Musicology (Greek: μουσική mousikē = “music” and -λογία -logia (-logy) = “the study of”, from λόγος logos = “word” or “reason”) is the scholarly study of music. The word is used in narrow, broad and intermediate senses. In the narrow sense, musicology is confined to the music history of Western culture. In the intermediate sense, it includes all relevant cultures and a range of musical forms, styles, genres and traditions. In the broad sense, it includes all musically relevant disciplines and all manifestations of music in all cultures. The broad meaning corresponds most closely to the word’s etymology, the entry on “musicology” in Grove’s dictionary, the entry on “Musikwissenschaft” in Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, and the classic approach of Adler (1885).
In the broad definition, the parent disciplines of musicology include history; cultural studies and gender studies; philosophy, aesthetics and semiotics; ethnology and cultural anthropology; archeology and prehistory; psychology and sociology; physiology and neuroscience; acoustics and psychoacoustics; and computer/information sciences and mathematics. Musicology also has two central, practically oriented subdisciplines with no parent discipline: performance practice and research, and the theory, analysis and composition of music. The disciplinary neighbors of musicology address other forms of art, performance, ritual and communication, including the history and theory of the visual and plastic arts and of architecture; linguistics, literature and theater; religion and theology; and sport. Musical knowledge and know-how are applied in medicine, education and music therapy, which may be regarded as the parent disciplines of Applied Musicology.
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