Tilo Hähnel



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Ongoing Project


»Technologies of Singing: Research into the Dispositif Singing – Body – Media in the Early Years of Recording«

Musicology Seminar Detmold/Paderborn, DFG, since 2016.
Heads: Rebecca Grotjahn, Malte Kob, Karin Martensen

This project aims at writing a history of singing that incorporates the body and media, particularly for the first decades of the twentieth century. It is assumed that the new medium of recording provoked a rethinking of the body, that is related to changes in singing practice against the backdrop of a mechanized concept of the body. That singing has been increasingly understood as an embodied technique is not only clear from theories of singing, but also from changes in singing, for instance with respect to stance, breathing, vibrato, and the use of different registers.

This approach is reflected in the four intertwined project sections:

  1. careers of singers as media careers
  2. technique and aesthetics of vocal recordings
  3. sources and documents concerning the aesthetics of vocal recordings and
  4. analysis of vocal technique in body and media discourse.


Completed Projects


»Voice and singing in popular music of the U.S.A. (1900–1960)«

The Liszt School of Music, Weimar, DFG, 2011–2014.
Head: Martin Pfleiderer

How does one appropriately describe and interpret pop voices and singing styles? How do vocal expressions relate to the complex of lyrics and musical composition, of performances and images of singers, of processes of identity construction and cultural stereotypes?

Guided by these questions and using examples of singers from Vaudeville, American Popular Song and Musical, Gospel Music, Blues und Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, Country Music und Folk Music as well as Rock'n'Roll and early Soul, the research project Voice and Singing in Popular Music in the US (1900-1960) analyzes and illustrates how vocal expressions have developed and influenced each other across genre divides, and how they have influenced and reflected images, cultural stereotypes and collective identities.

The research project focuses on these central concerns:

Additionally, the software Vocalmetrics has been developed. It allows its users to visualize similarities and differences between means of vocal expression in over 200 representative sound examples from the history of US-American popular music; Vocalmetrics will be made available as freeware and can be used for other musical genres and research questions.

Publication (selection)

Martin Pfleiderer, Tilo Hähnel, Kathrin Horn und Christian Bielefeldt (Hg): Stimme, Kultur, Identität – vokaler Ausdruck in der populären Musik der USA, 1900–1960 (= texte zur populären musik 8), Bielefeld: transcript 2015.

DOI: 10.14361/9783839430866 | bibtex


»Computer-generated expressive music performance for musicological listening analysis«

Faculty of computer science, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Zentrum für Telemann-Pflege und -Forschung Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, 2008–2011.

Publications (Selection)

Tilo Hähnel: Baroque Performance – a research study on eighteenth century music performance (= Studies in Cognitive Musicology 2), Osnabrück: Electronic Publishing Osnabrück 2013.

Online-View (external link) | bibtex

Axel Berndt: Musik für interaktive Medien: Arrangement- und Inter­pretations­techniken, Dissertation OvGU Magdeburg, Munich: Dr. Hut 2011.

external links: Full text | to the author