneity. Musicology has many things to say and what to communicate about what is happening in music.

WHAT DOES A MUSICOLOGIST DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?

A musicologist or a musicologist in their day to day research and expose the results of their research publicly so that interested people know their work. The influence that these and these have in the world of music is much more important than what people think at first glance. Since the discipline began to work at the end of the 19th century, it has been essential in the development of music and has always walked alongside creative work. She is an observer of what happens, being something more than a simple listening ear, it is a critical point, it is a basis for developing innovations, it is the necessary gaze to understand the world of music in its entirety.

FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO STUDY MUSICOLOGY – WHAT PROFILE SHOULD THEY HAVE?

The profile to study musicology is that of a person who is passionate about music. You may have musical studies, but you don’t have to be a great virtuoso. It has to be a person interested in delving into the musical phenomenon and with great communication skills. He is going to be the person who is going to lay the theoretical foundations for musical development after his time, that is very important and very necessary, both for the public and for the people who develop music in its practical part.

WHAT ARE THE KEY SKILLS TO BE A MUSICOLOGIST?

As I have commented in the previous question, the capacity for analysis and synthesis necessary for research are necessary to develop a great work of study and theorizing. On the other hand, communication skills are very important, because the research work does not remain only in the study, you have to know how to communicate what you have investigated so that other people can know it and be interested in it. As the object of study is music, it is very important that a musicologist or a musicologist have a great capacity for listening to music, and receiving, apart from being open or open to innovative aesthetic proposals.

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