History of SysMusGraz
The Centre for Systematic Musicology was opened on 9 October 2009 in Wallgebäude, University of Graz (Merangasse 70) by the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Gernot Kocher. Twelve years earlier, Rudolf Flotzinger, professor of musicology at the University of Graz from 1971 to 1999, had established and advertised Austria's first full professorship in systematic musicology. The position was filled by Austrian music psychologist Richard Parncutt in 1998. The term "systematic musicology" dates to an article on the structure of musicology published by Austrian musicologist Guido Adler in 1885.
These developments belong to Austria's unique and special musical and academic histories. Austrian composers are international household names. Austria’s past intellectuals include Sigmund Freud, Erwin Schrödinger, Lise Meitner, Karl Popper, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Kurt Gödel and Konrad Lorenz. Czech-Austrian pacifist Bertha von Suttner was the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace prize in 1905.
Austria also has a horrifying history as part of the "Third Reich" from 1938 to 1945. One consequence was a shift in global centres of musical and academic excellence toward North America. In recent years, Austrian universities have become more internationally competitive and bilingual -- in spite of re-emerging far-right tendencies in European and world politics, against which universities may be one of our best defenses.
Graz now has four universities (general, artistic, technical, medical). Contrasting areas of musicology are represented by five independent departments: the Department of Musicology, University of Graz (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz; Uni Graz) and four departments of the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (Kunstuniversität Graz; KUG). In 2006, these five departments together with the Centre for Systematic Musicology created a single BA/MA program called "Musikologie". The program is unique in its disciplinary diversity, bringing together expertise in historical musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, music philosophy, jazz and popular music studies, music acoustics, computational approaches, and the psychology of music.
Music psychology itself has a long history. Ancient Greek philosophers considered music psychological issues that are still relevant today, including perception of musical structure, emotion and meaning, function of music, music and personality, social identity, and morality. Music psychology bloomed in Central Europe in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Since the "cognitive turn" in psychology in the 1960s, the discipline has been strongly represented at many North American universities.
In Graz's musicology curriculum, music psychology has the same status as the other main subdisciplines, making Graz one of the most interesting places in the world to study musicology. The approach of the Centre for Systematic Musicology, both in research and teaching, is fundamentally interdisciplinary, combining music psychology with all other subdisciplines of musicology.
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