History of Musicology: Institutions, Networks, Topics, Methods

The history of musicology as a university discipline in Austria is the subject of this project. Starting with the first musicological habilitation at the University of Vienna (Eduard Hanslick, 1856; see also the Hanslick/Adler project by Alexander Wilfing, the focus is on Guido Adler (1855–1941), founder of the Vienna School of Musicology, as well as on Adler’s successor Robert Lach (1874–1858). The development of an independent musicological methodology (“style analysis”), the relationship to other disciplines (especially art history, aesthetics, philosophy, natural sciences), the concept of comparative musicology (today: ethnomusicology), furthermore institutional developments and researcher biographies are examined.

The process is seen against the background of political, socio-economic, scientific, cultural and artistic-aesthetic changes in the late period of the Habsburg Monarchy, during the First Republic and the years during and after World War II, including networks also beyond the university, which had a crucial impact on the remarkable upswing which musicology experienced.

Currently central texts by Adler (Scope, Method and Aim of Musicology, 1885; Music and Musicology, 1898; Style in Music, 1911/1929) as well as the development of comparative musicology in Vienna are studied.

Project Duration

1 January 2013 - 31 December 2026



Barbara Boisits



Musicology Department Project Website