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In Marburg, the Institute of Musicology has an historical focus. Here, music is part of history and the cultural sciences. The focus is on the traditional genres of vocal and instrumental music and the intermedial products of modern art movements in which music plays a role.

Musicology in Marburg deals specifically with the origins, notation, appearance, tonal rendition, function and effect of works of music history, with the aesthetics of music, and with musical institutions.

In research, the Institute of Musicology distinguishes itself in combining period-related focuses on ‘early music’ (before 1600) and musical history from the late 18th to the 20th centuries. A specific research focus of modern musical history is on 19th-century opera and instrumental music. Together with the associated Hessian Music Archive (Hessisches Musikarchiv), the department plays an important role in preserving the musical heritage in Hesse from the early modern age until the 20th century.

Completed research project:

Sabine Henze-Döhring: Giacomo Meyerbeer. Briefwechsel und Tagebücher, critical and annotated edition, vols. 5–8, Berlin: de Gruyter 1999–2006


In cooperation with other subjects, the Institute of Musicology offers a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree programme. It also provides the possibility to study for a doctorate. 

The Bachelor’s degree programme, Art, Music and Media: Organisation and Presentation, is nationally the only degree programme to combine art history, musicology and media studies. Providing a first academic degree, it prepares for professional life. It also offers the possibility to continue with a Master’s degree programme or, specifically in Marburg, with a so-called fast-track doctoral programme.

The degree programme aims to impart the basic historical and theoretical knowledge and methods of analysis as well as knowledge about transfer processes of arts and about forms of presenting arts in the media. The practical focus is on identifying and assessing models of the medialisation of fine arts in their historical dimension.

The degree programme reacts to the spreading of art, music and media in the audiovisual culture on the one hand. On the other hand, it reacts to the fact that arts as a medial occurrence gain a new meaning and dynamics. Thus, the degree programme concentrates on transformation processes. These processes already began with book illustration (manuscript/print). They increased with the photographic technique of reproducing works of art and are currently reaching a temporary climax in the transmission of images to mobile media. The musical repertoire – transferred often and varied by records, radio broadcasting, film, television and digital media – has long since become material that is ever available. The arts can thus no longer be separated from their presentation and transfer processes. This ceaseless medial adaption in turn emphasises the mediality and materiality of the pictorial and musical arts. Their formal and material elements, music’s effect of creating publicity, and the extensive accessibility of all art forms can be mentioned here as examples.

The degree programme provides sound basic knowledge in fine arts, musicology and media studies. With a career focus, its application-oriented elements deepen the knowledge and skills acquired, on the basis of academic methodology, in visual arts and architecture, musical theatre and music, and technical media (photography, film, television) – both disciplinary and across disciplines. With particular attention paid to practical application, the degree programme conveys the academic requirements for designing projects independently. It also teaches the academic requirements for an academically sound cooperation in public and private institutions whose function and aim it is to organise and market art in different institutional contexts, with different objectives, and in varying medial networks in the context of public presentations of art and cultural activities.

Most of the degree programme’s graduates work:

  • In public cultural service
  • In cultural administration
  • In print, audiovisual and digital media institutions (journalism)
  • In the field of music festivals and event culture institutions
  • For radio and television
  • For musical theatres
  • For concert halls
  • For museums
  • In public relations

In the Master’s degree programme, Musicology: History and Presentation, students deepen their knowledge in historical musicology, focusing on European Western music. The programme aims at developing the students’ skills in independent academic work and in presenting their findings orally and in writing. The programme thus provides the foundations for independent research. For this purpose, the courses concentrate on case examples.  Another focus is on the presentation of music both in the university’s research environment and in the environment of cultural institutions.

The focus in Marburg is on the following subject areas:

  • Music as an artistic matter
  • Historical theory construction
  • Historical changes of music in the institutional and cultural context
  • In line with Marburg’s research profile, the period-related focuses are on ‘early music’ (before 1600) and on musical history from the late 18th century up to and including the 20th century.
  • The Master’s degree programme prepares for a career in the following fields:
  • University research
  • Editorial projects
  • Publishers (copy-editing)
  • Libraries (senior civil service)
  • Press, radio, television
  • Musical dramaturgy of musical theatre/orchestra

It is possible to complete the Master’s degree programme while continuing one’s employment. This is particularly suitable for professionals who already work in music education and wish to advance their subject-specific and formal skills with more sophisticated management tasks in mind.

Particularly skilled graduates who are interested in working in research and teaching may also study for a doctorate.