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Barbara Titus


Dr. Barbara Titus, Dr. Oliver Seibt, Dr. Anne van Oostrum, Dr. meLê yamomo, Dr Emily Hansell Clark, Dr. Wouter Capitain, Prof. Dr. Julia Kursell, Prof. Dr. Walter van de Leur,

PhD candidates: Cas Bezemer, Juan David Montoya Alzate, Rui Vilela, Brian Trinanda Kusuma Adi, Lennart Ritz

International partners: Dr. Citra Aryandari (ISI Yogyakarta), Dr. Renta Vulkanita Hasan (Universitas Jember), Prof. Dr. Birgit Abels (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen),

Research Programme

Cultural musicology operates at an intersection of sound studies, ethnomusicology and popular music studies. The Music & Culture research group engages with acoustic events, sonic spaces and aural encounters in order to employ them as critical and theoretical models for cultural study and analysis at large.

Music ethnographers, historians and cognition scholars have long established that play, dialogical interaction – including improvisation and signifyin(g) acts, diachronous and synchronous presentations of time, the temporary constitutions of inner subjectivities, and experiences of the body, of movement and of consciousness – can be studied through an engagement with music and sound.

Such explorations are inextricably folded into the musicking acts they engage with: the singing, playing, hearing, producing, distributing, mediating, consuming, and judging of sound as music (Small 1998, 9). Hence, we consider our research as everyday-life occupations (Seibt 2010) and (creative) social practices (Titus 2022) that impact directly on the events, sounds, people, ideas and ideologies that shape our investigations. 

In order to account for the political implications of this mutual impact, we pay ample attention to the embodied knowledge that we bring into our projects and that is a resource within our research (Hahn 2007): it enables us to  traverse and/or problematize the analytical space between our own (sensual) orientation and the “data” we encounter through a variety of mediating bodies, archives and technologies.

Hence, we will have to face as well as hear the often loaded histories of the disciplines that inspire us. Music history, comparative musicology, music anthropology and ethnomusicology have always been part of cultural and political agendas, cultural codes, and knowledge regimes that continue to bring epistemic riches and cultural expansions to some, and musical and cultural bereavement, including outright epistemicide,  to o/Others. Histories of colonialism and global flows of (cultural) capital as well as the ways in which specific musicking bodies (human bodies, social bodies, repertoires and technologies) are situated in these histories and flows constitute key concerns of the Music & Culture research group.

In order to foreground these concerns, the research group develops scholarly practices that actively resist consumer/service relationships and modes of epistemic commodification. These commodifications not only inhibit a free and equal access to knowledge within and outside the academy, but they also sabotage the participation in and development of public space in society more generally.


Clark, Emily Hansell (ed.) 2021. Audibilities of Colonialism and Extractivism / Themed Issue the world of music (new series) 10/2.

Hahn, Tomie. 2007. Sensational Knowledge: Embodying Culture through Japanese Dance. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.

Ingold, Tim 2019. “Noise, Sound, Silence” in Kathleen Coessens (ed.) Sensorial Aesthetics in Music Practices. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 47-60.

LaBelle, Brandon 2010. Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life. New York: Continuum.

Ochoa Gautier, Ana María. 2014. “The Ear and the Voice in the Lettered City’s Geophysical History.” In Aurality: Listening and Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century Colombia, 1-29. Durham: Duke University Press.

Radano, Ronald, and Tejumola Olaniyan (eds) 2016. Audible Empire: Music, Global Politics, Critique. Durham: Duke University Press.

Small, Christopher. 1998. Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.

Seibt, Oliver 2010. Der Sinn des Augenblicks: Überlegungen zu einer Musikwissenschaft des Alltäglichen. Bielefeld: Transcript.

Sykes, Jim and Gavin Steingo 2019. Remapping Sound Studies. Durham: Duke University Press.

Titus, Barbara 2022. Hearing Maskanda: Musical Epistemologies in South Africa. London [etc.]: Bloomsbury (Music & Sound Studies).

yamomo, meLê 2018. Sounding Modernities: Theatre and Music in Manila and the Asia Pacific, 1869–1946. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Envisaged results

The research group coordinates the ASCA Seminar Aurality: Musical Modes of Knowledge Inscription. The group’s activities intersect on various level with Decolonizing Southeast Asian Sound Archives (DeCoSEAS), a three-year research and community engagement project (2021-2024) funded by the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) on Cultural Heritage and Global Change supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.

The research group also supports the movement SoundInAction, initiated by Music Studies MA students in 2018. SoundInAction organizes freely accessible events (performance-lecture-demonstrations) that facilitate the sharing and shaping of (academic) knowledge beyond the walls of the university with special attention for a multiplicity of voices and a sensitivity to sound. These events are centred along themes such as Exporting Activism, Compatibility and Space, Narratives of Displacement, Times of Change: Environment and Ecomusicology. More information will be available soon.

All those with research material about sound and music that they are willing to share in discussion, debate and peer review are welcome to contact Barbara Titus:

Work plan and time schedule:  The group will continue to run during the coming years.

Societal relevance

The research group maintains relations with a number of educational and research institutions , archives (Phonogramm-Archiv Vienna, Phonogramm-Archiv Berlin) and societies (IASPM, KVNM, Bake Society) in the Netherlands and abroad, such as concert venues (Concertgebouw), festivals (Holland Festival, Roots Festival, Wonderfeel, TongTongFair) and music organisations (Musicians without Borders, Cultuurschakel, Culture Connection).

This research group is active in the follow constellations: