About the Musicological Society

The Musicological Society, alongside the Music Academy of the University of Sarajevo, has positioned itself as one of the key contributors to the science of music in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was founded on June 11, 1997, under the initiative of a group of professors from the Music Academy of the University of Sarajevo. In the early post-war years, they recognized the necessity of systematically organizing the past and the significance of a turning point to establish a new discourse on music and a vision for the future. The Initiative Committee, led by Dr. Ivan Čavlović, along with Dr. Selma Ferović, Ms. Miroslava Fulanović-Šošić, Dr. Vinko Krajtmajer, Prof. Milorad Milić, Ms. Jasna Spaić, and the then-dean Mr. Faruk Sijarić, established the Musicological Society as a precondition for strengthening the institutional capacities of music science in the newly formed state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their goal was also to prevent the loss of historical memory and understand the challenges of an uncertain future.

This initiative marked the beginning of creating a Bosnian-Herzegovinian knowledge platform for music, or the formation of a continuous, stable, and dynamic network of scientists who would collaborate to expand knowledge, primarily about Bosnian-Herzegovinian music and then music in general. The approach was strategic, and today we can see that it was visionary, as the way the Society was established anticipated all later phases of the institutional development of Bosnian-Herzegovinian musicology. The initial mission of positioning it as the “intersection of ideas and projects that will one day result in writing the history of Bosnian-Herzegovinian music” has been preserved in 25 years of continuous activity.

The first step involved connecting experts from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina, and then the region and abroad, including the Bosnian-Herzegovinian diaspora, who were involved in a series of projects of utmost importance for local musicology. These initiatives predominantly relied on the project of musicological and ethnomusicological research, titled Fundamental Research for the History of Music in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This project, which Dr. Čavlović, in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Ankica Petrović, had carried out for the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ANUBiH) in 1990/91, was taken over and expanded by the Musicological Society in 1997.

In explaining the crucial segments of this project, Dr. Čavlović emphasized the imperative need for collecting, musicologically processing data, and writing about the history of music that had occurred, as well as what was yet to come. Music, as one of the “pillar indicators of a high level of civilization, cultural and artistic achievements beyond everyday life, beyond economics or politics,” requires exceptional effort, individual, collective, and social. But when achieved, it remains as evidence of a certain societal stance, and when distorted, it becomes the history of that society.

Acknowledging that the Bosnian-Herzegovinian scientific/professional and broader public did not know enough about its music history, the set tasks and goals of the project included the following steps: identifying, finding, and researching all available archival-documentary material; listing and collecting materials; creating archives and libraries of audio and written documents; creating a computerized and microfilmed database; publishing research results. Numerous subsequent studies in this field relied on this methodological framework.

Through its regular activities, over the past 25 years, the Musicological Society of FBiH, in addition to publishing projects, has organized numerous scientific and artistic projects, scientific conferences, round tables, presentations that, along with the activities of the Music Academy, maintained continuity in the musicological activities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, this association has also been directed towards actively supporting the development and preservation of knowledge and the development of music in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It initiated projects to stimulate compositional creativity through commissions and the publication of works by Bosnian-Herzegovinian authors, as well as their concert presentations. In this regard, we should not forget the aspect of traditional music, which, through the activities of the Society, was treated through scientific processing, performance, and music publishing. Alongside the Music Academy, an institution fundamental to the practice and education in the field of music science in Bosnia and Herzegovina since its establishment in 1955, the Musicological Society has been an organization supporting Bosnian-Herzegovinian musicology since its founding in 1997.

The establishment of the Society was preceded by the launch of the Journal for Musical Culture “Music,” the first post-war journal for publishing original scientific and professional papers in the fields of musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, and music pedagogy. One of the founders and the first editor-in-chief of the publication was Dr. Ivan Čavlović, and the editorial board at the time included Maja Baralić, deputy editor-in-chief, and eminent professors Dr. Selma Ferović, Dr. Vinko Krajtmajer, Ms. Jasna Spaić, Milorad Milić, Rada Nuić, Mr. Faruk Sijarić, Tamara Karača, and Tatjana Pandurević. This journal has been profiled as one of the leading publications of its kind in the region and is recognized internationally, as evidenced by its indexing in prominent scientific databases such as RILM (Répertoire International de la Littérature Musicale), ERIH PLUS (The European Reference Index for the Humanities and the Social Sciences), EBSCO Information Services, and CEEOL (Central and East European Open Library). The renowned members of the International Editorial Board, consisting of distinguished names in international musicology, further testify to its significance. It is very important for Bosnia and Herzegovina to have such a reputable publication that is relevant to musicology on an international level.

Another important aspect of the activity of the Musicological Society of FBiH, directly realizing the idea of networking active members of the musicological scientific community, is the biennial International Symposium “Music in Society,” first realized in October 1998, at the initiative of Dr. Ivan Čavlović and his colleagues from the Music Academy in Sarajevo. The two-day program, focused on the position and role of music in societies in transition, brought together 22 speakers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Austria, and the United States. Today, the overarching theme “Music in Society” indicates an interest in gaining insight into the multidimensional, diversified, and transdisciplinary discourse of contemporary music science. It provides a platform for the exchange of results from recent research and insight into the breadth of the research space covered by domestic and regional musicology. With this symposium, the Society forms the heart of the musicological network that spreads from Bosnia and Herzegovina to the farthest international spaces. Over the 13 editions held so far, more than 800 experts from the fields of musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, music pedagogy, and related scientific disciplines from different parts of the world have participated. The Musicological Society has developed collaboration and active professional relationships with many of them. This conference, under whose auspices a series of thematically diverse sessions are held, is significant in that it results in a collection of presented scientific papers, “Music in Society. Proceedings,” a serial publication indexed in EBSCO and RILM databases and established in the international space as it is compiled in bilingual form and is now presented in an online edition.

We believe that in the third decade of the Musicological Society, strengthened by the engagement of new generations of members, researchers, artists, and educators, we will witness the continuity of its active operation, the realization of long-term and developmental projects, and the initiation of new initiatives in the continuity of the Society’s fundamental contribution to the development of music science in Bosnia and Herzegovina.