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Dr Martin Clarke

Martin Clarke

Profile summary

Professional biography

Martin Clarke is a musicologist specialising in the intersections between music, theology, and religious practice. He joined the central academic staff of The Open University as a Lecturer in Music in 2014, and was made a Senior Lecturer in 2019. He became Head of Discipline in August 2020. From 2008-16 he was also an Associate Lecturer, tutoring undergraduate and postgraduate modules in Music and Arts & Humanities. From 2016-19 he served as Director of Teaching (Arts & Humanities) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He was educated at St Martin's Comprehensive School, Caerphilly, and St Chad's College, 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. Projects in progress include co-editing one volume of the five-volume Oxford Handbook of Music and Christian Theology, and co-editing the Cambridge History of Welsh Music.

Martin was a Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded Listening Experience Database project, as part of which he worked on a study of Listening Experiences in Christian Worship in Britain. His work on this project has been published in Nineteenth-Century Music Review and in two volumes of essays based on contributions to project conferences. In this Faculti interview, Martin speaks about his work on this project.

He is an experienced doctoral supervisor. Former students have completed theses on Sir Arthur Sullivan, and on theological aesthetics, while current PhD students are working on projects relating to a variety of aspects of British musical culture in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. He would welcome enquries from potential research students in the areas of hymnody, the relationship between music and theology, and music and British culture.

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

Teaching interests

Martin has written units for A234 Understanding Music, A342 Central Questions in the Study of Music and both parts of the MA in Music, A873 and A874. He 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. He is currently module team chair for A342. 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 an interest in instrumental pedagogy and holds the DipABRSM in Principles of Piano Teaching.

Impact and engagement

Martin has given talks and lectures for the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, the Charles Wesley Society, and the Wesley Historical Society. He contributes to the Museum of Methodism's blog and is a reviewer for Organists' Review.

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.

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).


Charles Wesley, Methodism and new art music in the long eighteenth century (2021-08-17)
Clarke, Martin V.
Eighteenth-Century Music, 18(2) (pp. 271-293)

Hearing and Believing: Listening Experiences as Religious Experiences in Nineteenth-Century British Methodism (2020-12)
Clarke, Martin V.
Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 17(3) (pp. 381-402)

[Book Review] Wesley Hymns (2019)
Clarke, Martin V.
Wesley and Methodist Studies, 11(2) (pp. 222-224)

[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

Music (2021-10)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Barbeau, Jeffrey W. ed. The Cambridge Companion to British Romanticism and Religion. Cambridge Companions (pp. 293-310)
ISBN : 9781108711050 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

Churches and Devotional Practice (2020-08)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Watt, Paul; Collins, Sarah and Allis, Michael eds. The Oxford Handbook of Music and Intellectual Culture in the Nineteenth Century
Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

‘O Lord, open thou our lips’: listeners’ experiences of BBC Radio 3’s Choral Evensong on The New Radio 3 Forum (2019-07)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Barlow, Helen and Rowland, David eds. The Experience of Listening to Music: Methodologies, Identities, Histories
ISBN : 9781473028647 | Publisher : The Open University | Published : Milton Keynes

“Come, all you people”: Lutheran Influences on the Spread of Global Hymnody (2019)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Schildt, Maria; Lundberg, Mattias and Lundblad, Jonas eds. Celebrating Lutheran Music: Scholarly Perspectives at the Quincentenary. Studia musicologica Upsaliensia (pp. 337-350)
ISBN : 978-91-513-0809-8 | Publisher : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis | Published : Uppsala

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