Josef Kuckertz

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Josef Kuckertz (born November 24, 1930 in Würselen ; † March 25, 1996 in Berlin ) was a German ethnomusicologist who specialized in classical and folk Indian and Iranian music .


Kuckertz completed an apprenticeship as a choir director at the Rheinische Musikschule in Cologne. From 1957 to 1962 he studied German and ancient history as well as musicology at the University of Cologne with Karl Gustav Fellerer and Marius Schneider . In the latter, he was with a dissertation on 1962 shape variations in the of Bartók collected Romanian colinde doctorate . Colinden are recruits who perform on the streets for children at Christmas and New Year.

Grave of Prof. Dr. Josef Kuckertz on the cath. St. Matthias Cemetery in Berlin (Tempelhof)

Years as an assistant at the Musicological Institute and research stays in India followed. In 1967, he was with a thesis on the form and melodic structure of the Carnatic music of South India habilitation . At the end of 1970 he received a full professorship for ethnomusicology at Cologne University. In the spring of 1980 he moved to Berlin, where he held the chair of the seminar for comparative musicology at the Free University until his death in March 1996. For several years he was dean for the Department of Classical Studies . Kuckertz died shortly before his retirement at the age of 65.

In 1986 the Pontificio Instituto di Musica Sacra of the Curia in Rome awarded him an honorary doctorate .


During the field research, Kuckertz accompanied local colleagues such as Bigamudre Chaitanya Deva in central India, Mohammad-Taqi Massoudieh in southern Iran and Cyril de Silva Kulatillake in Sri Lanka. In the countries mentioned, Kuckertz was interested in the relationship between classical music and regional folk music styles. In numerous essays he dealt with the melodic structures, especially of popular religious music in South India.

From 1977 to 1996, Josef Kuckertz was editor of the yearbook for musical folklore and ethnology initiated by Fritz Bose in 1963 and from 1980 to 1996 of the series Contributions to Ethnomusicology , which was founded by Kurt Reinhard . Together with Walter Salmen and Marius Schneider he gave NGOMA. Studies in folk music and non-European art music .

As a university teacher, Kuckertz supervised the dissertations of Rüdiger Schumacher (1953–2007, focus on Indonesia, research assistant at Kuckertz in Berlin), Gert-Matthias Wegner (* 1949, focus on Nepal), Ulrich Wegner (* 1955, Middle East and Africa) , Gerd Grupe (* 1955), Raimund Vogels , (* 1956, focus on sub-Saharan Africa), Regine Allgayer-Kaufmann (* 1950, Brazil) and Gretel Schwörer-Kohl (* 1951, Southeast Asia).

The position of professor for comparative musicology at the Free University was continued after Kuckertz 'death by vacant replacements, only in March 2003 the institute received a successor with Gert-Matthias Wegner.


Independent works

  • Variation in shape in the Romanian colinden collected by Bartók. (Dissertation) Bosse, Regensburg 1963 ( Cologne Contributions to Music Research , Volume 23)
  • Form and melody formation of the carnatic music of South India - in the vicinity of the Near Eastern and North Indian art music. (Habilitation thesis) 2 vols. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1970 (series of publications by the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University)
  • With Mohammad-Taqi Massoudieh: Music in Būšehr, South Iran. 2 Vols. Katzbichler, Munich / Salzburg 1976 (Josef Kuckertz, Walter Salmen, Marius Schneider (Eds.): NGOMA. Studies on folk music and non-European art music. Volume 2)
  • With Bigamudre Chaitanya Deva: Bhārūḍ, Vāghyā-muralī and the Ḍaff-gān of the Deccan. Studies in the regional folk music of South India. (Text and sheet music) Musikverlag Emil Katzbichler, Munich / Salzburg 1981 (Josef Kuckertz, Walter Salmen, Marius Schneider (Eds.): Ngoma. Studies on folk music and non-European art music. Volume 6)
  • Music in Asia I. India and the Middle East. Supplement to the school work "Musik Aktuell" (edited by Helmut Segler) Bärenreiter, Kassel 1981
  • Selina Thielemann (edited and translated from German): Essays on Indian Music by Professor Josef Kuckertz. Indian Musicological Society, Bombay / Baroda 1999


  • The sense of form in Indian music. In: Die Musikforschung 17. 1964, pp. 414–420
  • The composition technique in the polyphonic ordinaries of the 14th century. In: Church Music Yearbook. Cologne 1968, pp. 45-70
  • The melody types of the West Syrian liturgical chants. In: Church Music Yearbook. Cologne 1969, pp. 61-98
  • Origin and Development of the Rabāb. In: Sangeet Natak, Journal of the Sangeet Natak Akademi New Delhi 15. 1970, pp. 16-30
  • Chants of the Toḍa. In: Musicae Scientiae Collectanea, Festschrift KG Fellerer for his 70th birthday. Arno Volk, Cologne 1973, pp. 297-315
  • The art music of South India in the 19th century . In: Robert Günther (Hrsg.): Musical cultures of Asia, Africa and Oceania in the 19th century. Gustav Bosse, Regensburg 1973, pp. 97–130
  • Classical music of India and its reception in Europe in the 20th century. In: Archives for Musicology . Volume 31, Issue 3, 1974, pp. 170-184
  • Origin and Construction of the Melodies in Baul Songs of Bengal. In: Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council 7. 1976, pp. 85-91
  • Chants of the Santāl. In: Max Peter Baumann , Rudolf Maria Brandl, Kurt Reinhard (eds.): Festschrift for Felix Hoerburger for his 60th birthday. Laaber, Laaber 1977, pp. 209-220
  • Songs of the Ḍaff frame drum in Central India . In: Musica Antiqua. Acta Scientifica. Filharmonia Pomorska, Bydgoszcz 1978, pp. 357-371
  • Introduction to non-European music in individual presentations. (Selection from Music in the past and present. ) Bärenreiter, Kassel 1980
  • Polyphony in India . In: Musica Antiqua, Acta Scientifica. Filharmonia Pomorska, Bydgoszcz 1982, pp. 499-512
  • Folk songs in Karnataka. In: Journal of the Music Academy Madras 64, 1988, pp 170-179
  • Word and melody in South Indian bhajan chants. In: Jobst Peter Fricke (Hrsg.): The language of music. Festschrift for Klaus Wolfgang Niemöller on his 60th birthday. Bosse, Regensburg 1989, pp. 347-360
  • Comparative Musicology in Berlin - Approaches and Experiences. In: Festschrift for Rudolf Stephan on his 65th birthday. Laaber, Laaber 1990, pp. 559-570
  • Songs of Brahmans in South Karnataka, India. In: Tokumaru Yoshihiko u. a. (Ed.): Tradition and its future in music. Report of the IVth Symposium of the International Musicological Society, Osaka, Japan. Mita, Tokyo 1991, pp. 187-196
  • Ethnomusicology in the field of science. In: Die Musikforschung, Volume 48, Issue 2, April – June 1995, pp. 117–130
  • What is Indian music? In: Archives for Musicology, Volume 53, Issue 2, 1996, pp. 91-104

Sound recordings

  • South Indian temple instruments. Sound documents for musicology KM 0001, Staatliche Museen Berlin (recordings and booklet) LP, 1969
  • Sri Lanka. Singhalese Music: Singing and Drumming. (An Anthology of South-East Asian Music) Bärenreiter-Musicaphon BM 30 SL 2566 (recordings and booklet) LP, 1979


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gisela Piper: Dissertations supervised by Josef Kuckertz. In: Festschrift for Josef Kuckertz, pp. 615–617