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Assessment of quality and impact at the interface between humanities and sciences The case of (systematic) musicology Richard Parncutt Department of Musicology,

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Presentation on theme: "Assessment of quality and impact at the interface between humanities and sciences The case of (systematic) musicology Richard Parncutt Department of Musicology,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Assessment of quality and impact at the interface between humanities and sciences The case of (systematic) musicology Richard Parncutt Department of Musicology, University of Graz Relevance and Impact of the Humanities, University of Vienna, December 2008

2 How can quality and impact be evaluated in an epistemologically diverse discipline?

3 The structure of musicology in central Europe Specific manifestations of music –historical musicology: own culture, Western cultural elites –ethomusicology: other cultures, intercultural interpretation General musical issues (systematic musicology) –sciences: acoustics, physiology, empirical psychology and sociology, computing –humanities: philosophy, theoretical sociology, cultural studies, aesthetics

4 The structure of musicology in North America (Historical) Musicology Music Theory Ethnomusicology Strongly institutionalized societies, conferences, journals Exclusion of musical sciences music psychology, music acoustics etc.

5 …by the way… Science is not Wissenschaft! In modern Anglo-American English, science means natural sciences + disciplines with similar methods (e.g. social sciences) positivist scholarship consider e.g. any Faculty of Science or School of Science Humanities and sciences are mutually exclusive categories Wissenschaft = scholarship, research, academe wissenschaftlich = scholarly, research-based, academic

6 The structure of musicology an alternative view Humanities –history and ethnomusicology –cultural studies, aesthetics, philosophy Sciences –acoustics, physiology, empirical psychology and sociology, computing Practice –intuitive knowledge of performer-teachers (oral tradition)

7 Why is musicology epistemologically diverse? 1. Any attempt to define music involves several disciplines (a)an acoustic signal that (b)evokes recognizable patterns of sound, (c)implies physical movement, (d)is meaningful, (e)is intentional wrt (b), (c) or (d), (f)is accepted by a cultural group and (g)is not lexical (i.e. is not language)

8 Why is musicology epistemologically diverse? 2. Representations of music ~ subdisciplines of musicology The three worlds (Popperian cosmology) World 1 physical: music as signal, vibration –acoustics, physiology, psychology World 2 subjective: music as experience –sociology, cultural studies, phenomenology, psychology World 3 abstract: music as info, knowledge –music theory, computing, psychology … and why not also World 4 agents: listeners, performers, composers, stakeholders –sociology, cultural studies, psychology Central role of psychology in (systematic) musicology

9 Why is musicology epistemologically diverse? 3. Music itself versus musics contexts Scientific musicology focus on music itself in different representations (physical, subjective, abstract…) high separation of researcher and research object (a kind of objectivity) Cultural musicology focus on musics contexts (agencies: psychological, social, historical, cultural, political…) low separation of researcher and research object (a kind of subjectivity)

10 Contrasting epistemologies of humanities musicology (historical) Musicology Ethnomusicology musicscorepart of culture readershipmusicologistsinterdisciplinary repertorylostdisappearing focuscomposer, scoreperformance concepts individual, idiosyncratic history, development musical autonomy formal unity culture, typical tradition, change social function cultural uniqueness authorityscholarinformants Source: Jonathan Stock, Current Musicology, 1998

11 Humanities and sciences differences in approach: tendencies, extremes, clichés humanitiessciences basic epistemology relativist, subjective, intuitive, introspective positivist, objective, transparent, data-oriented research paradigms explore, analyse specific cases, assess (moral) value, qualitative methods (procedures), hypothesis testing, modeling, quantitative aim or output of research enrichment, detail, insight, theoretical frameworks, complex conclusions findings, discoveries, simple facts, laws, progress, practical applications who researchesindividualsteams quality controlreputation, cultural awarenessreplication, peer review

12 Fragmentation of musicology one discipline or many? 1.epistemological 2.international 3.institutional 4.political

13 1. Epistemological fragmentation a semiquantitative recent history of music research systematic ethnological historical

14 2. Institutional fragmentation using terminology from alterity research out-group (Others) music acoustics music psychology music physiology music computing intermediate ethnomusicology pop/jazz research music sociology music philosophy performance research in-group (The musicology) music history music theory/analysis cultural studies

15 3. International fragmentation example: Music theory North America –formalist, mathematical, positivist, scientific –(formalised) Schenker, (mathematical) pitch-class sets, (positivist) history of theory –interpretation/standardisation of German research –pervasive quality control Germany –intuitive, holistic, diverse, haphazard –analysis of works in social-historical context –ignorance of US approaches (Schenker, pc-sets) –weak quality control

16 4. Political fragmentation Power, identity and the feeling of belonging Ambiguous use of word musicology broad definition = all study of all music –entries in Grove, MGG… narrow = music history of western cultural elites –names of conferences journals, societies Academic status of humanities in universities: too little power –culture is underrated in musicology: too much power –sciences are underrated

17 Defragmentation strategies for an epistemelogically diverse discipline 1. Quality control external pressure, internal procedures (e.g. RAE) kollegiale Leistungskultur 2. Promotion of interdisciplinarity through new interdisciplinary infrastructures unity in diversity

18 Why peer review? a musical explanation Germans cant evaluate Ghanaian music Psychologists cant evaluate historical research Musical subculture: –internal aesthetic norms –procedures to promote good music Academic subdiscipline: –internal epistemological/methodological norms –procedures to promote good research

19 Integrating the fragments Epistemological synergy involves real people! multidisciplinary balance –promotion of minority disciplines –democracy, balance of power gender/culture balance –women researchers –non-western researchers collaboration –teamwork and collegiality –intra- and interdisciplinary quality control

20 Collegiality in interdisciplinary teams ultimate aim: productivity common goals –research object, academic quality democracy –value, rights of members mutual respect transparency –clear aims, openness to evaluation quality control –within disciplines –individual strengths and weaknesses –constructive

21 The Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology Subdisciplines & paradigms of musicology analytical, applied, comparative, cultural, empirical, ethnological, historical, popular, scientific, systematic, theoretic Musically relevant disciplines acoustics, aesthetics, anthropology, archeology, art history and theory, biology, composition, computing, cultural studies, economics, education, ethnology, gender studies, history, linguistics, literary studies, mathematics, medicine, music theory and analysis, neurosciences, perception, performance, philosophy, physiology, prehistory, psychoacoustics, psychology, religious studies, semiotics, sociology, statistics, therapy

22 The Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology CIM promotes interdisciplinary collaboration Each abstract has two authors representing two of humanities, sciences, practically oriented disciplines CIM focuses on quality rather than quantity anonymous peer review of abstracts independent international experts same disciplines as authors procedure is transparent reviews are impersonal and constructive CIM promotes musicology's unity in diversity all interdisciplinary music research all musically relevant disciplines

23 Past and future CIMs YearThemeCityHostDirector 2004-GrazUniversity of GrazParncutt 2005timbreMontréal Observatoire internationale de la création musicale Traube 2007singingTallinn Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre Ross 2008structure Thessa- loniki Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Cambou- ropoulos 2009 instru- ments France Université Pierre et Marie Curie Castellengo 2010 nature / culture SheffieldUniversity of SheffieldDibben Different themes bottom-up unification of musicology

24 The Jounal of Inter- disciplinary Music Studies (JIMS)

25 Aims of CIM and JIMS a conference series and a journal Epistemological synergy –realisation of academic potential Productivity –quality, quantity Relevance –social, cultural, academic Unity in diversity –completeness through inclusion of all relevant musics, disciplines, researchers

26 Conference on Applied Interculturality Research cAIR09, Graz, Austria, September 2009 Areas of research discrimination, ethnicity, identity, comparative theology, in/tolerance, migration, minorities, multilingualism, Otherness, prejudice, racism, xenophobia… Areas of application affirmative action, awareness raising, conflict resolution, community interpreting, disability, culture, education, gender, government, integration, interfaith dialog, international development, law, medicine, therapy…

27 Conference on Applied Interculturality Research cAIR09, Graz, Austria, September 2009 Relevant disciplines anthropology, cultural studies, economics, education, ethnology, geography, history, interpreting, law, linguistics, literature, musicology, politics, physiology, medicine, psychology, philosophy, religious studies, sociology…

28 Conference on Applied Interculturality Research cAIR09, Graz, Austria, September 2009 Aims empower researchers support civil society encourage collaboration establish Applied Interculturality Research

29 Conference on Applied Interculturality Research cAIR09, Graz, Austria, September 2009 Abstract submissions two authors, two reviewers structured: –Background in… (academic discipline/s) –Background in… (practical aspect/s) –Aims –The research –The application –Implications –References

30 Assessment of quality and impact at the interface between humanities and sciences Special case: Epistemological diversity Assessment is inseparable from promotion and intervention! assessment –transparent, expert, constructive, impersonal –within subdisciplines promotion –improve public awareness –develop career paths, rewards for achievement intervention –create interdisciplinary infrastructures –promote diversity and collegiality


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