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 and musicians 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 since recently. Prior to this, I directed a research project at the University for Music and Dance Cologne and briefly visited Durham University as a guest fellow. In parallel to my career as researcher, I have taught Malian-style jembe drumming at University for Music and Dance Cologne, Rotterdam University of the Arts, and across much of Germany as a free-lancer.

For more information on my research projects, publications, field recordings, and making music, see the respective subpages.

Download my CV, a list of my publications, or contact me by email: [my surname]@mail.de