The Institute Interpretation carries out research into music and musical theatre of the 19th to 21st centuries and puts the research findings into practice. We specialise in ‘Musical Instruments’ and ‘Music Theory’ and in the research areas ‘Pop Music in Context’ and ‘Intersections of Contemporary Music’.

Performance and Interpretation

By combining historical music research and professional practice, this research area focuses on arrangements and interpretations of musical works. We concentrate on sources from the late 18th to 20th century and cover vocal and instrumental music, musical theatre and rehearsal processes. Interpretation research uses newly developed methods to examine the background and decisions that lead to a particular musical sound in a specific context.

Head: NN

Musical Instruments

The history, construction, conservation and development of the instruments are just some of our research themes. As a result, our methods are multidisciplinary and bring together leading specialists from the fields of the natural sciences, instrument making and source studies. One particular focus is on wind instruments. This is, in part, a result of our close collaboration with the ‘Playing Collection’ in Bern. Its collection of over 1,000 wind instruments offers a unique basis for research and experimentation. 

Head: Adrian v. Steiger

Music Theory

Our ‘Music Theory’ projects focus on questions of historically informed composition theory and musical analysis, and we are involved in international research dialogue within the field. Our research centres around the period from the late 18th to the 19th century, and methodological and didactic aspects play a central role. The results can be applied in current teaching practice and are open to questions relating to music education. 

Head: Claudio Bacciagaluppi

Pop Music in Context

This research area examines musical, technological and sociological aspects of pop music in the context of related fields such as film, literature or design. Our research focuses on subculture versus mass culture and on the relationship between production and reception. Research in the field of popular culture is based on the latest trends, instant and communicative. Those who are interested are given the opportunity to take part in national and international research networks, projects and conferences.

Head: Immanuel Brockhaus

Intersections of Contemporary Music

This research area examines threshold phenomena in contemporary music, between classical and mainstream. Our interest lies less in the structure of the works themselves than in artistic practices and their social interaction mechanisms. Our research focuses on the examination of creative production and organisation processes and experimental research into the artistic resources of contemporary music.

Head: Leo Dick