Choreomusicology is a portmanteau word joining the words choreology and musicology.[1][2] As a discipline, choreomusicology emerged at the end of the twentieth century as a field of study concerned with the relationship between music and dance. More precisely, choreomusicology grew out of Euro-American performance traditions that considered musical composition and dance choreography as separate specialties. Not all performance genres separate music and dance into separate theoretical categories. The directionality of the relationship between sound and movement is not always fixed.[3] Choreomusicologists hold that studying the variable relationships between sound and movement in diverse performance arts can provide insight into perceptual sensibilities, cultural processes, and interpersonal dynamics. Famous artists whose works exhibit rich choreomusical relationships include: John Cage and Merce Cunningham, Igor Stravinsky and George Balanchine, and Louis Horst and Martha Graham. Interesting choreomusical relationships also exist in West Sumatran Tari Piring, West Javanese Pencak Silat, and Afro-Brazilian Capoeira to name but a few examples.[4][5][6]

The following institutions have developed programs practicing and/or researching choreomusicology: accompagnement choregraphique CNSMDP (Paris), continuing studies at Institut del Teatre (Barcelona), MAD at DNSPA (Copenhagen). MCD at AND (Rome - L'Aquila).

See also


  1. ^ Mason, Paul H. (2012). "Music, dance and the total art work: choreomusicology in theory and practice". Research in Dance Education. 13: 5–24. doi:10.1080/14647893.2011.651116.
  2. ^ Damsholt, Inger. "Choreomusical Discourse. The relationship between Dance and Music". Choreomusical Discourse. The Relationship Between Dance and Music.
  3. ^ "Choreomusicology Research Papers -".
  4. ^
  5. ^ Mason, P.H. (2012). "Music, dance and the total art work: choreomusicology in theory and practice". Research in Dance Education. 13 (1): 5–24. doi:10.1080/14647893.2011.651116.
  6. ^ Mason, Paul H. (2014). "Tapping the Plate or Hitting the Bottle: Sound and Movement in Self-accompanied and Musician-accompanied Dance". Ethnomusicology Forum. 23 (2): 208–228. doi:10.1080/17411912.2014.926632.

Further reading

  • Hodgins, Paul. (1992) Relationships between score and choreography in Twentieth-Century Dance: Music, Movement and Metaphor, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press.
  • Jordan, Stephanie (2011). "Choreomusical Conversations: Facing a Double Challenge". Dance Research Journal. 43 (1): 43–64. doi:10.5406/danceresearchj.43.1.0043.
  • Mason, P.H. (2012). "Music, dance and the total art work: choreomusicology in theory and practice". Research in Dance Education. 13 (1): 5–24. doi:10.1080/14647893.2011.651116.

External links

Benesh Movement Notation

Benesh Movement Notation (BMN), also known as Benesh notation or choreology, is a dance notation system used to document dance and other types of human movement. Invented by Joan and Rudolf Benesh in the late 1940s, the system uses abstract symbols based on figurative representations of the human body. It is used in choreography and physical therapy, and by the Royal Academy of Dance to teach ballet.

Benesh notation is recorded on a five line staff from left to right, with vertical bar lines to mark the passage of time. Because of its similarity to modern staff music notation, Benesh notation can be displayed alongside (typically below) and in synchronization with musical accompaniment.


Ethnomusicology is the study of music from the cultural and social aspects of the people who make it. It encompasses distinct theoretical and methodical approaches that emphasize cultural, social, material, cognitive, biological, and other dimensions or contexts of musical behavior, instead of only its isolated sound component.

Folklorists, who began preserving and studying folklore music in Europe and the US in the 19th century, are considered the precursors of the field prior to the Second World War. The term ethnomusicology is said to have been first coined by Jaap Kunst from the Greek words ἔθνος (ethnos, "nation") and μουσική (mousike, "music"), It is often defined as the anthropology or ethnography of music, or as musical anthropology. During its early development from comparative musicology in the 1950s, ethnomusicology was primarily oriented toward non-Western music, but for several decades it has included the study of all and any musics of the world (including Western art music and popular music) from anthropological, sociological and intercultural perspectives. Bruno Nettl once characterized ethnomusicology as a product of Western thinking, proclaiming that "ethnomusicology as western culture knows it is actually a western phenomenon"; in 1992, Jeff Todd Titon described it as the study of "people making music".


Musicology (from Greek, Modern μουσική (mousikē), meaning 'music', and -λογία (-logia), meaning 'study of') is the scholarly analysis and research-based study of music. Musicology departments traditionally belong to the humanities, although music research is often more scientific in focus (psychological, sociological, acoustical, neurological, computational). A scholar who participates in musical research is a musicologist.Traditionally, historical musicology (commonly termed "music history") has been the most prominent sub-discipline of musicology. In the 2010s, historical musicology is one of several large musicology sub-disciplines. Historical musicology, ethnomusicology, and systematic musicology are approximately equal in size. Ethnomusicology is the study of music in its cultural context. Systematic musicology includes music acoustics, the science and technology of acoustical musical instruments, and the musical implications of physiology, psychology, sociology, philosophy and computing. Cognitive musicology is the set of phenomena surrounding the computational modeling of music. In some countries, music education is a prominent sub-field of musicology, while in others it is regarded as a distinct academic field, or one more closely affiliated with teacher education, educational research, and related fields. Like music education, music therapy is a specialized form of applied musicology which is sometimes considered more closely affiliated with health fields, and other times regarded as part of musicology proper.


Sociomusicology (from Latin: socius, "companion"; from Old French musique; and the suffix -ology, "the study of", from Old Greek λόγος, lógos : "discourse"), also called music sociology or the sociology of music, refers to both an academic subfield of sociology that is concerned with music (often in combination with other arts), as well as a subfield of musicology that focuses on social aspects of musical behavior and the role of music in society.

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