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

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


  • Donnerstag, 09. Juni 2022, 18 Uhr

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

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


  • Donnerstag, 30. Juni 2022, 18 Uhr

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