Oxford Handbook of Cinematic Listening

The Oxford Handbook of Cinematic Listening has just been published online. Edited by Carlo Cenciarelli, it features a chapter by OU Music Lecturer Ben Winters entitled ‘Historical Sound-Film Presentation and the Closed-Curtain Roadshow Overture’.

The chapter examines historical presentational practices of sound film and, specifically, the extra music added to roadshow versions of films between the 1930s and 1960s—including Gone with the WindWest Side StoryIt’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. It argues that such added music—which included overtures, intermission, entr’acte, and exit music—when combined with controlled theatrical lighting and use of the curtain, might have prompted a number of different cinematic listening experiences among audiences. Winters suggests that an understanding of these historical presentational practices might call into question comfortable assumptions about the nature of sound-film ontology and the relationship between cinema as “Text” and cinema as “Event”—issues that resonate with the discourse surrounding historically informed performance (HIP) practice in musicology.

The print version will appear next month.

Posted in Research | Comments Off on Oxford Handbook of Cinematic Listening

OAE premieres new concert on digital platform

The Music Department’s partner orchestra, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, has recorded the programme of a concert scheduled during the global health crisis for performance on its digital platform, OAE Player.

The film goes live on 10 February 2021 at 8pm. It will remain available on the OAE player thereafter. Below is the announcement of the premiere by the orchestra:


Watch a short clip from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde on YouTube
Book your ticket to watch the premiere of the complete film on OAE Player

Filmed in the beautiful Henry Wood Hall in Trinity Church Square and directed by Geoffrey Paterson, th​is film explores the tumultuous nature of romance through new arrangements of Wagner’s iconic Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, as well as other works from Richard Strauss, Webern and Pfitzner.

This programme is based on Thomas Mann’s novel Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkühn, Told by a Friend. In the novel, the eponymous character enters into a Faustian pact in which he trades his soul for compositional genius. The music in the concert relates to Mann’s novel through both direct references and thematic inferences.

Arrangements by OAE Principal Horn, Roger Montgomery.

WEBERN Passacaglia
WAGNER ‘Prelude’ and ‘Liebestod’ from Tristan und Isolde
PFITZNER Act 2 Vorspiel from Palestrina
STRAUSS Salome (excerpt)
WAGNER Act 3 Vorspiel from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

This film will premiere on Wednesday 10 February but you can pre-book your front-row seat to our upcoming OAE Player premiere now. Once you’ve added the concert to your basket and paid (£7), you are all set to watch the premiere when it starts at 8 pm.

Posted in Events, News, Performance | Comments Off on OAE premieres new concert on digital platform

ConductIT MOOC now live

In 2018, Naomi Barker from the OU Music department joined a team of conducting experts to create online resources for teaching conductors. The project, called ConductIT is funded by the ERASMUS scheme and spearheaded by the University of Stavanger (Norway), with the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Aveiro (Portugal). Today we are delighted to announce that the ConductIT MOOC is now live on the website!

ConductIT logo

This short course on conducting is aimed at anyone interested in conducting, from the general public, through musicians and teachers who have to direct ensembles but have no prior training, to students who may be thinking of conducting as a career. It is the first section of what will be a large online resource for teaching and learning conducting which will be available globally. Over the coming year, further resources will be added to the online resources, covering techniques, rehearsal strategies, score study and preparation and insights into conducting as a career.

The COVID 19 pandemic impacted the production of video materials documenting rehearsals and performances as events were cancelled across Europe. In the midst of this adversity, RNCM’s Mark Heron invited twelve well-known conductors to make short videos with advice about using unexpected ‘down time’. These videos are also now available in the ConductIT library of resources.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Complete Works of Robert Johnson now available!

We are delighted to announce the publication of Musica Scotica Volume VIII:  The Complete Works of Robert Johnson, edited by Elaine Moohan and Kenneth Elliott.

Cover image of Complete Works of Robert Johnson, ed. Elaine Moohan

This volume contains the complete surviving works of the sixteenth-century Scottish composer, Robert Johnson. These include sacred works in Latin and English, songs, and instrumental consorts.  In addition, there are several fragmentary works, some of which are reconstructed. This edition will be of particular interest to choral directors, singers, and small instrumental ensembles, as well as musicologists and those with an interest in Scottish music of the sixteenth century.

Copies can be purchased from the Scottish Music Centre, for the special discounted price of £47 (valid until 7 February 2021), and offprints of 22 individual works, or selections of works, can be downloaded for £10 each, with licence to print multiple copies for ensemble rehearsal and performance.


Posted in Performance, Research | Comments Off on Complete Works of Robert Johnson now available!

OU academic writes about Beethoven for international virtual exhibition

Beethoven's ear trumpetsDecember 2020 sees Beethoven’s 250th birthday, and to mark the anniversary, Dr Robert Samuels of the OU Music Department has contributed an item to Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition (RÊVE).

The exhibition publishes a new ‘exhibit’ each month, and each contains an image of an object connected to a figure important to the Romantic movement, with a short essay on its significance. Robert’s choice is an essay on Beethoven’s ear trumpets.

The virtual exhibition is part of a larger project, European Romanticisms in Association (ERA), a pan-European network that brings together individual researchers, scholarly associations, and heritage institutions engaged in research into European Romanticism. The Co-ordinator of the whole project is Professor Nicola Watson of the English Department at the OU.

You can find Robert’s post about Beethoven’s ear trumpets by clicking this link to the RÊVE website .

Posted in News, Research | Comments Off on OU academic writes about Beethoven for international virtual exhibition

Former OU PhD student publishes book

Cover image for British Army Music in the Interwar Years, by David HammondDavid Hammond, a former OU music research student, has published a book based upon his PhD: British Army Music in the Interwar Years: Culture, Performance, and Influence. It tells the story of the 7,000 full-time bandsmen serving in the British army in the interwar years – what it was like to be an army musician, their influence on the music industry, and how, through soft power, they made a significant contribution to the maintenance of British imperial authority. British Army Music in the Interwar Years is selling well and already receiving favourable reviews:

‘Major David B Hammond’s newly released book shines a brilliant light on another pivotal source of the development of musical talent in Britain – the Army, more specifically, Army Bands … The book reads particularly fluently and there are many fascinating illustrations. Enjoy it while finding out about the institutions which have gifted so much to the world of music in Britain, in the past and still today.’ (The British Music Society)

‘This scrupulously researched and very readable volume is sure to be invaluable … The result is fascinating.’ (The Light Music Society)

British Army Music in the Interwar Years was due to have been launched at the National Army Museum in April but was postponed until later in the year (date tbc) due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

David first started studying with The Open University Business School in 2006 when he was a full-time Director of Music in the British army, taking exams in the Falkland Islands and studying in other far-flung places. After completing an MBA he became a music research student and was awarded his PhD in 2018.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Former OU PhD student publishes book

MA in Music

The Open University music department is delighted to invite applications for its innovative MA in music, which you can study from anywhere.

This fascinating introduction to the methods and materials used for music research will suit professionals working in a wide range of music-related settings, and is also applicable if you have a leisure interest in music. Your studies will be based in the digital humanities using creative technologies to develop your research skills and critically analyse a variety of musical sources. You’ll encounter a number of musical topics, themes and repertoires from different periods and styles – as you engage with Western, non-Western and popular music – and will be able to tailor your studies according to your musical interests.

Students who have completed their degrees commented that:

  • “My horizons expanded greatly from all the materials and activities…The weekly format [was] easy to grasp”
  • “I enjoyed the freedom of choice in assessments. This allowed [me] to concentrate on aspects of music that interested me and allowed me to work to my strengths.”
  • “[T]he experience was completely worthwhile and I am finding it hard to adjust to the hole left by the absence of [the MA]! I went into this MA to challenge myself and for personal satisfaction and I have not been disappointed.”
  • “I found the course extremely stimulating, challenging and exciting and am pleased I took the plunge to enrol. The research opened up many new avenues for me to explore and I felt the whole experience was a deeply fulfilling one.”

Registration opens 18 March 2020.  More information can be found here.

Posted in Teaching | Comments Off on MA in Music

Pre-concert talks with the OAE

The next events in our partnership with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment are pre-concert talks by Robert Samuels of the OU Music department, before the orchestra’s programme ‘Mozart’s Final Flourish’.

Cecelia Bruggemeyer of the OAE

Cecelia Bruggemeyer of the OAE

The concerts present the composer’s last three symphonies (No. 39, K543 in E flat; No. 40, K550 in G minor; and No. 41, ‘Jupiter’, K550 in C), which were all written in two months over the summer of 1788. The talk is titled Pure Inspiration or Self-Promotion? and is free to attend.

The concerts take place at The Anvil, Basingstoke, on February 6 (talk at 6:30 pm) and at the Southbank Centre, London, on 7 February (talk at 6 pm). Students can obtain tickets for the concerts at the special rate of five pounds, through the OAE box office.

Full details of the concerts can be found on the OAE website.

Posted in Events, News, Performance | Comments Off on Pre-concert talks with the OAE

PhD is student’s fourth OU music qualification

Tom Hewitt with supervisor Robert Samuels

OU Music student Tom Hewitt has qualified for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) after successfully completing his viva voce examination on 8 January. Tom’s thesis was supervised by Robert Samuels of the Music Department and David Roden of the Philosophy Department. Its title is Cyborg Music: A Future Musicotechnographic Aesthetic, and it explores the philosophical and practical consequences of the reliance of humans on technology to create music.

Tom with his PhD examiners, Dr Sean Williams (OU) and Professor Peter Dayan (Edinburgh).

Tom first started studying with The Open University in 1987, while working for the Metropolitan Police Service. Since taking early retirement from the Met, he has acquired three degrees and a diploma from the OU: a BA in 2010 with modules in Music, Maths and Philosophy; an MA in Music in 2013; and now a PhD. He also gained the Diploma in Music in 2009, which was awarded to students who had completed modules in Music at Level 2 and Level 3 before the introduction of the full BA Music degree.

Tom’s story is one of hard work, long dedication and great intellectual creativity. The Department offers him its warmest congratulations on his achievement and very best wishes for his future.

Posted in News, Research | Comments Off on PhD is student’s fourth OU music qualification

Research round-up: December 2019

Here’s a quick round-up of recent research activities, publications and events involving OU Music academics.

Prize for Emeritus Professor’s book

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Brass Instruments, edited by Trevor Herbert, Arnold Myers and John Wallace, has been named as one of the winners of the Choice Outstanding Academic Titles of 2019. Choice is the reviews journal of the Association of College and Research Librarians, a division of the American Libraries Association. 6,000 academic titles across all subjects were submitted for the awards.

Cultural History of Glasgow Research Network

At the Public Study Day, Saturday 16th November, Dr Elaine Moohan and other network members presented collaborative talks about their research as well as a number of short talks about how to interpret types of archival documents and museum artefacts. These will shortly appear on the project website as Toolkits for research.

Friends of Glasgow Cathedral lecture

Elaine Moohan was delighted to be invited back to a meeting of the Friends of Glasgow Cathedral on St Andrew’s Day. She gave a lecture about church music in Glasgow during the 70 years following the Scottish Reformation of 1560.

Recent publications

Elaine Moohan’s edition of the complete works of Robert Johnson (c1500-c1560) is now in press and will be shortly available. Johnson’s works include church music for 2-5 voices, songs, and instrumental pieces. Individual works will be available as pdfs to encourage choirs to add his music to their repertoire.

An essay by Helen Coffey on ‘Music and ceremony in Maximilian’s Innsbruck’ has just been published on the University of Vienna’s Musikleben website.

Laura Hamer has had two chapters published in The Cambridge History of Music Criticism, edited by Christopher Dingle: ‘Critiquing the Canon: The Role of Criticism on Canon Formation’ and ‘The Gender Paradox: Criticism of Women and Women as Critics’. Earlier this year, Laura’s essay ‘A Cultural Formation: Dukas and Elsa Barraine’ was published in  Paul Dukas: Legacies of a French Musician, edited by Helen Minors and Laura Watson.

An article by Naomi Barker titled ‘Mottos and Metaphors: Towards an Interpretation of the Emblems in Frescobaldi’s Primo libro d’arie musicali’ was recently published in the Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music, the official journal of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music.

Martin Clarke‘s chapter ‘“Come, All You People”: Lutheran Influences on the Spread of Global Hymnody’ was published in Celebrating Lutheran Music: Scholarly Perspectives at the Quincentenary, edited by Jonas Lundblad, Mattias Lundberg and Maria Schildt.

Head of Department Byron Dueck recently translated an historically important article on pentatonic music theory. The original article was written by Constantin Brăiloiu and published in 1955 as “Un problème de tonalité (La métabole pentatonique)”. The translation, entitled “A problem of tonality (Pentatonic metamorphosis)”, has been published in Translingual Discourse in Ethnomusicology.

Robert Samuels‘ blog post ‘Schoenberg’s Coalition Chess’ has been republished in Spanish in the journal El Rapto de Europa.

Posted in News, Research | Comments Off on Research round-up: December 2019