Interdisciplinary interactions
between humanities and sciences
in music research
Richard Parncutt
Centre for Systematic Musicology
University of Graz, Austria
SysMus Graz
Audio Communication Day
27 June 2014, TU Berlin
Centre for Systematic Musicology
University of Graz, Austria
Secretary
Lecturer
(current)
Lecturer
(previous)
Student
assistant
Student
assistant
Michaela
Schwarz
Annemarie
SeitherPreisler
Bernd
Brabec
de Mori
Sabrina
Sattmann
Andreas
Fuchs
FWF
Postdoc
Student
assistant
Student
assistant
Project
assistant
Project
assistant
Sessional
lecturer
Erica
Bisesi
Florian
Eckl
Marlies
Bodinger
Hande
Sağlam
Stefan
Reichmann
Professor
and Head
Richard
Parncutt
Martin
Winter
Do we need disciplinary categories?
Schwarz oder weiß Text & Musik: Oliver Gies (2009?)
Hörst du Beatles oder die Stones?
Guckst Du Tagesschau oder Indiana Jones?
Warst du Zivi oder beim Bund?
Bist du schüchtern oder drängst dich in den Vordergrund?
Bist du träge oder agil?
Depressiv oder mental eher stabil?
Trinkst du Wein oder lieber Bier?
Hast Du’n Reihenhaus m. Garten od. lebst du v. Hartz IV?
Hähnchendöner oder lieber Lamm?
Trennst Du Müll oder schmeißt du alles zusamm’n?
Fährst du Taxi oder mit dem Bus?
Sagst du Super-Dickmann oder sagst du Negerkuss?
Guckst du Arte oder Sat1?
Nennst du deinen Sohn Jean-Luc oder Karl-Heinz?
Gibst du nach oder bist du stur?
Liest Du regelmäßig “Bild” oder hast du das Abitur?
Schwarz oder weiß
Ja oder nein
Grautöne sind mir viel zu
allgemein
Bitte kein “Äh”
Bitte kein “Jein”
In eine meiner Schubladen,
da krieg ich dich schon rein
Disciplinary categories are necessary!
Experts and specialization are the basis of academic quality
Each discipline has its
own epistemologies
•
•
•
•
Ways of thinking
Ways of doing research
Ways of training future scholars
Ways of evaluating quality
Epistemology
• What is knowledge?
• Which knowledge exists?
• How is knowledge acquired?
Interdisciplinary (ID) is necessary!
due to expansion and specialisation in all disciplines
• The research literature is expanding
– total amount doubles every 20 years!
• The time/effort to become an expert is about
constant
– about 10 years or 10 000 hours total (Ericsson, “expertise
research”)
Consequences of expansion:
Specialization: subdisciplines  sub-sub-disciplines
Venia: Researchers can no longer represent “whole disciplines”
Collaboration: Subdisciplines must work together
ID is temporary
Disciplinary boundaries are fuzzy and fluid
ID research areas become new
disciplines/paradigms, e.g.:
music history + computing  computing in musicology
music analysis + cultural studies  semiotics
musicology + psychology  music psychology
ID is unusual
It costs extra time and energy
1. Communication problems
Different ways of talking, researching  misunderstandings
2. Structural problems
Clear hierarchies: easy to organise, but impede ID
3. Quality control problems
Different quality mechanisms  “Own” discipline superior?
The rest of this talk…
Humanities and Sciences (H&S)
(a) in general
(b) in musicology
Combining H&S in music research
(a) in general
(b) in my research and teaching
Separation of H & S
Relationships between disciplines in Austrian
research projects funded by FWF1992-2006
FAS.research (2008). Netzwerke der Wissensproduktion. Wien.
S: The study of the
natural world
Objectivity: Researcher is separate
from research object.
Basic S  applications
• Physics  e.g. engineering
• Chemistry  e.g. manufacturing
• Biology  e.g. medicine
All three also contribute to war, climate change…
H: The study of human culture
Subjectivity: Scholar is part of research object.
Ancient
• philosophy
• arts
• institutions
Enlightenment
• history
• languages (linguistics)
• cultures (anthropology, ethnology)
Modern
• diversity, power relations
Mostly benign - but can also be evil!
Science ≠ Wissenschaft!
The facts:
• Latin scientia = (all) knowledge (pre-H-S concept!)
• German Wissenschaft = (all) research/teaching
• English science = objective, positivistic research
Evidence for skeptics:
Look up any faculty or school of science!
• generally includes physics, chemistry, biology…
• never includes history, arts, language, literature…
How could academics make this mistake?
Thesis: Epistemologically naïve scientists dominate academia.
They think: Even H should use ‘scientific method’!
Translating Wissenschaft
Wissenschaft
academia or academe (=the academic world)
S: research (or “research and teaching”)
H: study (e.g. Literaturwissenschaft = literary studies)
H: scholarship (but can also mean Stipendium)
Wissenschaftler/in
academic (e.g. “I am an academic”)
wissenschaftlich
academic (e.g. “academic qualification”, “academic career”)
akademisch
academic (e.g. “academic question”, “academic ceremony”)
Geisteswissenschaftler/in ≠ humanist!
Humanism = Humanismus
•
•
•
•
secular
religious
Christian
etc.
Geisteswissenschaftler/in
= humanities scholar
“Scholar” suggests humanities
The difference
A humanities scholar is a trained academic
A humanist is a morally enlightened person
Berlin Audio Communication Group
examples of mixing Humanities, Sciences, Practice
New music instruments (Egermann)
S (instrument technology), H (reception), P (performance)
Music media use (Lepa)
S (empirical sociology, statistical analysis), H (social context)
Acoustic environments (Weinzierl)
S (acoustics, signal processing, psychology), P (performance)
H&S are 18th-century inventions!
S (Naturwissenschaften)
– Product of “scientific revolution”
• 16th-18th C.; Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Newton…
– Term “scientist” was invented c. 1831
= member of British Association for the Advancement of Science
H (Geisteswissenschaften)
– Product of “Age of Enlightenment”
• 17th-18th C.; Spinoza, Voltaire, Rousseau…
– Reinforced by (German) romantic movement (18th-19th)
– 20th C.: increasing opposition to positivism
Epistemological tensions
20th - 21st C.
Academia = Wissenschaft
S
H
Musicology = Musikwissenschaft
S
H
 Imbalances due to history and politics -- not content!
“The two cultures”
The separation of H and S
(Charles Percy Snow, 1959)
Symptoms
• different knowledge, skills, thinking
• intellectual specialisation  narrow mindedness
• no common culture, feeling of belonging
Consequences
• hostility, conflict – a kind of cold war
• affects quality of research and teaching
• less responsibility for global world problems
Differences between H&S
Kind of difference
Humanities
Sciences
1. Relationship between
researcher and object
close (subjective)
distant (objective)
2. Size of thesis domain
small (specific)
large (general)
3. Kind of discourse
narrative
(qualitative)
numerical
(quantitative)
4. Concept of truth
depends on context independent of
(relativist)
context (positivist)
Points 2, 3, 4 follow from 1  1 is the main difference!
But 1 is also taboo (general public thinks subjective=bad)
 Lack of open discussion of these differences
H&S: Claims for superiority
S changed our lives!
Enormous impact of technological innovations on everyday life:
– communications, transport, media, household appliances…
– weapons, pollution, overpopulation, biodiversity, climate
H address fundamental issues!
– Culture defines “human-ness”
– Social identity is a strong force in everyday human affairs:
family, economics, politics, conflict…
Implications:
 Equal treatment of H&S by universities, politics & funding
 Balance H&S in music research
Alterity (Otherness)
in academia (Wissenschaft)
in-group: S
• physical sciences
• life sciences
intermediate
• social sciences
• legal studies
• economics
out-group: H
•
•
•
literature
history
art and music
H-S-ID: Examples
S: Chemistry
•
•
•
•
Why is the research question important?
What are the implications of the finding?
Consider history, society, culture, politics…
Refer to H-literature
H: Art history
•
•
•
•
Clear structure: Introduction, main part, conclusions
Clear statement of question and thesis
Clear statement of evidence for and against thesis
Refer to S-literature
Implications for all researchers
Combine & balance H & S!
1. Balance subjective and objective
S: Expose and take responsibility for own subjectivity
H: Partially objectify the object of research
2. Balance specific and general
S: Treat specific examples as “ground truth”
H: Risk generalisation to facilitate application
3. Balance narrative and numerical
S: Incorporate qualitative methods
H. Incorporate quantitative measures
4. Balance relativism and positivism
S: Consider contexts (historical, social, cultural, political…)
H: What is your main thesis? Evidence for and against?
H&S in music research
•
•
•
•
•
Definitions of music
Epistemologies
Sources of evidence
Alterity
Size of subdisciplines
Any attempt to define music, e.g.:
• an acoustic signal that
• evokes recognizable patterns of sound,
• implies physical movement,
• is meaningful,
• is intentional wrt (b), (c) or (d),
• is accepted by a cultural group and
• is not
lexical (i.e. is not “language”)
…implies that musicology mixes H&S
Epistemologies of H-musicology
“music”
research
topics
Historical musicol.
Ethnomusicology
score
composers, works
part of culture
performances
–
–
–
–
dead, lost
formal unity of works
musical autonomy
idiosyncracies
–
–
–
–
threatened, disappearing
cultural uniqueness
social function
typicalities
history; development tradition; change
target
“musicologists”
readers
authority scholar
ID
informants
inspired by: Jonathan Stock, Current Musicology, 1998
Epistemologies of “scientific musicology”
physics
“Music” instruments,
concept
rooms, air
Topics
modeling
(examples)
physiology psychology
bodies,
brains
processes
computing
experience, instructions,
behavior codes, samples
emotion
analysis
Combining sources of evidence in musicology
(Sub-) Disciplines
Philosophy
Sources of evidence
Logical argument
Cultural studies
Personal experience and
(inter-) subjectivity
Informants
Historical documents
Ethnomusicology, sociology
History
Music theory and analysis
Psychology, sociology,
acoustics, physiology
Score analysis
Empirical data
Information sciences
Computational simulation
Alterity in musicology
in-group (“musicology”)
• history (Western, elitist)
• theory/analysis
• cultural studies
intermediate
•
•
•
•
•
ethnomusicology
pop/jazz research
sociology
philosophy
performance research
out-group (Others)
•
•
•
•
acoustics
psychology
physiology
computing
Maintaining power with ambiguity
How scientists try to control all academia
How music historians try to control all musicology
 sciences
= natural,
social, formal
 humanities
= lettres,
Geisteswiss.
 science = all academic
research and scholarship
Which “science”
are you talking
about?
green = good ☺
red = bad 
What do you
mean by
“musicology”?
ethno

music music
ology ology
systematic
musicology
 musicology
systematic
musicology
 musicology = all research
about all music
Size of musicological subdisciplines
Ethnomusicology ≈ Historical ≈ Systematic
– IMS (“musicology”): 900 participants, mainly historical
– ICMPC (music psychology): 400 – only part of SysMus
– many ethnomusicological societies and confs
H ≈ S?
– amount of research
– number of students
– social relevance
Projects to promote ID
in musicology
Research
• Specific projects
• New infrastructures
Teaching
• Undergraduate
• Graduate
Current research projects
Perception of musical structure
with Annemarie Seither-Preisler, Sabrina Sattmann, Andreas Fuchs
S: Psychology, acoustics, computing
H: music theory, music history
Computer modelling of expressive performance
(with Erica Bisesi, Anders Friberg)
S: Psychology, acoustics and computing
H: music theory, music history
P: music expression
Music and migration
with Gerd Grupe, Martin Winter, Hande Sağlam
S: Empirical sociology
H: Ethnomusicology, theoretical sociology, cultural studies
CIM promotes ID collaboration
Each abstract has two authors representing H&S
CIM focuses on quality rather than quantity
• anonymous peer review of abstracts by H&S
CIM promotes musicology's unity in diversity
• all ID music research
• all musically relevant disciplines
Past CIMs
Year
Theme
City
Host
Director
2004
-
Graz
University of Graz
Parncutt
2005
timbre
Montréal
Observatoire internationale
de la création musicale
Traube
2007
singing
Tallinn
Estonian Academy of
Music and Theatre
Ross
2008
structure
Thessaloniki
Aristotle University of
Thessaloniki
Cambouropoulos
2009
instruments
France
Université Pierre et Marie
Curie
Castellengo
2010
nature /
culture
Sheffield
University of Sheffield
Dibben
2011 performance
2012
history
Glasgow
Göttingen,
Germany
Centre for Music and
Technology
Musikwissenschaftliches
Seminar, U Göttingen
Hair
Grant
Future CIMs
2014
Technology
Berlin, Germany
National Institute for
Music Research
2015
Imagination
Shanghai, China
Shanghai Conservatoire
2017
Emotion and
expression
Belgrade, Serbia
Faculty of Music,
University of Arts
Integrated H-S cooperation
1. All contributors have at least two authors
If 1st author is H, 2nd must be S (and vice-versa)
2. All submissions are reviewed by H & S
ESF EXPLORATORY WORKSHOP
“Cognition of Early Polyphony”
Graz, Austria, 12-14 April 2012
9 humanities scholars
meet 9 scientists
• Research projects
• Discussion across H-S boundary
• Future projects/grants
LECTURE SERIES
“Introduction to Systematic Musicology”
In 1st semester of Graz Bachelors Program in Musicology
Parent disciplines (subdisciplines)
• S: acoustics, neurosciences, psychology, computing
• H: theoretical sociology, philosophy/aesthetics
How to work with them
• Contrasting epistemologies
• Multidisciplinary and ID approaches
GUIDELINE FOR ADVANCED UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE STUDENTS
Structuring the argument of a
theoretical paper in the social sciences
S: Consider context!
– Historical, social, cultural, political…
– Background; implications
H: Test theses!
– Clear question; list of possible answers
– Clear formulation; evidence
Political strategies
to promote H-S-ID
H: Negotiate from a strong position
•
•
•
•
Lectures, workshops, projects on H-S collaboration
Conflict resolution techniques
More H reviewers in S journals
More research evaluation in H
S: Listen and support
• More consideration of context
• More subjectivity, specificity, relativity
• More H epistemologies
Who is your Epistemological Other?
Definitions
• Are you H or S?
Is your training and publications mainly in H or S?
• Who is your Epistemological Other “EO”?
Which Other academic is interested in your research?
Questions
•
•
•
•
How often do you work with an EO?
How important are EO’s ideas to you ?
How might your work benefit from EO?
Would you like to have lunch with EO?
Conclusions
Criteria for “truth” and “knowledge” should be
• consistent with info sources
• consistent with researcher’s epistemologies
 “Truth” is often a combination of H&S!
The conflict between H and S
• Still strong in musicology & generally
• A solution would be mutually beneficial
 Universities should bring together H&S!
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