Research Interests

Further information about the MPhil/PhD in Music may be found in the Postgraduate Prospectus. Music staff offer expertise in the general areas of Musicology and Composition (including electroacoustic music), and in association with the Elphinstone Institute can also offer supervision in Scottish music taking an ethnomusicological approach. For a PhD in Composition, there is no stipulated requirement for written work, and in theory it would be possible to submit a folio of pieces of music provided that the underpinning research is evident. However, in practice most submissions include at least some element of commentary of around 10,000 words. 

Further information about staff research interests may be found in the Prospectus by clicking the Research Interests tab. You are also welcome to contact our staff members. General areas include: 

  • Three Cities ProjectComposition: electroacoustic and sound art, particularly acousmatic music, soundscape composition and sound installations
  • Composition: instrumental
  • Composition: microtonal
  • Composition: vocal and choral
  • Computational analysis of Renaissance counterpoint
  • Contemporary European music
  • Editing of early music (15th to 18thcenturies)
  • Eighteenth-century Venetian vocal and instrumental music, especially Vivaldi and Ruggieri
  • Historical, analytical and aesthetic approaches to European modernism, including Boulez, opera and the interrelation of musical thought and critical theory
  • Music Education, especially composition in the music curriculum
  • Performance practice
  • Scottish music manuscripts
  • Sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century keyboard, consort and lute music, especially from England and the Netherlands
Current and Recent PGR Research Projects

Research Project

Supervisor(s)

Analysis of Bach’s organ works

Prof. David J. Smith

Dr Frauke Jürgensen

Aspects of genre in the secular vocal music of Cornelis Verdonck (1563/4-1625)

Prof. David J. Smith

Dr Jasmin Cameron

Consort music by William Byrd

Prof. David J. Smith

Mr Richard Turbet

Eighteenth-century Venetian music

Dr Jamsin Cameron

Prof. David J. Smith

Electroacoustic Composition, Aesthetics and Theories of Audio Technology and Composition (several students)

Prof. Pete Stollery

Dr Suk-Jun Kim

Sound Art and Installation

Dr Suk-Jun Kim

Instrumental Composition (several students)

Prof. Paul Mealor

Prof. Pete Stollery

Revival of music in the Scottish Catholic church

Prof. David J. Smith

Dr Edward Campbell

Scottish fiddle music and its transmission from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the present.

Prof. David J. Smith

Prof. Ian Russell

The relationship between vocal and instrumental Scottish repertories up to c. 1800 in the context of contemporary manuscript and printed sources exemplified through the Scottish music collections held in the National Library of Scotland

Prof. David J. Smith

Prof. James Porter

Vocal composition (several students)

Prof. Paul Mealor

Dr Phillip Cooke

Written-out organ parts in 17th-century England and their significance for the performance of basso continuo

Prof. David J. Smith

Dr Frauke Jürgensen

PGR Applications

We welcome applications from students wishing to pursue a research degree in any of the areas identified under individual staff profiles or on the research web pages. In addition, the information about recent and current research students provides a guide to the range of what we can offer. Prospective applicants are encouraged to make informal advances to potential supervisors before applying.

Research Plan

Please present an outline of your Postgraduate study research plan, which should consist of the following

  1. Working title for your project
  2. Statement of your proposed project – the subject, and what the project sets out to accomplish.
    1. For Musicology or Music History, include a summary of the your methodological approach, and the resources required to carry out your project.
    2. For Composition, please indicate for which resources you intend to compose (for example: instrumental, vocal, electroacoustic, sound art, or a combination).
  3. An indication of how your project fits with current or pre-existing research in the field.
    1. For Musicology or Music History, a short survey of the literature available and an indication of key texts or resources.
    2. For Composition, indicate with which genres, styles, and/or methodologies your project most closely aligns.
  4. A statement of how your proposed project fits with current areas of research in the Music Department at the University of Aberdeen. If possible, identify specific staff members whose research interests most closely align with your proposed project.
  5. An indication of the proposed time scale for your project.

How to Apply

  1. Send your initial research proposal (as detailed above) to the Music Office (music@abdn.ac.uk)
  2. Once contact has been established, you may be requested to send supporting materials of recent work. In the case of Musicology or Music History, a recent paper or essay and in the case of Composition, a portfolio of recent compositions, totalling up to 20 minutes in length.
  3. Once confirmation of interest has been indicated by a member of the Music Department, you will need to complete and submit (online or download) the Postgraduate Application.