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Music Research at The Open University


Music research at the OU is developed through high-profile individual and collaborative projects focussing on a wide range of approaches to music (including historical, social, empirical and technological) with a distinctive emphasis on innovation and interdisciplinary research. Research in music is centred on a range of musicological themes and topics with particular strengths in historical musicology. Specialisms in the department cover musical analysis, editing, performance practice, film music, music iconography, ethnography, acoustical research, cultural theory and organology. Details of research interests of individuals in the Music Department can be found on the Staff pages. The Music Department is also the focus and coordination point for all inquiry into music across the University, which includes the work of the following scholars:

Dr Daniel Allington (Centre for Language and Communication)
Carolyn Cooke (Education Department) 
Dr Delia da Sousa Correa (English Department) 
Dr Giselle Ferreira (Department of Communication and Systems)
Dr Graham Harvey (Religious Studies Department) 
Dr Simon Holland (Computing Department)
Dr Robin Laney (Computing Department)
Janet van der Linden (Computing Department)
Adrien Mamou-Mani (Newton Research Fellow, Acoustics Research Group)
Dr Derek Matravers (Philosophy Department) 
Terry O'Sullivan (OU Business School) 
Dr George Revill (Geography Department) 
Dr David Sharp (Department of Design, Development, Environment and Materials) 
Dr Gary Spruce (Department of Education)
Dr Shafquat Towheed (English Department)
Dr Jason Toynbee (Sociology Department) 

Current strengths in OU Music Research can be grouped roughly as follows:

  • Historical study, including
    Editions of performance texts; Performance practice; Instruments and their use; and Documentary and archival research of the social, cultural and biographical contexts of music-making
  • Social and cultural theory and analysis, including
    Ethnomusicology; Sociology; Social psychology; Anthropology; Human geography; and Social history of music
  • Interdisciplinary research in the humanities, including
    Music in literature and Music in religion
  • Empirical investigation of performance, including
    Analysis of recorded music and Acoustic analysis of instrumental performance and soundscapes
  • Computing applications in music, including
    Human-computer interfaces, Object-oriented programming and Pervasive interaction
  • Music education and pedagogy, including
    The history of music education

Current Research projects

George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents

Cultures of Brass including Music and the British Military

Atlantic Sounds: Ships and Sailortowns

The Listening Experience Database

Recent research projects

Migrating Music 

What is Black British Jazz?

Creativity, Innovation and Labour in Music (CILM)

Research groups

Digital Humanities Group

Acoustics Research Group 

Literature and Music Research Group 

Medieval and Early Modern Research Group

Music computing

See the Postgraduate page for details of current and recently graduated Music research students.