Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Musikwissenschaft

Dr. Nikita Braguinski

Wissenschaftlicher Mitabeiter - Transkulturelle Musikwissenschaft



E-Mail: n.braguinski.uni[at]

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Music Department of Humboldt University of Berlin. 

In my current research project I look at the influence of historical forms of automatic or assisted composition on today’s use of Artificial Intelligence in music. 

I studied musicology at the University of Cologne and wrote my PhD at Humboldt University with Wolfgang Ernst. In my PhD thesis “Die Archäologie der elektronischen Spielzeugklänge” I investigated automatic and randomized composition in early video games. After completing my dissertation, I was a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and a postdoctoral fellow of the Music Department at Harvard University.

Languages: German, English, Russian

Video: Nikita Braguinski, "The History of Composing Automata". December, 2020.

Video: Nikita Braguinski, "Schillinger House: When Berklee Built a Bridge to the Russian Avant-Garde". Berklee College of Music, February 26, 2020.


(Date of last update: December 16, 2020)

My current research project

"Mass Culture and the Devices of the Avant-Garde. The Mathematisation of Popular Music"

Since antiquity, music has been linked to mathematics. Today, however, new developments in artificial intelligence are about to enable the mathematical and algorithmic industrialisation of popular music. 

Volkswagen Foundation, "Originalitätsverdacht? Neue Optionen für die Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften".


Research interests
  • history of automatic and assisted composition
  • music and technology
  • music and the early Russian avant-garde
  • Russian-American composer and theorist Joseph Schillinger (1895-1943)


Publications (selection)





  • Review: The Notebooks of Alexander Skryabin. Oxford University Press, 2018. Notes. The Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association. June, 2020. p. 590-592.
  • Twenty-nine authored entries and two essays in the database Sound & Science: Digital Histories, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. 2019.

  • Nikita Braguinski and ‘utz’, What is 1-Bit Music? Ludomusicology. Video Game Music Research Group Blog. December 12, 2018.

  • Vassilieva, Ekaterina and Braguinski, Nikita (Ed.):  Noev kovčeg russkogo kino. Ot 'Sten'ki Razina' do 'Stiljag' . Vinnytsia, Ukraine: Globus-Press, 2012. [Collection of essays on Russian cinema]
    Published on the Open Access server of the Freie Universität Berlin

  • Die Systeme der reinen Stimmung von August Eduard Grell und ihr geistesgeschichtlicher Kontext. Jahrbuch 2011 des Staatlichen Instituts für Musikforschung Preußischer Kulturbesitz. Mainz: Schott, 2011

  • My ORCID page:


Presentations (selection):

  • The History of Composing Automata. Sound Instruments and Sonic Cultures. December 18, 2020. Online.
  • Schillinger House. When Berklee Built a Bridge to the Russian Avant-Garde. Berklee College of Music. February 26, 2020. Boston, MA.
  • Bringing the Fun into Random Music. Joseph Schillinger's Musofun. Friday Lunch Talk, Department of Music, Harvard University. February 21, 2020. Cambridge, MA.
  • An Unlikely Connection: Joseph Schillinger Between Early Soviet Avant-Garde and Jazz. Jazz Journeys. April 11–14, 2019. Graz.
  • Unvorhersehbarkeit als technische und ästhetische Strategie in 'Waves 3 Ways'. 50 Jahre Computerdemos. Geschichte, Theorie, Programmierung. VCFB 2018. October 14, 2018. Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin.
  • Building the Automated Composer. Experimental Music Systems at Bellcore. Productive Sounds in Everyday Spaces: Sounds at Work in Science, Art, and Industry, 1945 to Present. April 27-28, 2018. MPIWG Berlin.
  • From Ideal Proportion to the Materiality of Musical Practice. After Idealism: Sound as Matter and Medium in the 19th Century. March 17-18, 2017. University of Cambridge.