Core areas of study on Music in CESEM include history and cultural heritage, repertories and their sources, socio‐communicative models and reception, cognitive and psycho‐acoustical processes, and applied music technologies.
International recognition has been achieved by CESEM in all these areas through the high quality and innovative character of its published output.
Research at CESEM takes largely an interdisciplinary approach and is structured internally since 2009 in five Research Groups:
1) Early Music Studies; 2) Music in the Modern Period; 3) Contemporary Music; 4) Music Education and Human Development; and 5) Critical Theory and Communication.
Members of these Groups cooperate reciprocally in five transverse Thematic Lines, which involve external partners as well: 1) Music Palaeography and Editing; 2) Opera Studies; 3) Luso‐Brazilian Studies; 4) Music Iconography; and 5) Music and Literature. Theme 6), Therapeutic Effects of Music, is pursued in cooperation with external partners.
Researchers also cooperate in common projects, the organization of scientific events and different outreach activities, and the advanced training of students.
CESEM participates in joint projects both national and international; has partnerships, protocols and agreements with research centres and Universities all over the world, libraries and archives, theatres, municipalities and other cultural agents; and is an active part of, or has a central or leading role in, international scientific networks and organizations like the Cantus Index; RIMAI‐Early Iberian Music Network; Caravelas‐Study Group of Luso‐ Brazilian Music; Ibero‐American Network on the Sociology of Music; the Critical Theory Network; and the International Musicological Society, to name just a few of the most significant.
Although based in Lisbon at the FCSH‐UNL, CESEM includes associated research teams at the Un. of Évora, and the Polytechnic Institutes in Lisbon and Oporto, plus individual researchers working elsewhere.
CESEM is host to post‐graduate students, doctoral and post‐doctoral fellows and presently hires two senior research fellows through the “Investigador FCT” programme.
The research team presented for 2015‐2020 will involve c. 170 researchers, nearly 80 holding a PhD or Doctorate degree—of which 54 are integrated members—and 62 doctoral students.
In support of research and advanced training, CESEM holds a growing specialized library with full searchable catalogue online, which is the most comprehensive and updated bibliographical resource in Musicology in the whole country.
It also runs three laboratories at FCSH‐UNL, equipped for specific tasks: 1) LIM‐“Lab. de Informática Musical” (Computer Music Lab), a facility for electroacoustic research; 2) LAMCI‐“Lab. de Música e Comunicação na Infância”, dedicated to experimental research on Psychology of Music, with particular focus on Music and Communication in Infancy; and 3) LAPEM‐“Lab. de Paleografia e Edição Musical”, which supports source and repertorial studies, the PEM‐Portuguese Early Music Database and the Lisbon Cantigas de Santa Maria Database, and palaeographic and music editing work within both specific research projects and CESEM’s programme of editions.
The main strategic goals of CESEM for 2015‐2020 can be summarized as follows:
1) Consolidation of areas where we have been internationally acclaimed. CESEM’s pioneering Early Music databases at LAPEM are symptomatic of its leading role in research on Iberian musical sources, which led to CESEM’s creation of the RIMAI network (Lisbon‐Oxford‐Madrid‐Barcelona). Studies of Luso‐Brazilian Music have been transformed beyond recognition by CESEM’s international team effort and cooperation through CESEM‐based group Caravelas. Research on Music Communication in Infancy at LAMCI has been praised everywhere as highly innovative and socially significant, while extremely rigorous in its methodological basis. Our research on electronic sound and tools, centred in LIM, led to a 1st prize in the US. The intellectual quality and interdisciplinary daring of research done on 19th‐century Opera, instrumental music and critical theory won CESEM another prize in Italy and publication of papers in some of the most distinguished journals. Consolidation will be mostly done through each Research Group; it requires permanent human resources at, and technical update of our Labs (LIM, LAMCI and LAPEM).
2) CESEM presently has at both the national and international levels, a unique track record and critical mass in the History of Iberian and Luso‐Brazilian Music. This supports its ambition to prepare, mostly in 2018‐2020, an innovative Thematic History of Music in Portugal and Brazil, to which all CESEM groups will contribute under the direction of its coordinator. Up to now in both Portugal and Brazil, Music History has been generally marred by anachronistic assumption of modern political borders, guesswork due to insufficient research, uncritical transfer of historical paradigms from other artistic domains, teleological style‐evolution assumptions leading to undervaluation or suppression of non‐canonical models or artistic registers, little attention to modes of production and communication, unawareness of exchange or transfer circuits for music and musicians, and social or nationalistic prejudice. The new, supra‐national Thematic History will challenge these limitations, and also imperial‐ minded narratives of Western Music that acknowledge artistic value only when it fits central‐European models of technical or aesthetical nature.