Photograph via snooOG

Focusing on Historical Musicology, this is a community coming together to share scholarly research about music and its origins. Open discussion of music philosophy, theoretical sociology, aesthetics of music, cultural and gender studies, performance, literature, theatre, theory, analysis, and theology.

Focusing on Historical Musicology, this is a community coming together to share scholarly research about music and its origins. Open discussion of music philosophy, theoretical sociology, aesthetics of music, cultural and gender studies, performance, literature, theatre, theory, analysis, and theology. Understanding is the goal of this community and civil discourse the standard method of communication. We welcome anyone with a burning desire for discovery and a thirst for knowledge. Welcome to r/musicology!


  1. Civility is our #1 rule and rudeness will result in a BAN.

  2. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in a BAN.

  3. Please take the time to ensure your post is original content for this community.

  4. Please do not down-vote a topic because you disagree with the author. This is a community for discussion. Please comment and discuss any theories you may have that differ from others.

  5. Self-promotion is not allowed if promoting a paid service. Promoting free content (e.g. educational YouTube videos, podcasts, or tools) is fine as long as it is specifically musicological in nature. Your music-theory videos can go on /r/musictheory, not here. Your tools for pianists and singers can go to those subreddits. If someone asks "Are there any tools available for x?" it is OK to reply to that question with self-promotion if what you promote actually fits with the question asked. Spam of any kind is still not allowed even if the spammed content is free.

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Can someone introduce me to what musicology is?

I have this assumption that musicology is studying music through the lenses of social/historical context, philosophy, as an art as opposed to a strict music theory analysis, and emotional effects. However, I'm guessing this assumption is wrong. Can someone introduce me to musicology is and what it entails?

01:21 UTC


What's up with this ending?

I've been thinking about the ending bars of Prince's Let's Go Crazy and of Van Halen's Ice Cream Man, where they each close the song with an cliched, old-timey chord sequence characterized by an ascending bass and descending lead melody which meet on the fifth.

That progression:

Top note on the root, bass note on the root (Tonic)

Top note down a whole step, bass note up a major third (Dominant 7)

Top note down a half step, bass up half step (VI)

Top note down a half step, bass up half step (I don't know... diminished ii 7?)

Top note down a half step, bass up half step (V)

(Some of you are cracking your knuckles and preparing to type that this is the "Duke Ellington Ending" and I understand that confusion -- this may even be a offshoot of that, but I think we're talking about something different here.)

It seems like the most widely-known preceding example of this ending was in Rock Around the Clock (1954) which imprinted itself on a whole new generation as the theme from Happy Days. And digging more deeply into Bill Haley and the Comets reveals that they ended a lot of tunes with this figure. I'm sort of half-convinced that the influence for its use might be Les Paul and Mary Ford's 1951 recording of How High the Moon in which this series of chords is actually the opening motif.

But none of this addresses the idea of Prince and Van Halen referencing a slower, almost burlesque, rendition of the ending which, to my ears, was presented by both of these artists in an ironic if not outright comedic framework. At least, that's how we intended it back in the late eighties when the bar band I played it stuck it onto the end of our cover of Don't Mean Nothin' by Richard Marx. Full apologies to him.

TLDR; how many songs can you think of that end like Let's Go Crazy by Prince and Ice Cream Man by Van Halen?

17:34 UTC


Grad program recommendations?

Hi all! I'm fortunate enough to attend a small liberal arts school with a music department that offers a musicology track in their music BA. Over the past year, I've loved gaining musicological experience. I T.A.'d for a music history class, wrote a junior thesis, and interned under my advisor to contribute preliminary editing work for UMich's Gershwin Initiative.

I've decided to pursue a future in musicology and am looking for suitable grad programs. I'm hoping this subreddit can provide me with some recommendations :) My interests lie in Tin Pan Alley-era American popular music (my thesis was a lyric analysis of Irving Berlin's early vaudeville repertoire) and may expand to American folk genres.

I plan on earning at least an MA. I also plan to earn an MS in library science, either simultaneously or after the musicology degree, as I am interested in music librarianship. I recognize that I likely won't have the resources and experience to get into PhD programs straight out of undergrad, but applying to one or two couldn't hurt.

I already plan on applying to UMich. Both SUNY Buffalo and University of Wisconsin have dual master's programs in musicology and library science which I still have to investigate further. Are there any other musicology graduate programs (that either have these specialties or are good programs in general) you all could recommend? Thanks in advance!

19:43 UTC


Participants needed for fun music/psychology study 🎵

Hi everyone! Hope all is well :3 We are psychology undergraduates from UCSD looking for participants to complete our study on music and mental health that will take no more than 15 minutes. As compensation, you can sign up to enter a lucky draw to win one of three $10 Starbucks gift cards, as well as a lifetime’s worth of our most sincere gratitude 🥹❤️

Thank you so much!

1 Comment
05:31 UTC


Trying to find recordings for a research project.

Hi everyone,

I'm doing a research project about George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, and I'm trying to find as many recordings of it as I can from the time frame 1924-1944. I've already looked on YouTube and Google, but I'm hoping you guys might know of some other resources where I can find these recordings. I would appreciate any help. Thank you.

1 Comment
18:51 UTC


Musicology/ethnomusicology graduates - existing or upcoming

Hello -

I'm applying to an ethnomusicology PhD program later this year, and if you are a graduate or are about to graduate from your programs, I'm curious about your overall experiences in school. I'm also curious about what you are doing now.

FYI I'm 53 years old and looking to start a completely new career direction in my life (I've worked in corporate IT for 25 years), so I realize that your life experiences may not align with mine. I have a Bachelors but no higher school experience. I have also been a part-time musician for 25 years and I have a deep love for the studies of history and religion.

Your thoughts and input are welcome. Thank you!

13:53 UTC


Help settle a debate about classical music?

I was speaking to someone who was telling me about a podcast about the neurological effects of music while under the influence of psychedelic mushrooms. They were saying that researchers began playing “relaxing” music, like classical, for the subjects of the study.

This kind of perked my ears up, because though I’m not an expert in classical, I don’t think of classical as “relaxing” most of the time. My experience listening to Haydn, Bach and Beethoven has been intense at times. I would not call it relaxing. They were arguing that I am looking at the “extreme” end by saying that classical is not overall relaxing.

I think that saying “classical music is relaxing” is a generalization.

Would you say that overall, classical can be considered “pleasant, relaxing, soft”?


14:39 UTC


The Ed Sheeran Lawsuit has even LESS basis than you thought (explained with 18th century galant theory, thanks to musicological research of Robert O. Gjerdingen)

1 Comment
22:16 UTC


Fascinating and philosophical topics in music

Dear all, I was referred to this Fascinating /philosophical aspects of Music /Music theory.

What are some thoughts, facts or insights about music that you may have had or read or learnt about, that you think is fascinating /thought-provoking for those who are not musicians? Especially considerations that may bring philosophical questions, existential questions or just curiosity?

I am writing a character in a novel who is a savant musician but also socially isolated, and he will be having some conversations with someone for the first few times, and I am imagining he would share his deeper considerations about his music or music in general.

I was hoping for deeper or interesting aspects of music, so the reader could enjoy the reflection as well. I'm happy to do research.

Any suggestions please? Thank you so much for any tips or ideas! 🙂

18:33 UTC


why do music academics use the plural "musics" in the context of world music?

15:49 UTC


Masters Programs in Musicology?

Hi all,

I'm a current undergraduate at a LAC about to graduate with a BA in Music. My GPA is around a 3.8, higher if only counting Music classes. I recently decided I would really like to pursue a PhD in music, however, I did not write a thesis as part of my degree as it was a bit more performance-oriented (classical voice). I have a couple of short (10-15 pages double spaced) papers on music history and more from other fields (cinama/film studies, postcolonial studies). I'm about to go on a gap year as a Fulbright teaching assistant abroad. I can write and research more if needed from now until the application season in the fall.

All that said, I understand that I may not have the breadth of work needed to attempt to apply to a PhD in musicology, but was looking at Masters levels programs that would allow me to build up that research portfolio. I was wondering what masters in musicology programs (looking at Oxford, Tufts, Jacobs, McGill, Peabody, Eastman) were looking for in applicants and what I need to have a shot?


1 Comment
23:55 UTC


Considering Musicology PhD

Hello everyone! I am a violinist-teacher-scientist considering entering a PhD in Musicology.

For some background, I have multiple degrees: MM in violin performance, MM in violin performance pedagogy, and a MS and BS in psychology. I have conducted scientific research about music imagery and time perception (one of which is published research and the other is being edited to submit for publication this year), as well as historical research regarding various aspects of music performance, pedagogy, and perception.

My goal as a musicologist is to continue researching within the field of music and psychology, focusing on music cognition, performance, emotion, time, and health.

I have been accepted into a state school for the PhD, but am worried about the overall field upon graduating and the tremendous lack of jobs, especially as a professor. Even upon reaching out to my advising professor, she told me that the job market is bleak. There was one graduate from a couple of years ago who managed to land an adjunct position at the University of Louisville, but most of the graduates from this school do not end up as professors.

My passion is in teaching and I have had the desire to be a professor for many years. I have taught violin/viola lessons and string classes for the past 15 years and have conducted research over the past 10 years.

Is it worth attending this school for the musicology PhD? I love this school, as I've been here for the past 3 years for my MM degrees. I want to continue learning from the incredible professors and being a part of the amazing music department. I'm wondering if I accept the PhD position, go through the program, and graduate, will I be in the same place I am now, career wise?

I have been thinking about this for the past several months and wanted to put my thoughts out there to see if I can get any advise or knowledge. I would love to hear any thoughts (or questions) about my position. Thank you!

01:59 UTC



Why does reverb effect gives every song a nostalgic feeling?

02:14 UTC


Has anyone here used Musicition to learn music theory?

05:38 UTC


Source help request!

Hi! I am a music student currently writing a section of my dissertation on Stravinsky's time in Hollywood and California. I'm struggling a bit to find sources that are more relevant to the topic (I have 9 or 10 so far but I need some more), and I was wondering if anyone knows where I could find any newspaper clippings/articles/essays etc on this time in Stravinsky's life? Many thanks in advance!

10:56 UTC


should I consider going into musicology?

current history student here; I plan on getting a degree most likely in history but I've noticed I have a very strong interest in music history, especially the history of patriotic/military/political music (music that was either made for or incidentally came to hold the specific purpose of accompanying soldiers, political parties/movements, official patriotic functions, stuff like that... basically the type of music that can be found on YouTube channels like Ingen, Norwegian Baron, or Duke of Canada.) I'm very new to musicology so I may be wrong on this, but it seems like this topic is generally overlooked in the field? I wonder if it would be worth trying to pursue a degree in musicology instead if I find that I want to do academic research on this type of music (I'm not sure at the moment, it's just an interest I have right now)

07:18 UTC


What are the most "exclusive" pop music fandoms?

I know "exclusive" and "pop" kind of seem like antonyms. Basically, what popular music fandoms are the hardest to "get into", whether due to gatekeeping from existing fans, extensive lore, specific iconography, high cost of attending shows/merch, or any other reason?

I'm not a student of musicology, but the reason I'm asking is because I'm looking into pop cults as defined by Rupert Till. Many of you may have read Pop Cults, and may or not agree with his definitions - either way, I'm interested in your responses. Part of his definition involves exclusivity, secrecy, high-commitment involvement, etc. associated with the "cult", making it either difficult or perceived as difficult to obtain membership. Relevant quotes:

"Cults are sometimes seen as isolationist and secretive, and although many of the groups’ activities may relate to gaining new members or converts, it may at first be difficult to gain access to the group or to find out about it. It may be that a level of commitment must be proven in order to become a full member of the group."

"One may have to spend much time becoming part of a scene, getting to know enough to be accepted within this scene as an ‘authentic’ member, finding out about the often secretive and hard to find detailed insider knowledge and sub-cultural capital available."

"Like most cults, local pop cults focus on recruiting new members or converts. Every band seeks to gain fans that are committed to them, yet despite this it takes effort to get to know enough to be credible as a fan, memorizing songs, knowing details of the lives of the band members and knowing how to behave and dress."

Hopefully this is a fun, thought-provoking discussion. Really looking forward to anything you guys can come up with. Thank you!

05:59 UTC


Musicology Cremona

Ciao a tutti! Vorrei chiedere se qualcuno ha studiato all'università di Cremona presso il Dipartimento di Musicologia? e se sì mi puoi dare per favore qualche informazione sulla vita gli studi ecc? Lo apprezzerei.

Hello everyone! I would like to ask if anyone has studied in the university of Cremona on the Department of Musicology? and if yes can you give me please some information about the life the studies etc? I would appreciate it.

16:24 UTC


Masters in US recommendations?

Hi guys, new here. As the title said any recommendations? I want to do either ethnomusicology, with a focus on Chinese/east asian music, or music history. They are both fascinating and I have experience in both. I am Chinese and want to attend masters in the US. Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you! As for the specific interest I would reach out to professors, mainly looking for quality programs right now. Must be masters in the US. Also want to apply for a Phd in the US in the future.

Also 1.do I need to take GRE? or GRE subject?

2.what is a good score on TOEFL?

3.what should I do this summer? I want to do an internship. I have plenty of research experience and wanna try something new that I enjoy, but also will look good and relevant on my resume. What is an internship that will strengthen my application?

4.Does publication matter? I don't really have publications.

5.what are the most important aspects of the application?

Thank you so much!

02:30 UTC


The influence of music artists' popularity on loyalty towards them (everyone)- i need 400 answers!

Hi everyone, i hope you're well! I'm finishing my master in Marketing and i'm currently developing my master thesis . It aims to understand what is the influence of the popularity of music artists on the listeners' loyalty towards them. I would really appreciate if you could answer this questionnaire to help me in my studies! i need 400 answers, which is a lot so if you could spend 5 mins of your time to complete this, i would be really grateful! thank you very much! https://iscteiul.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bHJnyVgXCPCvJPw

1 Comment
14:58 UTC


Pedagogical manuscripts in the late baroque period

Hi all, I'm writing a novel, and I'm just doing some homework for historical accuracy. Has anyone here studied how instrumental pedagogy was executed in the 18th century? Did they use any manuscripts? The Well-Tempered Clavier comes to mind, but do you suppose there was any literature that showed potential learners how to read music or was this simply taught in lessons?

18:59 UTC


Looking for research subjects for a study on emotional responses to sound!- Volunteer at UNLV

Do you experience musical chills? If so, we want to study you! The UNLV Music Lab (Principal Investigator: Erin Hannon) is conducting a new study about misophonia, ASMR, musicality and emotional responses to meaningful sounds. We are currently recruiting for a research study in which we will ask you questions about which sounds you like and dislike, your musical experiences and habits, and your general auditory experiences, and you will do some short listening tests. The study should take 60 minutes. If you would like to take the survey click HERE. For more information about the study email questions to UNLVmusiclab@gmail.com or call us 702-895-2995.

20:53 UTC


Dissertation study request

Hi everyone, my name is Mango, and I am a final-year music student. For my dissertation, I am exploring how foreign language in music affects the engagement of English-speaking listeners, focusing on genre fans and casual/new listeners in particular.

I’ve struggled to get enough responses and have to write up the results tomorrow.

If you have a spare 5 minutes to fill out the study, I would greatly appreciate it :)

✨All you have to do is say your opinion on some rough music clips

✨No music theory/genre knowledge necessary


I’d love to have your voice contribute to my study!

17:22 UTC


Bibliographical description of an early printed source of music

Hi everyone,

Does anyone know or by any chance is specialised in bibliographical descriptions of early printed music? I desperately need to consult with someone who knows how to do full diplomatic transcription, plate corrections, etc.? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

11:24 UTC


How would you classify this instrument?

23:51 UTC

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