Department of Ethnomusicology and Ethnochoreology

Department of Ethnomusicology and Ethnochoreology

The long-term strategy of the Department of Ethnomusicology and Ethnochoreology reflects the increasing interdisciplinarity of its research, the viability of which is evidenced by a remarkably flexible range of subjects resulting from social demand and the current state of social sciences domestically and internationally. The emphasis has gradually shifted from comparative study of non-European music and dance to inquiry into the domestic culture to, more recently, exploring music and dance expressions of the past and present as meaningful human action in the contemporary social and cultural context. Activities continuously conducted include documentation, analysis, classification, transcription, interpretation, archiving, but the team has been equally concerned with diverse types of European and non-European music and dance activities; our research deals with folk, folklore, artistic and commercial activities while following more general aspects shared by all genres. At the same time, new methods are anticipated and current topics are explored which are related, for instance, to the study of ethnic enclaves, migrations and fusions, and urban music and dance. Today, the focus is on the complementarity of multiple directions including the heritage of European folk music study, comparative music studies and the latest trends in the anthropological study of music and dance culture.

Catering to a wide range of topics, the Department builds on existing domestic research while at the same time accommodating new research trends in a wider international context. The Department has a coherent research agenda and its members regularly cooperate on topics where the approaches of ethnomusicology meet those of ethnochoreology. Research in the Department covers a broad spectrum of topics – from folkloristic study of records of traditional folk music and dance, to the analysis and contextualisation of musical and dance expressions, to qualitative research of contemporary music and dance settings. The research agenda of the Department’s members is based on a plurality of methods and consists of (1) making accessible music and dance sources, especially by publishing critical editions which enable analysis, typology-making and further historical and comparative study; (2) (re)interpreting historical sources of music and dance; (3) anthropological study of music and dance based on qualitative research methods, which allow a better understanding of sociocultural and political phenomena and processes through music and dance expressions; (4) study of overlaps between folk art and fine art.


Current and future research agenda:

  • creating a digital system for making accessible folk music and dance culture
  • analysis and critical editions of musical and dance expressions
  • folklorism, revivalism and the folklore movement in the contemporary sociocultural context
  • the role of music and dance in relation to identity creation, nationalism and ideology (the long 19th century)
  • music and dance activities as (a) representation of minorities, political affiliation and community; (b) mode of communication in the public sphere; (c) intangible cultural heritage – transformations, co-modifications and tourism; (d) process of exploring in new ways, and recontextualizing, traditional culture; (e) cultural memory and mnemonic product and activity
  • the composer Leoš Janáček and folklore
  • personalities and institutions: chapters on the history of ethnomusicology in the Czech Lands, Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic (making accessible the funds of O. Hostinský, Z. Nejedlý, J. Horák)

Text structure of the Czech folk songs from the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries (Czech Science Foundation)

Folk song and dance of the Czech lands - digital system for presentation and preservation; NAKI (Ministry of Culture)

Weight and Weightlessness of the Folklore: The Folklore Movement of the Second Half of the 20th Century in Czech Lands (Czech Science Foundation)