Rainer Polak

I am a musicologist. My main research interests are:

  • Celebration music and dance in West Africa
  • Rhythm perception and performance
  • Culture and perception

Coming from anthropology, African studies, and ethnomusicology, my interest also has led me into music theory, empirical musicology, and psychology of music. 

Currently, I work as a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (MPIEA). 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 jembe drumming at University for Music and Dance Cologne, Rotterdam University of the Arts, and across Germany as a free-lancer.

My profiles at


My email:  [my surname]@mail.de