Musicology: Doubts about its Subject(s) and its Pedagogical Function(s)

  • Nikša Gligo
Keywords: contemporary music, new musicology, sociology of music, contextual analysis


The author's experience with musicological research of contemporary music developed his critical attitude towards musicology in general, especially towards the one that considers music only as text and limits the approaches to musical works on philological methodology. Both Schering's Experimentelle Musikgeschichte (1913) and Kerman's requests for musicology as fusion of scholarly musicological work and sense for music as art (1985) attempt to get rid of this »philological burden«. A further problem, however, is the equality of all kinds of music, requested by the New musicology and the impossibility to develop appropriate analytical tools for each of them. Harrison's suggestion of ethnomusicological (i.e. sociological) approach is not sufficiently convincing, because – as proven by the quotation from Treitler – the contextual (i.e. social) meaning of any musical work is not so easily to decipher. The author pleads for consciously critical approach to musicological research which permits even contrary readings of the same text, and points out that this is the way in which he persuades his students to cope with the lacunae of their subjects of interest.


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How to Cite
GligoN. (2003). Musicology: Doubts about its Subject(s) and its Pedagogical Function(s). Musicological Annual, 39(1), 25-29.