Visualization, Reconstruction, and Simulation: Methods of Digital Musicology in Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies Contexts

Digital methods have so far been used in musicology primarily in subject-specific, mostly philological contexts. However, the possibility of data modelling and networking offers equally great potential for cultural studies or interdisciplinary historical questions. Digital data processing can be used to create visualizations, reconstructions, and simulations that focus on artistic networks, historical performance events, or contexts. Criticism that the testing of contingencies is diametrically opposed to fact-based historical thinking can be countered by the fact that the use of models is a heuristic method by means of which the resilience of facts can be tested, and explanatory models derived. For the examination of ephemeral performative properties of music as well as their cultural contexts characterized by ambiguities, they offer special potential, also about transmission situations, which can exist in problematically small as well as large amounts of data. In the panel, the possibilities as well as the limits that arise from this will be demonstrated based on use cases:
Peter Stadler’s contribution will deal with the potentials and limitations of data preparation and visualization in the field of network analysis using the Albert Schatz Libretto Collection of the Library of Congress, Washington. The Schatz Collection is one of the most extensive libretto collections of the 18th and 19th centuries, which is invaluable in terms of information on opera actresses. Due to the quantity and quality of the data, it can be ideally investigated with network research methods and graphically displayed using visualization programs such as Gephi. Among other things, the mobility of actors and the resulting relationships (or non-relationships) between different performance locations can be investigated.
Henner Drewes and Vera Grund will address the potential of digital simulation for historical dance research using the example of 18th century Viennese ballet repertoire. Information containing musical notations on dance and storing dance sources such as images, choreographic notations or choreographic descriptions on music can be related to each other through data networking. With the MovEngine software developed by Drewes, which enables the simulation of body movements, the results can be displayed and put into perspective to proof the resilience of the data.
Hasan Baran Firat and Massimiliano Masullo will present the potential of digital humanities methods in the context of historical soundscape research, using the 18th century Naples soundscape as a case study. They aim to demonstrate how digital humanities methods can enhance our understanding of past sounds, not only by providing a new means of analysis, but also by offering innovative ways to engage with historical reconstructions. Additionally, the authors will share their experience of reconstructing a historical soundscape, highlighting the limitations of virtual auditory reconstructions and the various listening strategies that can be employed for similar sound studies.


Dr. Henner Drewes is a lecturer for dance notation and movement analysis at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen.
Dr. Hasan Baran Firat is PhD at the Department of Architecture and Industrial Design of the Università degli Studi della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”
Dr. Vera Grund is a research associate at the Detmold/Paderborn Musicology Seminar.
Prof. Ing. Massimiliano Masullo is associate professor at the Department of Architecture and Industrial Design of the Università degli Studi della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”
Prof. Dr. Andreas Münzmay is professor for musicology at Paderborn University (Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar Detmold/Paderborn; ZenMEM Center for Music – Edition – Media; KreativInstitut.OWL), co-spokesperson in the NFDI4Culture consortium and academy professor in the „Beethovens Werkstatt“ long-term project of the Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz.
Peter Stadler is musicologist and Digital Humanist and a research associate at the Carl Maria von Weber Complete Edition at Paderborn University. He is active in the field of the Music and Text Encoding Initiative.



14.00–14.30 "Artistic Relationships Made Visible. A Network Investigation of the Libretti from the Albert Schatz Collection"
Peter Stadler

14.30–15.00 "Visualizing Historical Music and Dance"
Dr. Henner Drewes, Dr. Vera Grund

15.00–15.30 "Enhancing the Experience of Past Sounds: Innovative Ways to Engage with the Historical Sounds of Naples"
Dr. Hasan Baran Firat, Prof. Ing. Massimiliano Masullo