Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Musikwissenschaft

Gastvorlesungsreihe im Sommersemester 2022

Collegium Musicologicum, Am Kupfergraben 5, 10117 Berlin, Raum 501, Beginn der Vorträge: 18 Uhr s.t.
  • Donnerstag, 12. Mai 2022, 18 Uhr (Hybrid-Veranstaltung)


Angela Bellia
(National Research Council (CNR), Rom)
Musical Performances in Antiquity: Themes, Approaches, and Perspectives

Although over the last decade various scholarly disciplines have devoted increasing attention to ancient music, they have done so by focusing mainly on textual sources. However, in reconstructing features of ancient music performances, the evidence offered by material culture within its archaeological context should play a critical role.

Considering music performances in the ancient Mediterranean world, and especially in Magna Graecia and in Greek Sicily, material evidence will be analysed in order to investigate the contribution of this evidence to a deeper understanding of the cultural and social meanings and functions of music performances within activities of ritual and of everyday life in the past. It will be discussed how sonic events reinforced local individualities, and they also acted as a dynamic aspect for exchange and interaction among different communities, analysing how music performances provided an opportunity for social visibility and political organization. Exploring representations in various media and according to context, this perspective opens the door to anthropological and sociocultural readings that enrich our understanding of musical performances in antiquity, fed by methodologies of archaeology of performance. Moreover, reconstructing the many different ways and contexts in which musical performances were experienced, we will give particular attention to musical instruments and sound objects from documented archaeological contexts.

Finally, an overview of how virtual reconstructions can improve our knowledge on ancient musical instruments and sonic heritage will be provided.

Angela Bellia is Senior Researcher at the Institute of Heritage Science, National Research Council of Italy. Her work involves the fields of archaeomusicology, archaeology of music and dance performances, soundscape archaeology, sonic heritage, and digital heritage. She received her MA and PhD from University of Bologna, and she has a solid musical background as a classical pianist and opera singer. After her research in mobility at the Institut für Archäologie in Zürich, at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, she carried out her research at the Institute of Fine Arts at the New York University, devoting her attentions towards the reconstruction of the performative dimension of an ancient Greek polis in the West. Thanks to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Programme - Individual Fellowships, she carried out her research devoting her attentions towards archaeology of sound and archaeoacoustics as new approaches to the study of intangible cultural heritage. She has been the Chair of the Italy Chapter and of the Events & Network Working Group of the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA). Recently, she received the “MCAA Outstanding Contributor Award”. At present, she is the Chair of the Archaeomusicology and Dance Interest Group of the Archaeological Institute of America. Apart from a number of volumes, articles and contributions in journals and edited volumes, she is editor in chief of TELESTES: An International Journal of Archaeomusicology and Archaeology of Sound.
To see her work:


  • Donnerstag, 02. Juni 2022, 18 Uhr (Präsenz-Veranstaltung)

Álvaro Torrente (Universidad Complutense, Madrid)
Mapping Emotions in Eighteenth-Century Italian Opera

The belief that 'the end of music is to move human affections’ (Descartes, Compendium musicae) has been a central issue in European musical thought since Plato. Opera was invented to recover the power of Ancient music to move the human heart, and its history is a permanent exploration of the capacity of action, words and music to convey emotions.
In the eighteenth century a new type of opera consolidated with the chief concern of expressing the character's emotions as they changed throughout the drama, inspired by Descartes' theory of human passions. The key expressive medium was the aria col da capo, where a single, distinct passion was represented, like a concentrated pill of emotional meaning. The ideal corpus to study this issue are the 1,000 operas set to music by 300 composers on the 26 dramas by Pietro Metastasio (1698-1782). It contains a comprehensive catalogue of emotions in music, a unique window of opportunity to scrutinize conventions that defined music expression and meaning for over a century.

This lecture will present preliminary results of the Didone Project, an innovative approach to unveil these conventions through the creation of a corpus of 3,000 digitized arias from 200 opera scores based on Metastasio’s five most popular dramas, to be analysed using traditional methods and big data computer technology. The comparative scrutiny of dozens of different musical settings of the same librettos will reveal how composers correlate specific dramatic circumstances and emotions with distinct poetic and musical features.


  • Donnerstag, 09. Juni 2022, 18 Uhr (Hybrid-Veranstaltung)


J. Griffith Rollefson
(University College Cork, National University of Ireland)
"The Big Pill": Black Musical Metaphysics and Enlightenment Binaries

In my current book project, The Big Pill, I demonstrate how Black music is, in both idea and practice, a countermetaphysics of the West. Building on Paul Gilroy's thesis that the Black Atlantic is a "counterculture of modernity" and Dr. Funkenstein's formulation, "They say the bigger the headache, the bigger the pill, baby / Well, call me the big pill," this book considers Black music as an alternative, restorative, and corrective to Eurocentric regimes of rationalism, empiricism, logocentrism, teleology, and their standard-bearer, white supremacy. The book makes a focused argument about the binary collapsing metaphysics of Black music by bringing together wide-ranging frames including ethno/musicology, cultural studies, political economy, disability studies, neuroscience, and astrophysics. In so doing, it renders a historically and globally diverse continuity of a wealth of Afrodiasporic musical production.

The book illustrates how Black music works through and against 300 years of Enlightenment binaries from mind/body and civilized/uncivilized to form/content and langue/parole, thus prophesying new developments in the physical sciences that are calling into question our reliance on the binaries of past/future, particle/wave, and space/time. In so doing, The Big Pill takes seriously the affective, embodied, and seemingly irrational claims of Afrofuturist artists ranging from Sun Ra and Ishmael Reed to P-Funk and Janelle Monáe, suggesting that Black music offers its communities a glimpse of the first principles of things that lay shrouded behind a violent and oppressive Western metaphysics that misunderstands and obfuscates despite its ostensible projects of empiricism and transparency. After an overview of the book—which examines the phenomenological "ratio-nality" of swing rhythms in relation to the three-fifths compromise; articulates vodun balanse to Monáe's Afrofuturist entreaty to "tip on the tightrope"; maps the instrumentalization of Black music on Bad Brains's "Soul Craft"; and digs into the "metaphysical etymology" of hip hop's Nation of Islam-inflected "words as weapons" ideology—I focus in on the development of hip hop's "illness" discourses, concluding that spacetime is indeed "illmatic."

J. Griffith Rollefson is Professor of Music at University College Cork, National University of Ireland and has served on the faculties of music at the University of Cambridge and at the University of California, Berkeley—where he also served as UC Chancellor’s Public Scholar. Rollefson is Principle Investigator of the ERC research initiative CIPHER: Hip Hop Interpellation, which is developing new digital/ethnographic methods to map hip hop knowledge flows on six continents (2019-2024). He is founding co-editor (with University of Cape Town’s Adam Haupt) of the journal Global Hip Hop Studies. His first book, Flip the Script: European Hip Hop and the Politics of Postcoloniality (University of Chicago Press, 2017), won the Society for Ethnomusicology’s 2019 Ruth Stone Book Award and his new book, Critical Excess: Watch the Throne and the New Gilded Age, about Jay-Z, Kanye, Trump and the end of capitalism was published by University of Michigan Press in 2021. For more information on Griff’s work, please visit and to get involved in CIPHER, check out and follow @GlobalCipher.



  • Donnerstag, 23. Juni 2022, 18 Uhr (Präsenz-Veranstaltung)

Thomas Christensen (University of Chicago)
Scales, Skulls and Sanskrit:  Fétis and the origins of Tonality

The question of music's origins became a heated topic of controversy in the mid-19th century among French scholars. In my paper, which is drawn - and expanded - from my recent book, I look at the writings of one of the most influential writers on this question: the Belgian music theorist and historian, Francois-Joseph Fétis (1783-1871). Fétis was inspired by evidence stemming from various Colonial encounters of alteric tonal systems (more specifically, scale systems) from the Levant and far East that differed markedly from those in the West. He became convinced that the evolution of musical tonality in the West must have mirrored the stemmata of Indo-European languages that comparative linguists of his day were creating in which most Western language families could be traced back to an aboriginal version of Sanskrit spoken in the North Indian subcontinent many millennia ago. But Fétis fell under the sway of racial theories that were also circulating widely at the time, particularly those of Joseph Arthur, Comte de Gobineau (1816 – 1882) and a circle of phrenologists who were active in France and Belgium. Fétis eventually concluded that musical capacities were limited within certain races, and as a consequence, the complexity and artistic value of their respective tonalities were likewise limited. Fétis's work offers a fascinating and cautionary case study of how fashionable ideas in cognate sciences can be misappropriated by music theorists seeking to endow their own writings with the aura of scientific prestige.

Thomas Christensen is the Avalon Foundation Professor of Music and the Humanities at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1999. A scholar of historical music theory and its intellectual and social contexts, he has published a number of books, including a major study of the music theory of Jean-Philippe Rameau in 1993 and a collection of essays (The Work of Music Theory, 2014). He was the editor of the Cambridge History of Western Music Theory which appeared in 2002, and most recently a monograph entitled Stories of Tonality: Fétis and the Tonal Imagination in the French Nineteenth Century published by the University of Chicago Press (2019). Professor Christensen has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards; a frequent visitor to Berlin, he was a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin (2002) and the Wissenschaftskolleg (2011), and most recently the recipient of both an ACLS and a Guggenheim senior scholar Fellowships. He earned his PhD from Yale University in 1985 studying under David Lewin and Claude Palisca.


  • Donnerstag, 30. Juni 2022, 18 Uhr (Präsenz-Veranstaltung in Raum 401)

Stephanie Schroedter (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Wien)
Musik, Körper und Bewegung – Konturen eines klanglich bewegten „Body Turn"

Musik (aus einer Forschungsperspektive) mit Bewegung in Beziehung zu setzen, wenn nicht sogar direkt als ein Bewegungsphänomen zu betrachten, stellt eine wissenschaftstheoretische bzw. methodische Herausforderung dar, die das Verhältnis von Musik und Körper neu auslotet. Sie erscheint umso ertragreicher, als sie einem Körperdiskurs ("Body Turn"), der auch spezifisch musikalische bzw. klangliche Phänomene berücksichtigt, neue Akzente zu verleihen verspricht.
Von phänomenologischen, somit explizit Leib-orientierten Ansätzen bzw. Embodiment-Theorien ausgehend kreisen die entsprechenden Diskussionen in jüngerer Zeit zunehmend um Fragen unserer Wahrnehmung – von uns selbst und von unserer Umwelt bzw. deren Wechselbeziehung (Enaktivismus). Hiervon ausgehend werden Verstehensprozessen im Sinne von Konzeptualisierungen unserer Wahrnehmung untersucht (Kognition). Doch selbst wenn in diesem Zusammenhang immer wieder (direkt oder indirekt) auf Bewegungsphänomene hingewiesen wird (z.B. durch mimetische, auch imaginär mimetische Verfahren), bleibt in den musiktheoretisch akzentuierten Argumentationen das kognitive Potenzial sensomotorischer Aktivitäten – auch in künstlerisch-kreativen Kontexten – zumeist unterschätzt.
Wertvolle methodische Ansatzpunkte hierzu bietet der sogenannte "(Ethno-)Choreomusical Research" angloamerikanischer Prägung, der ein bewegungsanalytisches Instrumentarium mit musikalischen Parametern engführt. Vor diesem Hintergrund soll Tanz als eine künstlerische wie sozio-/kulturelle Praxis aufgeschlüsselt werden. Da jedoch in diesem Zusammenhang zumeist bestimmte Formen, Genre oder Stile anvisiert werden, drängt sich die Frage nach übergreifenden Kriterien auf, die (im Sinne des Enaktivismus) auch auf unsere alltägliche Wahrnehmung rekurriert, um kognitive Prozesse – in ihren kulturellen Rahmungen bzw. in ihrer zeit-/räumlichen Gebundenheit – zu untersuchen. An diesem Punkt lohnt sich der Einbezug analytischer Überlegungen aus jenen Performance Studies, die vor allem Musik-bezogene ästhetische Erfahrungen in ihrem Facettenreichtum (dies- und jenseits der Bühne) zu differenzieren suchen. Sie konzentrieren sich somit weniger darauf, "wie" sich Musik und Bewegung zueinander verhalten, sondern welche Handlungsangebote (Affordanzen) sich aus bestimmten (klangperformativen) Situationen bzw. Konstellationen (auch für die Zuhörer_innen) ergeben können und welcher Aufforderungscharakter bzw. welches Handlungspotenzial ("Agency") damit verbunden sein kann.
In meinem Vortrag sollen diese theoretischen bzw. methodischen Zugänge zunächst skizziert werden, um sie anschließend an künstlerischen Produktionen, die Zusammenspiele von Musik und Bewegung experimentell befragen, zu veranschaulichen.

Stephanie Schroedter arbeitet seit ihrer musik-/tanzwissenschaftlichen Promotion in Salzburg (2001, Auszeichnung mit dem Tanzwissenschaftspreis Nordrhein-Westfalen) an der Schnittstelle von Musik, Tanz und Theater. Neben der Konzeption und Mitwirkung an FWF-, DFG- und SNF-geförderten Forschungsprojekten vertrat sie Professuren für Musik-, Tanz-, Theater- und Medienwissenschaft (Bern, Bayreuth, Berlin, Heidelberg etc.). 2015 habilitierte sie sich mit der Monografie Paris qui dance. Bewegungs- und Klangräume einer Großstadt der Moderne an der Freien Universität Berlin und erhielt die Venia legendi für Tanz- und Musikwissenschaft.

Sie organisierte mehrere internationale Symposien mit thematischen Schwerpunkten im Bereich Musik-/Tanztheater und Performance und publiziert zu entsprechenden Themenfeldern in einschlägigen Fachjournalen und Sammelbänden – neben ihrer Vortragstätigkeit in Europa, Kanada und den USA. Ihr 2017 an der FU Berlin begonnenes, von DFG gefördertes Forschungsprojekt Körper und Klänge in Bewegung, in dessen Rahmen Methoden einer musikchoreographischen bzw. klangperformativen Inszenierungs- und Aufführungsanalyse erarbeitet werden, setzt sie seit 2021 im Rahmen ihrer Professur für "Theorien von Musik und Bewegung/Rhythmik" an der Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien (mdw) fort.