musicology, systematized study of music and musical style, particularly in the realm of historical research. The scholarly study of music of different historical periods was not practiced until the 18th cent., and few published efforts were rigorously researched. Notable exceptions include the works of two Englishmen, Charles Burney's General History of Music (1776–89) and J. Hawkins's General History of the Science and Practice of Music (1776).

In the 19th cent. the general interest in antiquity induced curiosity in older music and the key problem of understanding obsolete forms of musical notation. François Joseph Fétis (1784–1871) and August Wilhelm Ambros (1816–76) were among the first to publish satisfactorily researched overviews of the development of Western music. Their inclusion of transcriptions of unknown medieval and Renaissance pieces is especially important.

Today, the domain of musicology is defined by universities, where such study is centered, and includes study of form and notation, national, period, and personal styles, the lives of composers and players, musical instruments, acoustics, ethnomusicology, and aesthetics. Ironically, the study of musical compositions as such, as distinct from the study of data related to them, is not regarded as within the sphere of musicology but rather in the academically separate branch of study called music theory (see theory, in music).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Frank Harrison; Mantle Hood; Claude V. Palisca.
Prentice Hall, 1963
The Canon and the Curricula: A Study of Musicology and Ethnomusicology Programs in America
E. Eugene Helm.
Pendragon Press, 1994
Historical Musicology: A Reference Manual for Research in Music
Lincoln Bunce Spiess.
Institute of Mediaeval Music, 1963
Introduction to Musicology: A Survey of the Fields, Systematic & Historical, of Musical Knowledge & Research
Glen Haydon.
Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1941
From the Erotic to the Demonic: On Critical Musicology
Derek B. Scott.
Oxford University Press, 2003
Text and Act: Essays on Music and Performance
Richard Taruskin.
Oxford University Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 17 "The Price of Literacy, or, Why We Need Musicology"
What Is Music Analysis? Problems and Prospects for Understanding Aboriginal Songs and Performance
Knopoff, Steven.
Australian Aboriginal Studies, Vol. 2003, No. 1, Spring 2003
Soft Boundaries: Re-Visioning the Arts and Aesthetics in American Education
Claire Detels.
Bergin & Garvey, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Musicology and Ethnomusicology" begins on p. 66
"Audio Musicology: A Discography of Tributes to Musical Styles and Recording Artists"
Cooper, B. Lee.
International Journal of Instructional Media, Vol. 26, No. 4, Fall 1999
Musicology as Propaganda in Victorian Theory and Practice
Hamilton, Sharon.
Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 31, No. 2, June 1998
Theological Music: Introduction to Theomusicology
Jon Michael Spencer.
Greenwood Press, 1991
Festa Musicologica: Essays in Honor of George J. Buelow
Thomas J. Mathiesen; Benito V. Rivera.
Pendragon Press, 1995
The Politics of Music in the Third Reich
Michael Meyer.
Peter Lang, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "The Musicologist as Myth Maker: Jews and Germans as Ideal Types" begins on p. 256
Grooving Body Movements through Bass Lines: A Tradition in African American Music
Breckenridge, Stan L.
The Western Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 24, No. 3, Fall 2000
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