Musicology

Research in musicology focuses on Western art music from the 19th century to the present day (Schumann, Grieg, Smyth, Mahler, Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Bridge, Tippett, Britten, Feldman, Birtwistle, Smalley) popular music, jazz, music for screen, performance studies, aesthetics, music and literature, musical biography and autoethnography.

Research projects, outputs and events

Overview

This project is a case study in distributed creativity, focusing on the collaborations between composer Harrison Birtwistle and computer music pioneer Peter Zinovieff. The research includes contextualising a wide range of archive materials with information gained through recent interviews. The overall approach combines insights based on historical musicology with analytical case studies, including the first in-depth analysis of Birtwistle's collaborative four-channel tape composition Chronometer.

Staff member

Tom Hall

Publications

Harrison Birtwistle Studies (Cambridge University Press).

Overview

A two-day international conference held at the Institute of Musical Research, London.

Staff member

Chris Wiley

Additional team members
  • Tom Armstrong (University of Surrey)
  • Professor Neil Heyde (Royal Academy of Music, London)
  • Professor Darla Crispin (Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo)
  • Ian Pace (City, University of London)
  • Iain Findlay-Walsh (University of Glasgow)
Start and end date

April 2018

Funder

Institute of Musical Research

Project details

About

The advent of autoethnography, a form of qualitative social science research that combines an author’s narrative self-reflection with analytical interpretation of the broader contexts in which that individual operates (e.g. Etherington, 2004; Chang, 2008), has come at a critical time for the discipline of music. In the UK, the expectation of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) that creative practice outputs will be contextualised through an accompanying commentary signals the urgency for establishing scholarly structures suited to the discussion of one’s own work by performers, composers, and music technologists alike.

The recent inauguration of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), meanwhile, places a renewed emphasis on pedagogic research, for which autoethnography will increasingly prove to be critical in facilitating discourse on individual teachers’ experiences, in anticipation of the upcoming subject pilot for TEF and discipline-level evaluation being implemented more widely thereafter. As a methodology, autoethnography also yields enormous breadth of potential elsewhere in music studies, with the capacity to support academic enquiry encompassing individual experiences as listener or concert-goer, habits and modes of music consumption, and conduct as fans or aficionados.

While autoethnographic approaches have received significant application to the discipline of music internationally, for instance in Australia (Bartleet & Ellis, 2009) and the US (Manovski, 2014), this study day aims to raise its visibility at such a timely juncture in the UK. It will thereby consolidate the seminal contributions made by isolated studies in areas such as music education (Wiley & Franklin, 2017; Kinchin & Wiley, 2017), sonic arts (Findlay-Walsh, 2018), and composition and performance (Armstrong & Desbruslais, 2014). It also offers significant opportunity to initiate dialogue with academic fields as disparate as the social sciences, education, and health studies, in which autoethnography is more substantively practised.

At the same time, this study day will bring together composers, performers, musicologists, and music teachers, seeking to explore different modes of autoethnography with a view to establishing an analytical vein in continuation of previous work undertaken within music studies (e.g. Bartleet & Ellis, 2009). With an emphasis on transcending the production of so-called ‘mesearch’ – work that merely draws upon the author’s autobiographical description in an academic context – the event will cultivate modes of engagement in music research that enable scholar-practitioners at all levels to locate their experiences within a robust intellectual framework as well as to articulate their relationship to wider sociocultural contexts.

Project outputs
  • Article on ‘exploring the integration of teaching and research in the contemporary classroom: an autoethnographic enquiry into designing an undergraduate music module on Adele’s 25 album’.
  • 35-chapter in-development edited volume.

Overview

It was largely on account of Britten’s endeavours through the Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, the programming of his teacher’s music at Aldeburgh, and the publication of select late scores that Bridge’s name was kept alive in the 1940s and 50s and later revived. Britten and Bridge have been bracketed together, and though a decoupling has been suggested, this essay contends that there is still something to be learned about Bridge through Britten, both in the light of the latter’s writings on Bridge and especially through examining the music they both wrote during and immediately after Britten’s apprenticeship.

Staff member

Christopher Mark

Publications

Bridge and Britten, Britten and Bridge, Music and Letters, Volume 99, Issue 1, February 2018, Pages 45–73, https://doi.org/10.1093/ml/gcy001

Overview

A two-day multi-disciplinary international conference held at the University of Surrey.

Staff member

Chris Wiley

Start and end date

June 2018

Funder

British Association for Victorian Studies

Project details

About

View project website.

Project outputs

Edited volume provisionally titled Ethel Smyth, Gender, and Opera.

Publications

Ethel Smyth, Suffrage, and Surrey: From Frimley Green to Hook Heath, Woking, Women’s History, Vol. 2, No. 11, pp.11–18.

Overview

A monograph exploring Bridge’s harmony in his late works, focusing on the role of the so-called Bridge Chord.

Staff member

Christopher Mark

Overview

This research explores the music of Edvard Grieg in the context of nationalism, identity and cultural memory in musical performance, landscape and music, and nineteenth-century visual culture and music.

Staff member

Georgia Volioti

Project outputs

Landscaping the gaze in Norwegian visual art and Grieg’s Op. 66 folksong piano arrangements, Music and Letters, Volume 98, Issue 4, November 2017, Pages 573–600,https://doi.org/10.1093/ml/gcx114

Overview

A monograph exploring the role of melancholy in English music c. 1890-2010.

Staff member

Christopher Mark

Overview

90th year commemorative conference on Miles Davis and John Coltrane, at which over 40 international scholars re-explored aspects of these two giants of jazz. The event included performances from the Gary Crosby Quartet (Coltrane’s A Love Supreme), The Ronnie Scott’s All Star Quintet, and a public improvisation workshop and concert by the Steve Waterman Quartet: ‘A Tribute to Miles’.

Staff member

Jeremy Barham

Project outputs

View project website.

Overview

This project examines composer Morton Feldman's early engagement with the emerging medium of electronic music in the early 1950s in terms of its technological materiality and approaches to musical notation. In particular, the project seeks to place the realization of 1953 composition Intersection for Magnetic Tape within the context of John Cage's Project for Magnetic Tape.

Staff member

Tom Hall

Overview

Explorations, respectively, of how and what Mahler’s music may be said to mean, and the role of music as temporal agency in film.

Staff member

Jeremy Barham

Publications

Music, Time and the Moving Image (Cambridge University Press).

Overview

A two-day international conference was held at the Institute of Musical Research, London in April 2015.

Staff member

Chris Wiley

Project outputs

View project website.

Overview

Transmedia Directors reassesses the assumptions embedded in the concept of the auteur, with its corresponding notions of single authorship, formal control, and hierarchical implementation. It covers topics such as David Lynch's work with music, sound, and image; multimodal storytelling in Steven Wilson's and Jess Cope's music videos; and Baz Luhrmann's audiovisual work in The Great Gatsby. It includes first-hand interviews with film and music video directors including Abteen Bagheri, Jonas Åkerlund, and Floria Sigismondi.

Staff member

John McGrath

Project outputs

On (vari)speed in David Lynch's workin Transmedia Directors: Sound, Image and the Digital Swirl, Carol Vernalis, Holly Rogers and Lisa Perrott eds. (Bloomsbury, 2019)

Overview

A ground-breaking book series aiming to rediscover and reinvestigate the music of seminal jazz recordings and situate them within their historical, social and performative contexts. Volumes so far include Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Benny Goodman, Keith Jarrett, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Pat Metheny. Forthcoming books on Dave Brubeck and Andy Kirk.

Staff member

Jeremy Barham

Publications

Oxford Studies in Recorded Jazz, (Oxford University Press, 2011-present).

Overview

Explorations, respectively, of how and what Mahler’s music may be said to mean, and the role of music as temporal agency in film.

Staff member

Jeremy Barham

Publications

Post-Centenary Mahler: Revaluing Musical Meaning (Indiana University Press).

Overview

This body of research engages in performance analysis (live and recorded), performance historiography, historical performance practice (especially piano repertoire), historical recordings, the media, materialities and discourses of recording technology, cultural responses to the legacy of recordings, and performance as embodied knowledge

Staff member

Georgia Volioti

Project outputs

Recordings as learning and practising resources for performance: exploring attitudes and behaviours of music students and professionals, Musicae Scientiae, 21/4 (2017), 499-523.

Overview

An international collection of newly commissioned essays exploring innovative ideas, approaches, contexts, and analyses in the continuing process of understanding Mahler’s music in the contemporary world.

Staff member

Jeremy Barham

Publications

Rethinking Mahler (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Overview

Music abounds in twentieth-century Irish literature. Whether it be the thought-tormented music of Joyce’s The Dead, the folk tunes and opera that resound throughout Ulysses, or the four- part threnody in Beckett’s Watt, it is clear that the influence of music on the written word in Ireland is deeply significant. Samuel Beckett arguably went further than any other writer in the incorporation of musical ideas into his work, through musical quotations and the metaphorical use of structural devices such as the da capo. Perhaps most striking is the erosion of explicit meaning in Beckett’s later prose brought about through an extensive use of repetition, influenced by his reading of Schopenhauer’s philosophy of music. Exploring this notion of semantic fluidity, we discuss the ways in which Beckett utilised extreme repetition to create texts that operate and are received more like music.

Staff member

John McGrath

Project outputs

Samuel Beckett, Repetition and Modern Music (Routledge, 2017).

Overview

The tenth iteration of the leading international conference on 20th and 21st century music, featuring a keynote paper by Professor Paul Harper-Scott (Royal Holloway University).

Staff member

Christopher Mark

Project outputs

View project website.

Overview

The first book-length study of the role of music in experimental film, ranging from early 20th-century visual music to contemporary VJing.

Staff member

Jeremy Barham

Publications

The Music and Sound of Experimental Film, (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Overview

This research project is a joint Monash–Surrey venture that seeks to nurture research in the theory and practice of writing musical lives.

Staff member

Chris Wiley

Additional team members

Monash University

Summary

Although genres of life-writing occupy a prominent position in artistic and literary fields, as well as in the publishing lists of academic and trade publishers, musical biography has historically held an uncertain place within Musicology. Still, musical biography and autobiography have long been important sources for a wide range of readers including students, scholars, programme-note writers, and makers of films, documentaries, and YouTube channels. The research network will further develop this burgeoning area of study though collaborative, interdisciplinary, and international engagement.

Project details

About

We aim to:

  • Act as a focused forum for theoretical and practical innovation in musical biography
  • Foster collaborative work and methodological reflection among emerging and established international scholars alike
  • Investigate new ways of representing narratives of lives and institutions, as well as examining historical representations of this kind.

Activities will include:

  • Conferences to generate scholarly exchange and public engagement
  • Publication outputs such as edited essay collections
  • Cross-institutional funding proposals
  • Hosting visiting scholars for a period of study.
Project outputs

Musical Biography: Narratives of Myth, Ideology, and Nation, co-edited with Paul Watt (Monash University, Melbourne), including the article Myth-making and the Politics of Nationality: Narratives of J.S. Bach’s 1717 Contest with Louis Marchand.

Overview

A three-day multi-disciplinary international conference held at the University of Surrey.

Staff member

Chris Wiley

Start and end date

October 2017

Funder

Institute of Advanced Studies