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Dr Martin Clarke

Martin Clarke

Profile summary

  • Lecturer in Music
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Arts & Humanities
  • Music
  • m.v.clarke

Professional biography

Martin Clarke is a musicologist specialising in the intersections between music, theology, and religious practice. He became a Lecturer in Music at The Open University in 2014, having been an Associate Lecturer since 2008 and a Research Affiliate in Music since 2012. He holds BA (Hons) and PhD degrees in Music from Durham University. Martin is also active as an organist and choir director; he holds the Fellowship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO). He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

Research interests

Martin Clarke's primary research interests lies in the relationships between music and theology, and especially their articulation in the music and religious practice of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain, and the Methodist movement more widely. His book, British Methodist Hymnody: Theology, Heritage and Experience, was published by Routledge in 2017.

Martin is working on a study of Listening Experiences in Christian Worship in Britain as part of the AHRC-funded Listening Experience Database project.

He supervises PhD students working on music and theology, and on aspects of British musical culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He would welcome enquries from potential research students in the areas of hymnody, the relationship between music and theology, and music and eighteenth- or nineteenth-century British culture.

For details of Martin's published work, please see the Publications page.

Teaching interests

Martin was a contributing author to A342 Central Questions in the Study of Music and both parts of the MA in Music, A873 and A874. His has also written material for the certificate The Practice of Music Making, a collaborative module developed by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the OU. Martin worked as an Associate Lecturer for the OU for many years, teaching on a variety of modules, including AA100, A214, A224, AA302, AA317, and A873. Away from the OU, he taught on many undergraduate modules in music at Durham University. He also has a strong interest in instrumental pedagogy and holds the DipABRSM in Principles of Piano Teaching.

External collaborations

In 2007 and 2015 Martin Clarke held Visiting Fellowships at Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist University. In 2013, he was an invited speaker at a Consultation on Music and Theology at the Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University. In 2016 he was invited to present lectures to The Wesley Historical Society and The Wesley Historical Society in Wales.

Research Activity

Externally funded projects

Listening and British cultures: listeners' responses to music in Britain, c. 1700-2018

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01/Mar/201628/Feb/2019AHRC Arts & Humanities Research Council
The study of music has typically focused on the work, the composer and the performer. More recently, interest has focused on the listener, but generally from the perspective of psychology or reception studies, which draw their evidence from experimentation, interview or musically informed critical opinion. The approach of this project is different: it places the listener at the heart of musical experience in Britain in the period c.1700-2018, emphasising the written testimony of the impact of music on 'ordinary' people. Typically the material is drawn from diaries, letters and memoirs. The evidence is all the more potent for being personal and often musically 'uninformed' or naïve. The team believes that such evidence facilitates a new way of studying how and what music communicates, and that it can, when gathered as a mass, inform novel approaches to musicology. The project will address three research questions: 1. What can personal accounts of listening to music in Britain tell us about how listeners recognise and identify with a common culture through music? 2. What can these accounts add to our understanding of the place of music in broader aspects of personal, community and national life in Britain? 3. What more can listeners' accounts tell us about the place in British musical life of particular repertoires and their associated performing and listening practices? The project aims to combine empirical research methods effectively with digital research methods. It does not aim merely at gathering 'big data', but sets out to use that data to support a traditional strength of humanities research - close reading of texts to underpin the writing of historical narratives. It builds on the AHRC-funded Listening Experience Database (LED) project (2013-15,, which established a methodology for collecting accounts of listening experiences in any period or culture, and a tool, in the form of a Linked Open Data database, for its storage and analysis. The objectives are: 1. To capture a mass of primary source evidence, and to make it available for analysis through an open-access database. 2. To use this data to inform new understandings of the place of music in British cultural life. 3. To develop a clear methodological framework for using digital content in humanities research, and an effective methodology for the mining and analysis of social media as primary source material for responses to music. 4. To develop the ways in which the database supports entry and analysis of data, and to use the database as a case study for research into the application of Linked Open Data. 5. To disseminate the findings to academic and non-academic audiences through a range of means including publications, social media, knowledge exchange events, seminars and a conference. New insights into the experience of listeners have the potential to inform not only historical musicology but also other research within and beyond the academic community - for example, in performance practice, social and cultural history, religious studies, Celtic studies, area studies, psychology and health studies, sociology and media studies. The project will benefit museums, libraries and archives - in particular, specific institutions with which the team will be working – by informing understanding of and increasing exposure to their collections. It will develop and document a clear methodology for using digital content in humanities research, including large-scale data sets such as social media archives that are currently difficult to use. It will establish data modelling practices transferable to other projects and create data assets of value to both academics and other users such as the media (for example, rich data about a wide range of music).


[Book Review] Wesleyan-Holiness Churches in Australia: Hallelujah under the Southern Cross by Glen O'Brien, Routledge, 2018 (2019)
Clarke, Martin
Wesley and Methodist Studies, 11(2) (pp. 218-220)
[Digital Resource Review] Digital Hymnology: Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology, Hymn Tune Index, (2016-12)
Clarke, Martin V.
Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 13(2) (pp. 421-430)
"And can it be": analysing the words, music and contexts of an iconic Methodist hymn (2016-03-16)
Clarke, Martin
Yale Journal of Music and Religion, 2, Article 2(1)
The Illingworth Moor Singers' Book: a snapshot of Methodist music in the early ninteenth century (2010)
Clarke, Martin
Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 7(1) (pp. 81-103)
John Wesley’s “Directions for Singing”: Methodist Hymnody as an Expression of Methodist Beliefs in Thought and Practice (2009-07)
Clarke, Martin
Methodist History, 47(4) (pp. 196-209)
Spirituality and Practicality: John Wesley’s visit to America and Moravian Influences on Methodist Music and Worship (2008)
Clarke, Martin
Lumen: Selected Proceedings from the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 27 (pp. 13-26)
British Methodist Hymnody: Theology, Heritage, and Experience (2017-07-04)
Clarke, Martin V.
Routledge Methodist Studies
ISBN : 9781472469298 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Church musicians in nineteenth-century Durham (2018-04)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Golding, Rosemary ed. The Music Profession in Britain, 1780-1920: New Perspectives on Status and Identity. Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain (pp. 90-109)
ISBN : 978-1-138-29186-7 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Listening to a singing people: accounts of Methodist hymn-singing (2017-07-31)
Clarke, Martin
In: Barlow, Helen and Rowland, David eds. Listening to music: people, practices and experiences
ISBN : 9781473023208 | Publisher : The Open University
'Meet and Right it is to Sing': nineteenth-century hymnals and the reasons for singing (2012-01-01)
Clarke, Martin
In: Clarke, Martin ed. Music and Theology in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Music in Ninteenth-Century Britain (pp. 21-36)
ISBN : 978-1-4094-0989-2 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Farnham
John Frederick Lampe's Hymns on the Great Festivals and Other Occasions (2010-12-25)
Clarke, Martin
In: Temperley, Nicholas and Banfield, Stephen eds. Music and the Wesleys (pp. 52-62)
ISBN : 9780252077678 | Publisher : University of Illinois Press | Published : Urbana
Music and Theology in Nineteenth-Century Britain (2012-01)
Clarke, Martin ed.
Music in Ninteenth-Century Britain
ISBN : 978-1-4094-0989-2 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Farnham