SESSION 6 (panel): Musicology as a “Small Discipline”: The Example of the Department of Musicology in Zagreb

Friday, 27 November 2020

11:15 – 12:45 SESSION 6 (panel):

Musicology as a “Small Discipline”: The Example of the Department of Musicology in Zagreb

Ivan Ćurković:

Minority Complexes and “Small” Musicologies

Ana Čizmić Grbić:

The Challenges of Doing Research and Teaching Musicology

Monika Jurić Janjik:

Teaching Musicology: Growing Without “Growing Up”

Ivan Ćurković1Ana Čizmić Grbić2Monika Jurić Janjik3

Department of Musicology, Academy of Music, University of Zagreb



Musicology as a “Small Discipline”:

The Example of the Department of Musicology in Zagreb

Panel session

Although some forms of musicological courses have been taught at the Acad­emy of Music in Zagreb since its establishment in 1921, it was only when Josip Andreis founded the Department of Music History and Theory (later the Department of History of Music) in 1948 that more solid schol­arly foundations were laid. At the initiative of Ivo Supičić, this department grew into the Department of Musicology in 1970, contributing to a more comprehensive profile of the discipline, but this did not change the fact that it was a scholarly endeavour operating as a minority in the midst of activities primarily in the realm of the performing arts.

This themed panel session is going to examine the Department of Musi­col­ogy at the Academy of Music in Zagreb as a part of the field of musicol­ogy in Croatia viewed as a “small discipline”. After positioning it within the con­text of the humanities and the arts in Croatia and other countries with simi­lar institutional practices, the session will focus on two aspects of musico­log­ical activities at the Zagreb Department of Musicology: research and teaching.

Key words: Department of Musicology, Academy of Music, Zagreb, higher education, research, humanities, minority


  1. Ivan Ćurković:

Minority Complexes and “Small” Musicologies

The future of musicology differs greatly depending on the academic con­text it is being pursued in. In Germany, where the number of departments and tenures defines a “small discipline” (kleines Fach), musicology has been classified as “medium size” (mittelgroß) since 1974. However, with a few exceptions, in most other countries in the world, musicology is a relatively small scholarly discipline with a somewhat marginal position in academia. This position stems from the overall inferior status of the hu­man­i­ties as opposed to other, more market-oriented disciplines, but it is also conditioned by the local and to a certain extent individual circum­stances governing a particular musicology department.

This paper will attempt to examine the intricate minority identities of the Department of Musicology in Zagreb. Comparisons will be made with mu­si­cological activities at research institutes in the country and other musi­col­ogy departments in Croatia’s neighbouring lands that also house musi­cology at academies of music or universities of the arts, as opposed to the German model, where musicology is firmly established at faculties of phi­losophy. Careers of Croatian musicologists who pursued their schol­ar­ly careers abroad will be drawn into comparison, as well as other “small dis­ciplines” in the realm of the humanities in Croatia to see how this re­flects on institutional practices at the Department of Musicology in Zagreb.

Ivan Ćurković is Assistant Professor at the Academy of Music, University of Zagreb, and Head of the Musicology Department. He studied musicology, comparative literature and Hungarian studies at the University of Zagreb, and he received his PhD in 2017 at the Musicology Department of Heidelberg University under the supervision of Prof. Dr Silke Leopold. The dissertation has meanwhile been published in revised form under the title The Vocal Duets of G. F. Handel and His Italian Contemporaries (1706-1724). His re­search interests include dramatic vocal genres of the first half of the 18th cen­tury with particular emphasis on the works of G. F. Handel and his contem­poraries. He is also interested in the historical and contemporary perfor­mance practice of this repertory and the application of certain cultural theo­ries, such as gender studies, to historical musicology.



  1. Ana Čizmić Grbić

The Challenges of Doing Research and Teaching Musicology

Since the establishment of the Department of Musicology, research has been an important and integral part of its activities. The Institute of Musi­col­ogy was founded within the Department in 1967 as the first centre for organised musicological research in Croatia. Later renamed Institute of Sys­tematic Musicology, this institution remained essential for the sys­tem­atic exploration of various aspects of the musical culture of Croatia, up until its gradual discontinuation.

This paper will be divided into two segments. The first part will provide a concise historical overview of activities within the Department of Musi­cology, while the second part will examine different aspects of the labour crisis that strains the world of academia. Special emphasis will be placed on the specific position of scholars working in higher education. On the one hand, there is the need to prepare and provide high-quality educa­tion, while on the other, scholars should strive to stay relevant and excel in their respective fields. Both these time-consuming tasks are further com­pli­cated due to limited funding. These issues should be addressed without delay as they are essential for our future as scholars, the educa­tion and formation of future generations of musicologists, and conse­quently for our “small” discipline of musicology.

Ana Čizmić Grbić is assistant at the Department of Musicology, Academy of Music, University of Zagreb. She graduated musicology in 2008, and is cur­rently PhD student at Graz University of Music and Art. Her main field of interest is medieval liturgical music, with special emphasis on cataloguing medieval liturgical music manuscripts, as well as digital medieval studies.

  1. Monika Jurić Janjik

Teaching Musicology: Growing Without “Growing Up”

The simplest definition of musicology – “the scholarly study of music” – al­ready contains two opposite terms that gave musicology its uniqueness on the one hand, but also created the possibility of dispute on the other. Those terms are “scholarly” and “music”, the first one implying a scien­tific, the sec­ond one an artistic aspect. The fact that this discipline is deal­ing with an art form has also left its mark on the teaching activities at the Department of Mu­sicology in Zagreb. At one point the possibility of the Department’s exclu­sion from the Academy of Music and a transfer to the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences was entertained, but this never materialised in spite of continued dissatisfaction.

This part of the panel will focus on a historical outline of the development of teaching at the Department. Primarily based on archival records, this paper will demonstrate the changes that have occurred in the Depart­ment’s curric­ulum from its establishment to the present time. Musi­co­log­ical courses were taught in Zagreb even before the Academy of Music was institutionalised, in the late 19th century at the Academy’s predecessor, the Croatian Music Insti­tute. In this initial period musicological teaching en­compassed merely two cours­es – the history of music and the aesthet­ics of music. Meanwhile, in the previous century, and especially in the last 50 years, the spectrum of musico­logical teaching activities has increased significantly. However, in spite of this inner growth of musicology, in the overall academic context in Croatia, musi­col­ogy is still considered not only a “small”, but also an “uncommon” discipline.

Monika Jurić Janjik studied musicology, philosophy and sociology at the Uni­ver­sity of Zagreb. In 2018 she received her PhD at the Croatology Depart­ment of the Centre for Croatian Studies in Zagreb (thesis title: Music in the Works of Dubrovnik Renaissance Authors). She is Assistant Professor at the Department of Musicology, Academy of Music in Zagreb. Since 2013 she has been the secretary of the Croatian Musicological Society and edito­rial board secretary of the International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociol­ogy of Music. Her fields of interest include aesthetics of music, music of the Renais­sance and philosophical thought of Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

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