The Master's Programme Applied Musicology is part of the Master Arts and Culture. The programme lasts for one year and has a  60 EC study load. Please refer to the programme book as a supplement to the student website and as a guide during your first weeks of the academic year.


  • The Course planner contains an overview of the courses in your study programme's exam requirements, including useful information about individual courses.
  • Below you will find a detailed description of your curriculum:
  • Compulsory courses (20 EC)
    • Current Musicology
    • Musical Infrastructure
    • Musical Knack Lab 1 (Writing about Music)
    • Musical Knack Lab 2 (Staging Music)
  • Electives (10 EC): A minimum of 5 EC from Electives A is obligatory
    • Electives A
      • Musical Encounters
      • Music and the Moving Image
    • Electives B
      • Expanding Performance
      • Dramaturgical Practices
      • Art and Society: Fieldwork
      • Art and Affect
      • Somatechnics
      • Postcolonial Transitions

You can only start your graduation trajectory after you have successfully completed at least 25 EC from semester I.

During the first term of your programme you choose the contents of your study path, together with your Programme Coordinator or tutor. You can choose one of the following study paths:

Current Musicology (compulsory)

This seminar critically surveys the current state of the field. Students focus on epistemological and heuristic problems facing musicologists today and on the methods available to address them. Over the last decades, the complexity of ways in which music has existed and exists in a globalizing world resulted in significant realignments within musicological research. Traditional paradigms of  musicology such as Eurocentric history, philology, source studies, or music analysis based on autonomy aesthetics have lost their dominance; musicologists now routinely integrate methods and techniques introduced from other disciplines (e.g., literary and cultural studies, anthropology, or art history) into their work, and explore music as a performative and media-based art within a broad range of multidisciplinary and transcultural contexts. Moreover, the impact of (digital) technology and of science and scientific methodologies on the field is on the rise, transforming research, and therefore will receive due attention. Using examples from a variety of historical periods, geographical regions, and musicological subject areas, this course provides an overview of the state of play in musicological research today, alongside  critical reflection on the discipline of musicology within a continually changing environment.

Musical Encounters (elective)

This course will take us on a global journey from Manila to San Francisco, and dazzle us with a wide variety of examples of musical encounters/confrontations: from Bach and Rameau to Beyoncé and Jason Derulo. Along the way we will trace the rise, spread, and disintegration of the unified notion of the ‘Western’ musical tradition, a development that unfolded in tandem with Europe’s gain and loss of ascendancy on the global stage in the last four centuries. By reading across the fields of historical and anthropological musicology, and considering musics from various social and cultural heritages, we aim to increase our understanding of a) how European/Western educated elites have come to define ‘their’ music against the musics of ‘others’, b) how Western music has affected the self-perception of those who saw themselves compelled to engage with Western powers, c) how music has been/still is instrumentalized for consolidating or defying allegiance to cultural-political hegemonies, d) how (post)colonial media shaped, and continue to shape, the way musical diversity and (seeming) equality is promoted in the much-vaunted age of globalization, and e) how music can function (or be made to function) in expressing or repressing intercultural experiences in an essentially hybrid world.

The aim of the course is to increase insight in postcolonial perspectives and methods as they are practiced in the field of music studies today; to enhance the ability of analyzing a substantial amount of literature in a limited period of time and to develop/verbalize one’s view on/critique of the issues at hand; to apply the acquired insights on a case study of one’s own choice; to amend one’s presentation skills in speech and writing.

Musical Infrastructure in an International Context (Compulsory)

The course aims to optimize the knowledge of the history, development and current functioning of various institutions (concert halls, orchestras, ensembles, bands, pop festivals, broadcast organisations and the like) within the European music business. Students will acquire profound insight into the aims, agencies and artistic profiles of these organisations, as well as their audiences, their position within the overall culture industry, the ways in which they are financed, and how their products are disseminated and received. The students will be trained to analyze these profiles, as well as to situate their findings within diverse, current academic discourses.

The course Musical Infrastructure in an International Context studies the history, development and current functioning of various institutions (concert halls, orchestras, ensembles, bands, pop festivals, broadcast organisations and the like) within the European music business. Topics such as institutional aims, agencies and artistic profiles will be addressed, as well as their audiences, their position within the overall culture industry, the ways in which they are financed, how their products are disseminated and received.

The course may concentrate on the classical music infrastructure due to its longstanding tradition, however it will also address other fields (pop, jazz, techno). The students will analyze the profiles of diverse institutions and situate their findings within diverse, current academic discourses. The course includes site visits to Dutch musical organisations as well as guest lectures from key figures within the infrastructure. The course will resonate with the adjacent Musical Knack Lab courses where additional practical skills are trained.

Music and the Moving Image (elective)

The course Music and the Moving Image is devoted to film music this year. Film music is a specific music genre with a history of well over a century. In this course, new research areas will be exploited via lectures, classroom discussion and individual research. Following Neil Lerner (2013), we can argue that ‘[d]riving the study of music here are the underlying assumptions that music together with screen media (understood broadly to accommodate rapidly developing new technologies) participate in important ways in the creation of meaning and that including music in an analysis opens up the possibility for interpretations that remain invisible when only using the eye.’ Technology, aesthetics and implications of the use of music in cinematic media will be examined, using several film-musical theoretical approaches, whereas ideological, historical, social, and performative factors will be incorporated in the debate as well. In this course we follow the discussions, the topics and the paradigm changes, up and including some of the most actual ones. To name a few of the most important that will be addressed in this course: the current attention to the music documentary, for early jazz film formats, improvisation versus meticulously planned film score, silence versus sound, or music accompanying films produced in the Netherlands.

In the first part of this course, we will briefly summarize context and content of the most prominent aspects of the use of music within (most importantly) narrative feature film. The seminars focus on historical contexts of film music, and address key facts and analytical concepts, statistics and terminology that are more or less parallel to the aesthetic and technological development of the feature film. Therefore, the first seminars offer a tour d’horizon on technology, aesthetics and implications of film sound and film music, using several theoretical approaches (Breil, Adorno, Eisler, Copland, Prendergast, Gorbman, Chion, Kassabian, Pisani et alt.).The second part of the course will zoom in on innovative (and/or minimally researched) topics regarding music on screen. The term paper consists of a detailed case study relevant to one of these new topics within the discipline.

Purpose of the course is a) to obtain a thorough specific knowledge of the history of the movie soundtrack, its aesthetics, its technical development, its theoretical debates; b) to become skilled in autonomous audiovisual analysis of soundtracks, using various theoretical models and methods; c) to present proof of these skills in written and verbal assessments; d) to place own research critically into a scholarly discourse. 

Writing about Music: Historical Context, Contemporay Competencies (compulsory)

This course within the practical Musical Knack Lab track trains students in critically reviewing an opus or a performance, conducting an interview, writing liners or program notes or a necrology, as well as handling a grant application for a musical production. Via classroom discussions of samples of reviews and other articles, fundamental issues relevant to writing critically about music will be analyzed, including for example the changing function of music criticism through the ages, modes of persuasion, conventions, language and style. Through individual assignments, the personal writing skills reflecting profound listening, recognition of musical style, form and structure will be thoroughly trained. The final assignment will consist of a jointly produced music magazine, which will be graded in collaboration with professionals in the field. The general classroom language of the course is English; students are allowed to hand in their written work in their native tongue (currently: Eng, Dutch, Germ.). Aim is gaining profound knowledge of and training with a broad array of music-critical genres, while optimizing one’s writing skills.

Staging Music: Programs, Productions, Policies & Pecunia (compulsory)

The course forms part of the practical training track within the Applied Musicology program and studies various aspects surrounding the production of concerts, CDs, radio programs and the like. Solidly grounded in recent musicological debates on issues of programming music, the first part of the course addresses the fundamentals of staging music from a historical, as well as from a practical perspective. In collaboration with experts active in the field, exemplary productions will be analyzed from original program idea, production process, financial and legal challenges, to the final program and financial coda, and reception. In the second part of the course, the students stage a production of their own (fictitious or real, depending on the content). This final product includes meticulous artistic considerations, budgeting details, handling grant applications, writing program notes, press bulletins etc. External experts will criticize and co-grade the final result. This class caters to future decision makers in the music business by means of practical training grounded in musicological background knowledge. The course synergizes with the adjacent Music, Media and the Infrastructure courses in which the international music world is profiled and contextualized. After this course, students will have a thorough knowledge of all relevant aspects of staging a music production. Students will know how different types of music are currently produced and, for a historical perspective, how programming has evolved. The students will have knowledge of the process of artistic decision making, will have a general idea how to budget and finance a production and how to cater the production to specific audiences.   

Exam requirements

When you start this programme, you will be registered for its exam programme. This is a 'translation' of the exam requirements described in the Education and Examination Regulations.In order to complete your Master's programme you will need to meet the exam requirements.

Study Progress Report (SPR)

Your study progress report lists all of your current results, and tells you how far along you are in meeting your exam requirements. View your study progress report in OSIRIS > tab Progress. See the example (pdf, in Ducth) for an explanation of the Study Progress Report.

If you wish to deviate from the curriculum, you must first ask your programme’s Board of Examiners for approval or exemption. In case your request is granted, the changes will be processed in OSIRIS and integrated into your exam programme and Study Progress Review.

In order to graduate, you will need to meet your programme's exam requirements as described in the Education and Examination Regulations. Based on these criteria and your Study Progress Review, the Board of Examiners determines whether you have graduated. The courses that are listed on your Study Progress Review will appear on the International Diploma Supplement (IDS), the attachment that you receive with your diploma. Note that courses listed under the heading ‘Results-Other’ are not part of the examination syllabus and do not appear on the IDS.

If you have questions about your Study Progress Review or find errors in it, contact the Student Desk Humanities.