The focus of musicological research at the Center for World Music is the global diversity of cultures and their ways of dealing with music. Music and musicians play an important role here. Just as much do those who publish, distribute, produce, and those who write about and reflect on music. In the context of social, political, cultural and historical aspects, musical practices are understood and described in the broadest sense.
The CWM emphasizes a broad interpretation of the concept of music, In addition to 'traditional' ethnomusicological research on 'non-Western cultures', also pop music, subculture, and media research form central nodes. Ethnologically oriented music research at CWM is interdisciplinary. In the sense of researching music cultures 'from the inside out', there are various points of contact with sociology, cultural studies, history and political science, gender studies, critical whiteness studies and post-colonial studies.