In my PhD project (1997–2002), I worked on the anthropology of jembe music. In particular, I investigated how the performance practice of jembe dance-drumming has changed in the city of Bamako. I looked into the urbanization, commodification, nationalization, and globalization of jembe playing and tried to document the emergence of an urban repertoire and style in the context of these social processes.
Two post-doc grants (2006–07, 2011–16) have allowed me to approach music theoretical questions with methods from empirical musicology. In
particular, I examined the relationship between performance timings and metric functions of non-isochronous beat subdivision (swing-based meter) in dance drumming repertoires from West Africa.
My ongoing projects study the performance, perception and aesthetics of timing, rhythm, meter and interpersonal entrainment from a cross-cultural perspective. The studies concern both real ensemble music and simple experimental stimuli.