Nihan Tahtaişleyen has been a musicologist, and a research associate for Corpus Musicae Ottomanicae (CMO) Project at the Orient-Institut, Istanbul, since January 2022. The project focuses on the critical edition of Near Eastern music manuscripts. She has also been teaching music history as a research associate of the Musicology Department at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSFAU), Istanbul State Conservatory, since 2014. She received her Ph.D. degree with a thesis entitled Kurt Reinhard as a Representation of the Transition from Comparative Musicology to Ethnomusicology (2021) in the Institute of Social Sciences, Musicology Program at MSFAU. Her Ph.D. research was focused on sound and written documents of Turkish music field research by Kurt and Ursula Reinhard (1955-1978), which is sheltered in the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv. In 2019, she studied these materials in the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv as a guest researcher thanks to the Musicology Department of Westfälische Wilhelms University Münster’s Erasmus Program.
Before her archival research, she focused on field research between 2006-2012 as a researcher of the Ministry of Culture of Turkey, Turkish Folklore Organization (TFK), and individual projects in Anatolia. She received her MA degree with a thesis entitled The Features of Anatolian Elegy Tradition and Its Role in Cultural Continuity (2013) in the Ethnomusicology Program of MSFAU. During these years, she taught traditional Turkish music theory, folk music in Turkey, field research methodology, and methods of musical notation in the Ethnomusicology and Musicology Departments of MSFAU. She worked as an editor for several academic journals and international festivals such as MSFAU Journal of Social Sciences, The Journal of Musicology, and IKSV 46th International Istanbul Music Festival. She also worked as a researcher for a TUBITAK 1001 Project about descriptive and semiotic analysis of popular music production in Turkey and was part of Scientific Research Projects (BAP) at MSFAU about cultural memory. Besides her academic studies, she is a professional and a half-amateur western classical, rock, and Turkish traditional music performer.
Her current study with her colleagues on early wax cylinder recording in Turkey has been published in 2020 entitled Fonograf Alanda – Erken Dönem Karşılaştırmalı Müzikolojiye Çalışmaları ve Türkiye [Phonograph in the Field – Early Studies in Comparative Musicology and Turkey]; it includes field research and recordings of Hubert Octave Pernot (1898-99) and Felix von Luschan (1902). Nihan Tahtaişleyen continues to study early field recordings, music archives, and historical ethnomusicology.