Tokyo University of the Arts Department of Musicology

About us

The Department of Musicology pursues research and instruction in musicology – the study of music. The musicology program seeks to develop highly-trained individuals who go on to pursue musical research or related work.

The department was established in 1949, when the Tokyo Ongaku Gakko (Tokyo Music School, founded in 1887) became the Faculty of Music of Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku. However, the Ongaku Torishirabegakari (Music Investigation Committee, 1879 – 1887), predecessor of Tokyo Ongaku Gakko, was dedicated to both the instruction of practical performance techniques and the research of various types of music, including topics in the history and theory of Japanese and Western music. The curriculum of the Tokyo Music School also included courses on music history, music theory, and aesthetics. This shows that those subjects were already recognized as essential parts of a specialized musical education. Gakuri, the Japanese name for the department, has a lengthy history in Buddhist chants, and was apparently adopted because at the time the term ongakugaku (“musicology”) was unfamiliar to the general public. When it was first founded, the department focused on the history and theory of Western music. Over the years, it has broadened its scope to encompass the history of Japanese and Asian musics and ethnomusicology, resulting in its current educational and research structure that incorporates a broad perspective, responsible for a wide range of musical issues.

Current classes in the Department of Musicology cover a wide range of musical topics, taught in the form of lectures and individual work in specialized music subjects, with an additional focus on learning foreign languages. In addition, practical music techniques and music theory are required subjects, and students are expected to pursue research closely related to musical practice, a particular strength of the university.

Graduate education in the Department of Musicology (master’s and doctoral courses) occurs within the Musicology and Music Studies Department.