Musikwissenschaftliches Institut

Sacred Sound – Musical manifestations of the sacred between theory and practice

Exploration Full Fund (Excellence Strategy at the University of Tübingen)

Fundung period: Oktober 2018–Oktober 2020

News and dates

Lecture by Prof. Dr. Barbara Alge, 22 January 2021, 2 p. m.

Please find more information here.

Lecture by Prof. Dr. Albrecht Fuess, 12 February 2021, 2 p. m.

Please find more information here.

Lecture by Dr. Yasemin Gökpınar, 12 February 2021, 3 p. m.

Please find more information here.

Lecture by Dr. Stephanie Schewe, 12 February 2021, 4 p. m.

Please find more information here.

Conference 19 to 21 March 2020

The conference (originally scheduled 19 to 21 March, 2020) is postponed:
4 to 6 March 2021

Lecture by Prof. Dr. Michael Witzel, 26 March 2021, 2 p. m.

Please find more information here.
In English.

Further information

External research partners

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dieter Fritsch, Institute for Photogrammetry, University of Stuttgart, 0711-685 83386, dieter.fritschspam; 3D-Imaging and Photogrammetrie

Dr. Jasmina Huber, Institute for Jewish Studies, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, 0211-8114293, jhuberspam; Synagogal music in Ashkenazic and Sephardic aereas

Severin Parzinger, Philosophical-Theological University SVD St. Augustin, severin.parzingerspam; Indigenous musical culture of the missions of Chiquitanos, Bolivia

Priv. Doz. Dr. Wolfgang Vögele, University Heidelberg, Faculty of Theology, Insitute of Theology, 0721-33571557, wolfgangvoegele1spam; culture and theology of bells

Prof. Dr. Michael Vorländer, RWTH Aachen University, ITA – Institute of Technical Acoustics, 0241-8097985, mvospam; auralization, virtual acoustics

Research collaboratos

Peter Gietz (M.A.), DAASI International Tübingen, Digital Humanities/(DARIAH-DE, TextGrid), 07071-407109-0, peter.gietzspam

Dr. Matthias Lang, University of Tübingen, eScience-Center, coordinator, 07071-2972837, matthias.langspam

Dr. Anette Sidhu-Ingenhoff, SWR Studio Tübingen, Classical Musik/MusikGlobal, 07071-20938136, anette.sidhuspam

Dr. des. Mujadad Zaman, University of Tübingen, Center for Islamic Theology, 07071-2975389, mujadad.zamanspam; Mysticism in Islamic religious culture


Scientific coordinator

Jörg Büchler M.A.

Schulberg 2 (Pfleghof)
D - 72070 Tübingen
Room 1.071

+49 (0)7071 29-72343


Research assistant

Jannik Franz

Research topic (Abstract)

For almost all religions the musical dimension of sound represents an important factor. This is accompanied also regularly by a sacralisation of sound. While previous research mostly focused on separate factors of a single religion with attention only to either theory or practice, the current project intends to apply innovative interdisciplinary approaches and therefore includes foreign experts and methods of the digital humanities. The project concentrates on the sound phenomenon in itself beyond the conncetion to text, on interrelations between selected factors and on the different ways religions deal with their musical practice in the past as well as in current social discourses, and deduces three exemplary major fields of musical manifestations of the sacred: „A. Sacred Sound – Sacred Space“, B. „Tradition and change“ and C. „Communication with the transcendent“. Guiding principle for all studies is the differentiated view on both unifying and dividing aspects – beyond hasty judgements on similarities or incompatibilities. Research into the relationship of religions to music and art in the past and the present also offers a new chance for interreligious dialogue.

Subproject A: Sacred Sound – Sacred Space

Research questions: How does interaction between architecture and interior of the sacred space on the one hand and sound on the other proceed; what is the relationship of various concepts concerning sacred space to their sociocultural constructions, to religious experiences and to liturgical forms.

Subproject B: Tradition and change

Research questions: Presuppositions and processes that turn sound or musical expressions into sacred traditions, mechanisms of translation processes between different religious cultures and inside religous communities.

Subproject C: Communication with the transcendent

Resarch questions: Functions of sound as a medium of communication with the transcendent; vocal performance of sacred texts, functions of sound in considerations of magic aspects, semantics of acoustical generators of signals, reflections of such media functions in terms of theology, ritual theory, musical history and musical performance within various religions.