The Department of Music is an internationally renowned, research-driven environment for musical study and practice.
Our research outlook is both cosmopolitan and international with an active postgraduate community and a research centre with a focus on contemporary sound and composition practices.
Research Projects and Staff
Our department has a status as an internationally pre-eminent centre of research excellence. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 rated 87% of our research as either 'world leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*).
This included 100% of our research impact being considered 'outstanding' (4*) and a research environment that was similarly assessed at 100% in being 'world leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*) for its vitality and sustainability.
The department was placed 11th out of 84 submissions nationally for the proportion of 4*+3* activity.
Our clearly defined research identity is based around three overlapping areas:
- Ethnomusicology, particularly of the urban environment
- The interface between music and technology, notably in relation to music and other media
- The various relationships between musical scholarship and performance
This overarching research profile is evidenced not only through individual and collective staff activities but also in the nature and scope of various PhD research projects and has been further vertically integrated within the department through the creation of aligned MA pathways, from which several of our PhD students have progressed.
Our international recognition has been achieved through a very wide range of publications, performances, recordings, broadcasts and conference presentations, to which all members of staff have contributed.
View a summary of staff research interests.
REF Impact case studies
Dr Alexander Lingas: Striking a chord with a new generation of listeners
Dr Laudan Nooshin: The Phoenix of Persia Children’s Book Project.
Research students and visiting fellows
We have a large and diverse research community. All students benefit from participation in a weekly research seminar series, attended by both staff and student researchers.
- Graham Griffith
- Spyridon Antonopoulous
Our postgraduate community is large, eclectic and distinguished, with around 35-40 students pursuing doctoral research at any one time.
The Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum
The Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum has been running since 2007 and is open to researchers, students and anyone interested in the music and culture of the region.
In the spirit of fostering dialogue and interdisciplinarity, we hope that the issues discussed at the forum will be of interest to a broad audience, including musicologists, ethnomusicologists and other researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
In addition, we welcome those working on other aspects of Middle Eastern and Central Asian culture broadly speaking (dance, visual arts, media, film, literature, etc.). The Forum convenors are Professor Laudan Nooshin (City, University of London) and Professor Rachel Harris (SOAS).
The next meeting of the Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum will be held in May 2021 (date TBC).
For further information on this event please contact Professor Laudan Nooshin.
AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund
The Music Department at City, University of London has been awarded 50k funding from the 10th Anniversary AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund. This scheme funds one or more collaborative projects to support the engagement of arts and humanities research with wider cultural and civic contexts.
It particularly seeks to fund recently completed doctoral graduates, and so aims to support the broader career development of these graduates, particularly in relation to work with non-academic partners to support the impact of arts and humanities research.
The Cultural Engagement Fund projects at City are as follows:
Professor Stephen Cottrell is working with Dr Jocelyn Howell on sources in the Boosey and Hawkes archive. The project uses 3D printer technology to provide lost or damaged component parts for older musical instruments for which such parts are no longer available.
Dr Alexander Lingas is working with Dr Dimitrios Skrekas to develop a study day on the teaching of Byzantine music in diaspora involving:
- academic musicologists from the Department of Music at City
- its Erasmus partner, the Department of Music Studies of the University of Athens
- members of the choir Cappella Romana
- instructors and students of the School of Byzantine Music of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain
and interested members of the general public.
Dr Laudan Nooshin is working with Dr Andrew Pace and the British Library on the archiving and dissemination of the Peter Kennedy Paper Archive. Peter Kennedy was one of the most important collectors of music traditions from the British Isles.
He started recording in the early 1950s, work that instigated the presentation of folk music and traditions on the BBC.
In just over 50 years he amassed a collection of audio and video recordings amounting to approximately 1500 hours, plus several hundred photographs as negatives and prints and cabinets full of paperwork (correspondence, contracts with artists, etc.).
Between February and May 2016, Andrew Pace worked on an AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund project with City, University of London in collaboration with the British Library to sort, catalogue and promote an important collection of British and Irish folk music.
Peter Kennedy’s archive contains thousands of field recordings, photographs and paper files that relate primarily to his time recording traditional performers throughout the UK and Ireland during the 1950s.
Kennedy (1922–2006) stands out as one of the most influential collectors of the period, whose personal archive continues to generate a great deal of interest from academic researchers, practising musicians and record labels.
The principal output for this project has been the development of a new website which provides access to all of the material from this collection that has been digitised over the past few years.
An interactive interface has been applied to images of Kennedy’s own field recording reports, encouraging users to explore his collection and discover recordings and photographs in a far more engaging way than is possible through traditional text-based catalogue queries.
This project also takes an important step toward better integrating the needs of academic and general audiences on one platform – a useful experiment in archive engagement in its own right. A feature article in English Dance and Song magazine coincides with the launch of the website at the beginning of June.
Music and Digital Culture in the Middle East and North Africa
Dr Laudan Nooshin and Dr Stephen Wilford have been awarded funding from City, University of London’s Research Pump Priming Fund to conduct a small research project investigating the relationship between music and digital culture in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa.
Their research will explore the ways in which composers, performers and listeners use digital technologies (in particular, the Internet and social media) within their daily lives to produce, perform, distribute and consume music across the region.
Their work is particularly concerned with investigating changing notions of public and private space, and moving beyond purely politicised readings of the relationship between music and the Internet throughout the region in ways which have dominated much recent scholarship.
In addition, Dr Wilford has been awarded an Early Career Fellowship by the Institute for Music Research.
This Fellowship provided funding for a networking event that was held at City, University of London on Tuesday 23rd May 2017, entitled Music, Technology and Digital Culture in the Middle East and North Africa.
The one-day event brought together scholars and practitioners with an interest in the role of technologies in the music-making practices found across the region.
Music Analysis Conference 2018
The City Music Analysis Conference (CityMAC 2018) took place on Thursday 5th to Saturday 7th July 2018 at City, University of London.
This international conference featured analysis of world music, and welcomed paper proposals on any aspect of theory or analysis relating to music of any genre and historical period.
Organiser Dr Shay Loya (City, University of London)
Keynote speakers Professor Janet Schmalfeldt (Tufts University) and Professor Richard Widdess (SOAS).
Research Centre: SPARC
Sound Practice and Research at City
SPARC (Sound Practice And Research at City) investigates the boundaries between improvisation, performance, sound art and composition. We consider the role that technological developments play in these contemporary music practices.
The research centre benefits from our thriving music department at City, which places particular emphasis on practice as research. SPARC contributes to the musical life in London with public events and provides a home for ensembles-in-residence, visiting fellows and guest artists.
The aims of SPARC are:
- to promote dialogue, debate and creative activity around sound and composition practices ,
- to advance the emerging field of interdisciplinarity within new music and sound practices,
- to enrich and strengthen the expansive context in which todays compositional practice takes place,
- to encourage and foster a collaborative approach to contemporary music and sound art research.
To find out more about the activities of SPARC visit sparc.london.