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The implementation of research in the tertiary education music curriculum, as included in the Order dated 25 June 1999, was an important innovation with regard to the 1966 plan (Royal Decree 2618/1966). It specified, above all, the obligation to carry out a final research project in all specialisations, on a subject related to the specialisation itself. Equally, research has an important role in the current curriculum (Royal Decree 631/2010), which establishes the conclusion of the first stage of tertiary education with a final project.

Since the 2004-05 academic year, when this type of project began, Musikene has been firmly committed to students’ research training, so that we can state that the promotion of research skills acquisition is an important cornerstone of the studies taught in the school, contributing to its identity.

These projects have been regulated from the outset via their own resolution which establishes the procedure for their carrying out and assessment, as well as the regulations for their presentation. In addition, from the outset the supervision of the research projects has been assigned to those holding

doctorates and occasionally, teachers with research skills. Also, from the outset it has been an activity subject to continuous improvement by means of the evaluation of the degree of satisfaction and usefulness of the final research project.

The subjects of History of Music I and II and Philosophy of Music, as well as History of Jazz Music I and II and Philosophy and Aesthetics of Modern Music (in the first year, second and third years) are strategic academic supports for research at Musikene. Alongside their coursework, this research helps to train the students in the progressive acquisition of research skills. The same is true of the subjects of Psychopedagogy and Education Sociology in the Teaching specialisation, and field work in the Txistu (Basque flute) specialisation. Added to these strategic subjects is the set of basic training subjects, each one, from their field of knowledge.

The projects carried out by the students cover very wide thematic areas, with the main ones being jazz, pedagogy, heritage and artistic research:


The jazz music bibliography, compared, for example, with that of classical music, is sparse, although it has undergone a significant increase over the last 25 years. However, that expansion has occurred basically in the Anglo-Saxon world, and to a lesser extent in other European countries, such as Germany and France. With regard to the Spanish language, the bibliography is very sparse indeed. Therefore, the first (and perhaps most important) contribution of the final research projects is that, even bearing in mind the possible uneven quality among them, they are an important volume of monographic studies, which is a great innovation and contribution. The second notable aspect is that some of them have achieved a good synthesis between the aspects related to bibliographic research and those derived from transcription, analysis, etc., so that the best projects contain valuable contributions, by achieving a good synthesis of the available bibliography with musical content research, a greatly underdeveloped aspect in jazz, even in the Anglo-Saxon world.


Research projects in the Pedagogy Specialisation are mainly aimed at research-action and the carrying out of diagnoses of the education-music reality, with the aim of providing answers (if not solutions). Student contact with work experience schools allows them to detect and select problems which become the object of subsequent research, information gathering, checking, etc., as well as how to apply some of the results obtained in other research projects. In this way, training, work experience and research are elements which interact while linked to the practice of teaching. There are also mixed studies (qualitative, quantitative), descriptive studies, whether they are correlational, survey-based, longitudinal, etc. Outside the Pedagogy Specialisation: there is also a marked interest from instrumentalists in approaching this branch of knowledge by, for example, studying treatises on techniques for different instruments.


Projects on musical heritage are generally approached from a musicological perspective, and they direct their attention towards the known repertoire and, increasingly, towards the unknown repertoire. This is connected to Musikene’s commitment to education regarding the value of heritage recovery (via interpretation, pedagogy and research). In this area, Musikene works in close collaboration with Eresbil-Archivo Vasco de la Música (Basque Music Archive). This joint effort in the research field, has resulted in study and cataloguing projects, critical editions and original research projects of great interest and usefulness.

Artistic research

It is important to highlight that research by means of musical practice means focussing the field of knowledge under investigation in the speciality of the Tertiary education music school students themselves. This type of research demands careful thought from the musician regarding their professional practice, with the aim of enriching and/or improving it. These studies are fundamentally based on the constructivist paradigm, in the case of interpretive practice and, when the focus is on instrumental practice, they adopt methodologies imported from social sciences, which are qualitative in nature, such as participatory observation and documentary analysis. The fundamental innovation is that research is carried out regarding knowledge which has, until now, been transmitted orally, and not systematically organised according to a research method.


With the aim of incentivising and encouraging musical research in the students in the first stage of tertiary education, Musikene and the Orfeón Donostiarra have recently founded the Musikene-Orfeón Donostiarra Prize for the best final research project. In the first edition, held in the 2015-16 academic year, the prize went to the organist Iñigo De Peque Leoz, with his project Técnica interpretativa del órgano en la España del siglo XIX: una aproximación a la tratadística [Interpretive Organ Technique in 19th Century Spain: a Treatise-Based Approach], and in the 2016-17 academic year, the flautist Inga Freyrsdóttir Lorenzo won, with the project Estudio de la obra Urruntz de Félix Ibarrondo: un ejemplo del repertorio actual para orquesta de flautas [A Study of the Work of Urruntz de Félix Ibarrondo: an Example of the Current Repertoire for Flute Orchestra].


It is worth mentioning that during the 2015-16 academic year, Musikene began a new experience in teaching research in the second stage of tertiary education by means of the Research Methodology subject and the Masters Final Projects which were carried out in the Master of Orchestral Studies (String Instruments). Likewise, Musikene collaborates with the doctorate programme Contemporary Art Research of the University of the Basque Country, with the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the University of Jaén in the supervision of doctoral theses.


With regard to research by the teaching staff, this has been carried out mainly as individuals and, in the best cases, within the framework of external research groups and projects: R&D&I financed in public calls (University of the Basque Country, Public University of Navarre, University of Oviedo, University of Granada, University of Salamanca and Autonomous University of Madrid) or connected to Societies such as Eusko Ikaskuntza (Society of Basque Studies) or the International Society for Music Education in Spain (currently Sociedad para la Educación Musical del Estado Español).


Among institutional projects it is worth highlighting those connected to heritage recovery: among them, Garat European Project for the recovery of string quartets by Basque composers, carried out between 2003 and 2005. This project aimed to develop a collaboration programme within the framework of the Aquitaine-Basque Country Euroregion between Musikene, the Conservatoire National de Région de Bayonne-Côte Basque, Eresbil and the Institut Culturel Basque. Said programme was structured in seven main actions: musicological recovery, conservation and accessibility, education, creation, publishing and dissemination. We must also refer to the Usandizaga Revival project, which was carried out during 2015 in the context of the centenary of the composer’s birth and which involved the entire educational community by guiding part of the school’s usual teaching activity towards the recovery of the character and work of this composer. The research area also collaborated in the preparation of the publication of the works for piano and band, and in a cycle Usandizagarekin 4 ordu with a proposal for concerts with commentary by students of the subject Final Project who were researching the composer and his era. More recently, in 2017, the project Basque Music History was set in motion, in collaboration with the Center for Basque Studies in the University of Reno (Nevada). This resulted in a symposium and a specific publication about this material.


In the field of publications, we can highlight, in addition to the collection of monographs and CDs by Musikene, the new agreement signed with the University of the Basque Country and Eresbil for the publication of research monographs on Basque composers, as well as the publication of the first edition of Jazz-Hitz: Revista de investigación de la música de jazz [Jazz Music Research Magazine], a pioneering work at national level, with an international vocation and openly accessible.