Rainer Polak

As a music researcher, I explore the role of social and cultural contexts for the performance and perception of timing, rhythm, meter, and entrainment. Coming from social/cultural anthropology and African studies, this interest has led me into ethnomusicology, music theory, systematic/empirical musicology, and psychology of music. I specialize in West-African dance drumming and much of my work highlights the particularities of percussion ensemble music from Mali. Actually, my love and respect for the musical traditions, musicians and people from Mali have motivated my career. However, my current research aims to understand  rhythm performance and perception also from a cross-culturally comparative view-point.

I work as a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (MPIEA) since recently. Prior to this, I directed research projects at Bayreuth University and University for Music and Dance Cologne, and I briefly joined Durham University as a guest fellow. In parallel to my career as a researcher, I have taught Malian-style jembe drumming at University for Music and Dance Cologne, Rotterdam University of the Arts, and across Germany as a free-lancer.

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My email:  [my surname]@mail.de