Current Research Projects

Tango-Danceability of Music in European Perspective

funded by the FWF (Project No V423)



The two elements “music” and “dance” of the complex artform “tango argentino” are increasingly researched by academics from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To date, no studies have connected explorations in tango music and dance on an analytical level. However, in order to understand the way a genre is perceived and development, its basic elements have to be studied in great depth, and in relation to each other. This study will address these issues and investigate the interrelation of musical parameters and movement repertoires particular for tango argentino.
In this study, tango argentino is considered to be a cosmopolitan phenomenon, organized as an international scene, and is examined under such premises in the European context and presence. Within the international, especially the European tango scene, “tango-danceability” of music is an intensely discussed topic. Some tango dancers consider types of music outside of the classical tango repertoire (“non-tangos”) more danceable than certain tango music, a circumstance which is reflected in the title of this proposal. Building on this emic (inside perspective) topic, the study develops it into the etic (outside perspective) research question: “How do music and dance parameters as well as scene inherent sociocultural aspects shape the way tango danceability of music is perceived by European tango dancers?“


Project team:

Kendra Stepputat, Mattia Scassellati, Christopher Dick

official project website:



Constructing identity through revaluation of indigenous cultural forms: a case study on Popbandari Music

PhD Project Babak Nikzat

As of the 1960s, because of Iranians’ great enthusiasm for Western culture, Iranian pop music was strongly influenced by Western commercial music and frowned upon the use of elements from regional music traditions. Since the 1980s, various causes, such as the growing Western interest in oriental culture and Iranians’ renewed interest in their own culture, have led to new marketing strategies for pop music. As a result, elements of regional and classical Persian music are now being consciously integrated into pop music, including bandari, a traditional style from southern Iran. This project aims firstly to examine this style in its cultural context, secondly to examine the process of its integration into pop music from a sociocultural perspective, and thirdly, to make a musical analysis of "bandari-pop", comparing its structures to those of traditional genres. Such a comparison makes it possible to trace the process of adaptation and alteration of the original musical elements under the influence of Western music. This is an example of how new commercial music genres emerge as hybrid forms and become a means of establishing identity.





Music making in the Lungau: a musical ethnography in an Austrian Alp-region

PhD Project Florian Wimmer


The Lungau is a district located in the southeastern corner of the province Salzburg and covers an area of 1000 km2 and has about 20.000 inhabitants. Its rural and remote geographic location influences the cultural and social life of the area – the Lungau is generally known as a traditional region, where various traditions and customs are being maintained – and causes structural and infrastructural disadvantages for the region, which result in commuting and emigration. Nonetheless, the Lungau is part of the fast-changing western postmodern world, with all its complexities and cultural flows. Altogether the Lungau represents an ideal biotope for cultural research and can also serve as model for other structurally weak regions in the Austrian Alps.
My dissertation thesis focuses on the musical life – especially on music making – of the region, which I want to present in the form of a musical ethnography. I want to present a broad, comprehensive and comparative picture of the different musics that are practiced in the region and its connection to social life. The focus of the project is to analyze different concepts and understandings of music and music making and link them to the social life of the region as well as to analyze different concepts of tradition, innovation and authenticity. These are terms/concepts that are often used to describe the music ethnomusicologists and Volksmusikforscher usually deal with, but which remain very vague and unclear and are often used as ideological weapons in struggles among conservative traditionalists and innovators. Thus a discursive examination of these terms/concept can gain new theoretic insights for both ethnomusicology and the German/Austrian Volkmusikforschung.