Music at the University of Aberdeen combines expertise in composition, creative practice, community music, ethnomusicology, musicology, music education, music theory and sonic arts. Our staff produce internationally recognised academic and creative outputs with a strong interdisciplinary approach, as well as engaging in public facing activities and impact projects. Research at the department is strengthened by our diverse group of PhD students. The department is also home to major research groups and projects, and holds regular research seminars and forums run by staff and PGR students. We also maintain close links with the Elphinstone Institute, especially in the areas of ethnomusicology and traditional music.
Our Research Areas
- Composition and Performance
The department has key strengths in creative practice, including composers and performers whose works crosses a range of genres (choral music, electroacoustic, contemporary ensemble music, medieval and renaissance), as well as encompassing composition as research, computational analysis and performance studies.
- Ethnomusicology and Traditional Music in Scotland
The department of music and the Elphinstone Institute balance local and international topics in ethnomusicological research, with specialisms in Scottish instrumental and vocal music (especially from the North East), the music of Spain (especially flamenco and popular music) and North African music traditions. Thematic topics include: collaborative ethnography, identity, sacred music and postcolonial studies.
Staff specialisms in musicology cover the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods, as well as the 19th to 21st centuries. There are particular strengths in aesthetics, contemporary opera, European modernism, and music and theatre across a range of geographical contexts including Britain, France, Germany and Spain.
- Music, Community and Education
The department contributes to both the theory and practice around community music and music education, with key strengths in informal learning, digital creativity, improvisation as pedagogy and jazz in music education.
- Music, Place and Politics
Music is never independent of the social, cultural and political contexts in which it is made. Crossing musicology and ethnomusicology, a key research strand at the department is the relationship between music (across genres, historical periods and geographical contexts), place and politics, focusing on themes such as mobility and migration, postcolonial studies, urban history, gender, nationalism and heritage.
- Sound Studies and Sound Art
Moving beyond music, staff at the department are interested in human and non-human sounds, and how we make sense out of the sound worlds that we experience on a day-to-day basis. From humming and bellringing, to Muslim soundscapes in Spain and the creation of sound art installations, sound is viewed as an intrinsic part of the human experience.