Multipart music is a specific mode of music making and expressive behaviour based on the intentionally distinct and coordinated participation in the performing act by sharing knowledge and shaping values.
Multipart music represents one of the most fascinating phenomena in numerous local musical cultures in different parts of the world. It has therefore been a favoured object of research for a long time, particularly in the national framework. Regional studies, which extend beyond political boundaries, are, however, rare and sporadic. Therefore a network of researchers, many of them ICTM members, is working since 2003 focusing on multipart music traditions in Europe in the framework of the “Research Centre of European Multipart Music” established at the Institute for Folk Music Research and Ethnomusicology of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria (http://www.mdw.ac.at/ive/emm). The work of this Centre served as basis upon which we were able to draw during the negotiations with the ICTM Board for the establishing of a Study Group on Multipart Music. The board reached a positive decision on the formation of the group in July 2009 after the ICTM World Conference in Durban, South Africa.
The name of the organization is ICTM Study Group on Multipart Music. The Study Group is an appointed committee of the Executive Board of the International Council for Traditional Music [ICTM Rules 1984: paragraph 8, article i]. The ICTM is a non-profit non-governmental international organization in formal consultative relations with UNESCO. The Study Group shall promotes multipart music through research, documentation, interdisciplinary and cross-cultural study and shall provide a forum for cooperation among scholars and students of multipart music by means of international meetings, publications and correspondence, intending a tight collaboration with local singers and musicians also in the discussion processes. The Study Group may undertake such projects as are in support of its stated objectives, including, but not limited to, organization of Study Group symposia, and formation of sub-study groups. The International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) The ICTM was founded on 22 September, 1947, in London, England, by scholars and musicians as The International Folk Music Council. Ralph Vaughan Williams became its first president, followed by Jaap Kunst, Zoltán Kodály, Willard Rhodes, Klaus P. Wachsmann, Poul Rovsing Olsen, Erich Stockmann, Anthony Seeger, Krister Malm, Adrienne L. Kaeppler, and currently, Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco. In 1949, the Council was one of the Founding Members of the International Music Council - UNESCO, and is currently an NGO in formal consultative relations with UNESCO. Through its wide international representation the Council acts as a bond among peoples of different cultures and thus serves the peace of humankind. The AIMS of the ICTM are to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music, including folk, popular, classical and urban music, and dance, of all countries. To these ends, the Council organizes meetings, world conferences, study groups and colloquia. In addition the Council maintains a membership directory and supervises the preparation and publication of journals and bulletins.