Musicking in the Context of the War in Ukraine

Prof. Dr. Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann (Max-Planck-Institut für empirische Ästhetik)

The attack on Ukraine in February 2022 not only provoked enormous movements of refugees, as well as a high level of readiness for self-defense, but also directly led to the most diverse musical reactions among the population. Musicians played in bomb shelters and posted videos of it on the Internet to stay in touch with their compatriots and give them comfort; spontaneous choirs formed in the metro stations of Kyiv and Kharkiv where many people sought shelter during the bombings; soldiers and civilians alike processed their experiences, fears and hopes in new songs or song contrafacta and posted these repertoires on the Internet or shared them through social media channels.
In summer 2022, we have started to collect relevant primary and secondary sources. We also conducted a survey on Ukrainians’ use and perception of music in response to the war. In our talk, we want to present the spectrum of this war-related musicking, try to systematize it, and analyze it in terms of its functions and effects. Besides the connection to historical forms of war music, Heinrich Besseler's idea of "Umgangsmusik" will be a central heuristic category for the description and interpretation of this phenomenon. A side glance will apply to similarities to pandemic Corona musicking.


Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann ist Direktorin der Musik-Abteilung am Max-Planck-Institut für empirische Ästhetik in Frankfurt/M. Arbeitsschwerpunkte sind u.a. historische und empirische Zugänge zu verschiedenen Fragen der Musikästhetik, das Musik-Erleben im Konzert, Musikgeschmack sowie Musik und Musikmachen in Zeiten gesellschaftlicher Krisen.

Tetiana Tuchynska ist eine ukrainische Musikwissenschaftlerin und wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Musikabteilung des MPIEA. Bis Kriegsbeginn war sie Dozentin für Musik und Computeranwendungen an der städtischen Musikakademie in Kyiv.