We investigate practical music making and professional performance, alongside informal musical engagement and general music listening. We are keen to explore the meaning and impact of music in our lives, and to develop strategies that may assist musicians in their artistic and professional development.
Currently our projects focus on three main research areas:
Effects of music on perception and behaviour
Within this research field, we investigate how listeners experience, describe, evaluate and respond to music. These may be people with a high level of musical expertise (examination boards at music academies, music critics, and competition juries) or musical novices. This field of research aims to examine questions of music perception, communication/interaction among musicians as well as between musicians and listeners, and the role of the human body in music making and listening (embodied musical experience).
Music, health and wellbeing
This field of research investigates the complex relationships between music (its use and effects) and the wellbeing and health of people. Two specific areas of research focus on:
- The use of music to improve subjective quality of life (i.e., physical and mental health and wellbeing, and
- The wellbeing of musicians (the maintenance and promotion of physical and mental health and wellbeing).
All projects are embedded within national and international boards and associations of competency in the fields of (musician’s) health and wellbeing as well as in the public forum (i.e., outside of scientific communities), to foster applicability and contextually-aware implementations of results within health systems, organisations and political structures.
Musical production and performance practice
Projects within this research field deal with musical production and interpretation from a broad historical, theoretical and cultural perspective. A range of different sources are examined including: sound recordings, music and lyrical transcriptions, musical texts, journalistic texts, photographs and visual documents. These provide information on compositional, performance-practical or interpretational aspects of music making. Documentation goals are also pursued, for example the platform musinfo, the archives of the Willisau and Schaffhausen Jazz Festivals and the Organ Documentation Centre (ODZ).
A broad spectrum of methodological approaches are applied in all research projects: they are derived from the fields of musical analysis (interpretation and compositional analysis as well as computer-assisted analysis of audio recordings), psychology/sociology, history/philology (including oral history), data mining, history of technology, music iconography, and gender and cultural studies.
he knowledge gained from these activities is incorporated into courses of the Master of Arts in Music, in particular the Major Music Research, as well as the CAS and MAS Music Research programmes.
By incorporating scientific and humanities research with practice-oriented teaching, important insights into the nature and significance of music in everyday life can be conveyed, and considered from different perspectives.