What is Musicology?

Question: What is Musicology?

Answer: Musicology is the academic and scientific study of music. It covers the study of all types of music from all over the world; from art music to folk songs, from European music to non-Western music. Aside from the study of music per se, musicology also includes:

  • the study of various musical forms and the evolvement of music notation
  • the study of different musical instruments
  • the study of the elements of music and music theory
  • the study of composers, musicians and performers
  • the study of how music is perceived and how it influences or affects a listener

    During the Medieval period, two inventions were made that would greatly help choirs to sing in harmony and to sight-sing. These inventions were created by a monk and choirmaster named Guido de Arezzo. His innovations signaled a change on how music should be taught and prompted other theorists to create other ways of teaching theory and notation.

    During the Renaissance, interest on the different aspects of music grew and several works on this subject were published. This includes Musica getutscht ("Music Translated into German”) by Sebastian Virdung.

    During the 18th century, more books about music history were published, particularly European music history. Some of the published works during this period include "On Song and Sacred Music" ( De cantu et musica sacra) by Martin Gerbert and "History of Music" (Storia della musica) by G.B. Martini.

    By the 19th century, interest on the music of the past grew through the works of great composers such as Felix Mendelssohn.

    Today, colleges and universities offer courses or degrees in musicology helping students to further appreciate music by studying the life and works of past composers.

    Well-known Musicologists
  • Anton Webern
  • Curt Sachs and Erich Moritz von Hornbostel

    Music Schools in the USA Offering Musicology Courses/Degress
  • Peabody Institute
  • Eastman School of Music
  • Jacobs School of Music