Graduate Program in Music

The UFMG Graduate Program in Music (PPGMUS) was created in 1999, offering a Master’s degree with a specialization in Musical Performance. Beginning in 2004, PPGMUS was structured according to three lines of research: Musical Performance, Studies of Musical Practices, and Music and Technology. The latter was renamed in 2007 as Sonology and, in 2010, the line of Studies of Musical Practices was split into three areas: Music and Culture, Music Education, and Analytical and Creative Processes. The doctoral program, approved by Capes in February 2012, was organized around these 5 lines of research, and opened to accepts students in March 2013.

The structure of the graduate program was based on an analysis of the specific characteristics of the academic-musical field. It was concluded that music research, given its interdisciplinary potential, benefits from the elimination of very demarcated borders and with the consequent incentive to use conceptual, theoretical and methodological tools from different fields of knowledge, privileging the transversality between research lines. This position was widely discussed and supported by different graduate administrations at UFMG as well as by national and international colleagues. One positive result of this interpretation is that the students who enter our PPG may come from academic backgrounds other than music: Letters and Arts in general, Humanities and even Exact Sciences, Biological Sciences and Health Sciences.

The regional and national importance of PPGMUS can be assessed not only by its pioneering spirit (it was the first program to offer both the Academic Master’s degree and the Doctorate in Music in the state of Minas Gerais), but by the interest in the program generated throughout Brazil. This interest is exemplified, among other things, by the large number of university professors both from Minas Gerais and from other Brazilian states who are currently studying in the Program. The international relevance of PPGMUS is also developing rapidly, as demonstrated by the constant presence of foreign students.

The general objective of the PPGMUS can be expressed in the following terms: “training, characterized by transversality, innovation and sociocultural awareness, of individuals qualified artistically and scientifically for the exercise of professional activities, including teaching and research activities both in music and in areas that have a clear interface with music”. The main concepts here are transversality, innovation and socio-cultural awareness. The details of each of these will also serve to reveal the specific objectives of our Program.

“Transversality” refers to the growing understanding that certain recurrent themes and objects in music research should not be limited to a single theoretical or methodological approach, but, on the contrary, invite a plural reflection capable of mobilizing the area as a whole (and possibly related areas), transcending disciplinary boundaries. We can exemplify this with the notion of performance that, although it gives name to one of the lines of research of the Program, proves to be pertinent also to all the others, generating reflections that enrich both the concept and the experience itself. For example, in the line of Music and Culture, performance is approached by ethnomusicological studies with an attention to the knowledge inscribed on bodies, in gestures and their expression in the manifestations of traditional cultures. This is, in other words, a very different perspective than that of the Musical Performance line, which tends to focus on technical efficiency or intuitive competence for public performance of certain repertoires. On the other hand, performance is a privileged object of study in the Sonology line, which includes several research projects dedicated to gestuality in music and thus opening up promising perspectives for the understanding of this theme and even for the pedagogy of music and musical instruments. In Music Education, the notion of performance is also fundamental, understanding that it is an experience essential to musicalization and to the formal and informal learning of music. At the same time, in this context paradigms must be reevaluated, including the tendency to stigmatize “error” as well as the very conception of Performance Pedagogy that underlies some studies in the area. And in the line of Analytical and Creative Processes, performance is also thematic, as in the context of contemporary creations that may require different postures and capacities from musicians, placing them in the face of unprecedented challenges and reflections. All these perspectives, within the scope of what is considered here to be transversal, must be in dialogue for the mutual benefit of the various research projects carried out: thus demanding from the Program structures, opportunities and environments that promote interaction between ideas and projects.

As for innovation, it can be said that through this approach the Program rediscovers the very vocation of Belo Horizonte: the modern capital of a state with strong and ingrained traditions. The concept implies not only framing current issues within the perspective of the future or using different technological tools to extract and process musical information, but also searching for contemporary methodologies to deal with the immense historical and cultural heritage of the region. Thus, innovation occurs in several aspects: technological, socio-cultural, and artistic. In addition to the more immediate projects relating to cultural heritage which occur within the lines of Music and Culture or Music Education – which relate musicological and ethnomusicological perspectives to the practices of Pedagogy — we can see this in the Musical Performance line as well. In this case, whose research often addresses the role of the performer in the contemporary world, not only in the face of new or “peripheral” repertoires, but also by considering rituals that shape and reconfigure the social meaning of music. From these researches a renewed look at the role of the musician and an innovative posture for professional performance emerge, creating the desired profile for the graduate of PPGMUS.

Finally, sociocultural awareness underlies the attitude that understands musical practices as agents in the construction of relationships and social meanings. Like transversality and innovation, this awareness permeates the work of all lines of research: from a) the understanding of the musical work as a cultural product that condenses a network of meanings to be constantly interpreted and remade (Performance, Analytical Processes and Creatives, Music and Culture) to b) the presence and necessity of music in personal formation and in the construction of individual and collective identity (Music Education) and also c) the study of the effects and possibilities of using sound in psychoacoustic and therapeutic terms (Sonology).

The program includes two degrees (Academic Master and Doctorate) and is structured according to five lines of research, with the following profiles:

  • Music education

Studies and reflections on musical teaching and learning processes and practices involving fundamentals, values, methodologies; curricula and assessment; philosophical, psychological and sociological aspects of making music.

The Music Education research line, hosting research focused on the teaching and learning processes of music in different sociocultural and institutional contexts, has the following graduate profile: a professional music educator qualified to act as a teacher and researcher in higher education and in other contexts of artistic and educational development, able to discuss and collaborate with public policies on education and culture.

  • Music and Culture

Studies of sonic-musical events as cultural events, demonstrations of the production of social groups: aesthetic approaches therefore perceive them as inseparable from the fabric of historical, cultural and social relations in which they are inserted.

The Music and Culture line, hosting research in the sub-areas of Historical Musicology and Ethnomusicology, trains professionals with wide domain and sensitivity for the analysis and understanding of varied social, historical and cultural scenarios mediated by musical performance. The graduates are researchers trained to act on the pillars of higher education teaching and to perform diverse functions in public and private institutions, such as, for example, the archival treatment of sound and musical collections; the collaborative work of defending and promoting musical cultures with traditional communities and acting in the context of the development of public policies.

  • Musical Performance

Studies that have as their main focus the performance of a repertoire and its investigation from varied theoretical matrices (historical, stylistic, pedagogical, culturalist, philological, semiological, sonological, organological etc.), aiming at both technical and interpretive improvement and development of theoretical discussions.

In the Musical Performance line, the profile is that of a musician-researcher, capable of working with artistic-cultural projects as well as teaching projects focused on the musical instrument. The graduate in this area should know how to combine artistic practice at a high musical and technical level with the conceptual reflections typical of academic research; through their connection both practices are enriched: performance becomes more conscious and meaningful, while research gains a privileged source of information and experiences from the musical practice.

  • Analytical and Creative Processes

Studies of the various modalities of music-making, articulating creation and analysis through an approach that privileges processes and materials such as composition, structural elements, instrumental writing and technique, arrangement, phonography, interpretive conceptions, multimedia.

In the line of Analytical and Creative Processes, it is expected that the graduate will be able to articulate creative and analytical musical practices in order to develop composition projects, interpretative concepts and discussion on poetics and techniques associated primarily with concert music.

  • Sonology

Studies of acoustic material in connection with musical production and activities, addressing problems of creation / production, analysis, perception and epistemology. Sonology uses knowledge of the exact, human and biological sciences and arts, as well as varied techniques, from digital signal processing to reduced listening. This line of research hosts projects of an analytical, creative, critical, aesthetic or historical character dedicated to the extraction and processing of musical information, interactive musical systems, culture and history of listening.

In Sonology, the multidisciplinary character is reflected in the profile of graduates, who are able to develop projects in at least one of the following areas: digital audio processing for different musical applications, multimodal analysis of musical performance, planning and development of interactive tools for application in artistic and educational projects, and critical reflection on listening as mediated by new technologies. The line attracts students who have a background in one or more of these areas of knowledge as well as possessing specific musical skills, such as instrumental performance in traditional, electronic or multimedia music, musical composition, or musicological studies. The professional options for Sonology graduates are varied: teaching and academic research, participation in applied technology projects, coordination of (and collaboration with) artistic and educational projects that integrate new technologies, music production for different media, etc.

Courses are offered on a semiannual basis, covering all the research lines of the Program.

 Master’s degree

The enrollment period is at least one year and at most two years. Courses are offered on a semiannual basis, with the entry of new students in the second semester. The curricular structure foresees a total workload of 240 hours (16 credits), distributed over four semesters (maximum completion time).

The disciplines Research Methodology, Seminars (specific to each Line of Research) and Oriented Studies are mandatory for all lines. In addition, the Musical Performance Research line includes 2 mandatory credits in the disciplines Instrumental Practice I and Instrumental Practice II. Remaining credits can be filled with optional subjects offered by the program and with courses, taken as elective(s), in other Graduate Programs at UFMG.

 The file below summarizes the minimum requirements for each Line of Research:

⇒Estrutura Curricular do Mestrado



The total payment period is at least two years and at most four years. The curricular structure provides for a total workload of 360 hours (24 credits), distributed over eight semesters (maximum time to complete), and, at the discretion of the Board, credits taken in Master’s subjects, completed in the Program itself or in another Stricto Sensu Graduate Program.

Academic Activity Portfolio, Intellectual Production, and the disciplines Advanced Music Research Seminars, Seminars (specific to each Line of Research), Oriented Studies and Advanced Music Studies are mandatory for all students. In addition, the Musical Performance Research Line also includes 2 mandatory credits in the disciplines Advanced Instrumental Practice I and Advanced Instrumental Practice II.

Of the 24 credits included in the Program Regulations, 16 are mandatory (12 in coursework and 4 in academic activity). The remaining 8 credits can be completed in optional courses offered by the Program itself as well as subject (s), taken as an electives, in other UFMG Graduate Programs.

The file below summarizes the minimum requirements for each Line of Research:

⇒Estrutura Curricular do Doutorado

Advanced Music Studies: Analysis and discussion of themes, projects, and texts related to the selected line of research.

Oriented Studies: Analysis and discussion of a selection of articles and research project reports related to each student’s dissertation proposal, including presentations and discussions specific to each project.

Music Research Methodology: Study and practice of methods and processes involved in music research.

Intellectual Production Portfolio (academic activity): A set of relevant academic activities undertaken by the doctorate student throughout the course.

Advanced Instrumental Practice I and Advanced Instrumental Practice II: Study of the candidate’s solo, chamber and/or symphonic repertoire, focusing on stylistic coherence and interpretive identity.

Instrumental Practice I, II, III, IV: Study of the candidate’s solo, chamber and/or symphonic repertoire, tackling technical, musical, and stylistic issues related to its execution.

Advanced Research Seminars in Music: Discussion of ongoing research projects: theme selection, theoretical foundation, disciplinary interactions, methodology, objectives, results, related works, state of the art, perspectives.

Seminars in Music Education: Discussions and reflections on music education in the contemporary age: music teaching at school; formal and informal music teaching practices; music and identity-shaping at different ages and socio-cultural contexts; music education in the digital age; qualification of music teachers; assessment processes in music education; public policies and music teaching.

Seminars in Music and Culture: Readings and discussions concerning theories and studies developed on musical aspects to understand how they have interacted with one another over time and with other schools of Western thought.

Seminars in Musical Performance: Theoretical studies on performance aimed at both instrumental technical and interpretative improvement, and the development of theoretical discussions.

Seminars in Analytic and Creative Processes: Technical and historical analysis of structural elements present in Western music since the 14th century. Principles and methods of musical analysis.

Seminars in Sound Studies: Foundations of musical physics and psychophysics. Mechanisms of auditory perception. Implementation of elements of musical acoustics in musical language and practice. Foundations of digital signal processing applied to music. Typology and morphology of sound units.

MUSICOG: Music, Cognition and Human Development


The Research Group MUSICOG: music, cognition and human development – certified by UFMG and registered within CNPq – proposes a broad and very current theme, which has increasingly integrated knowledge from various areas, such as: music, music education, philosophy, neurosciences, health sciences, cognitive archeology etc. Among the main objectives of RG MUSICOG, the following stand out: (1) promote transdisciplinary research that studies the relationships between music, cognition and human development; (2) integrate researchers from different areas from Brazilian and foreign institutions in common research projects; (3) promote research that has a direct impact on society; (4) integrate the knowledge produced by the researches to Undergraduate and Graduate courses at  UFMG School of Music and other partner institutions. This Research Group, made up of professors/researchers, undergraduate, graduate and alumni, has enhanced the implementation of transdisciplinary research with a direct impact on society and with applicability in a wide range of areas for the benefit of human development.


  • Music education and its interfaces with cognition and human development
  • Music, health and their interfaces with cognition and human development
  • Studies on cognitive-musical development and its interfaces with human development

The selection process for Master’s and Doctorate candidates is as follows: written exam and interview comprising an evaluation of the candidate’s research proposal, resume and higher education transcripts.