The tasks of the Department are research and teaching in the specialist areas of folk music research and ethnomusicology.
The term 'folk music' is interpreted broadly, both in terms of content and regions. The main regional focus of the Institute is Austria – however, the whole of Europe is included in its research and teaching alongside selected cultures outside Europe. Students are taught in a theoretical as well as a practical way (see course offers). The Institute is integrated into the international academic community via research projects, international symposia, lecture series and EU networks.
Since 2017 the Department Folk Music Research hosts the Secretariat of the ICTM
International Council for Traditional Music
The International Council for Traditional Music is a scholarly organization which aims to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation, and dissemination of traditional music and dance of all countries. To these ends the Council organizes World Conferences, Symposia, and Colloquia, and publishes the Yearbook for Traditional Music and the online Bulletin of the ICTM.
As a non-governmental organization in formal consultative relations with UNESCO and by means of its wide international representation and the activities of its Study Groups, the International Council for Traditional Music acts as a bond among peoples of different cultures and thus contributes to the peace of humankind.