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What is Musicology?

13 April 2019

Musicology, can simply be defined as the science of music. Music theory, aesthetics and bibliography are parts of this quite old discipline.

The term musicology is stated to be used in Jahrbuch für Musikalische Wissenschaft, a music journal from 1863, for the first time. Being implemented in curriculum of especially in music schools, musicology gained popularity worldwide during the 20th century.

According to New Grove for Dictionary Music and Musician, a musical encyclopedia, musicology has two different meanings. Some see musicology as a part of music itself, while others state that even though its goal is to explain music, by means of physicality, psychology, aesthetics and culture, it is a completely separate field.

Ever since Pythagoras, music is studied from a scientific, and especially mathematical, point of view and it is more than simply 'fun' or 'random noises'. Musicology inspects the different aspects of music such as physics, chemistry, sociology, physiology and psychology.

Research related to musicology is generally grouped under two main categories: Systematic and Historical. In both types of studies, mostly European classical music is studied. There's another discipline interested in music, but solely focusing on non-European music and it is called ethnomusicology - which we will discuss in further posts.

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