We are a leading UK music department for research with particular strengths in creative practice, cultural and critical musicology, and performance.
The richness of our research culture comes from our openness to all forms of music and many ways of approaching it. Our research takes effect through many forms, including:
- books and journal articles
- performances and improvisations
- exhibitions and installations
- conference presentations
- public, industry and policy engagement
Our research environment is enhanced by seminars, conferences, special events, and by distinguished visitors such as Joel Sachs, Trisha Rose, Valentina Sandu-Dediu, Marina Frolova-Walker and many others. We thank the Newcastle University Research Committee for funding the visit of Professor John Milsom in 2015, and we are grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for sponsoring Dr Kerry McCarthy's visiting professorship in 2017.
Our research projects
Discover some of the latest high-profile research projects our academics have led on:
Digitizing, restoring, reconstructing and analysing Tudor polyphonic music manuscripts.
Addresses an intensifying EU Crisis through a study of relations between identities and representations and performances of history.
In the broadest terms our research can be grouped into three disciplines.
Musicology at the International Centre for Music Studies is a large field of study, with more than half the academic staff engaging in research and teaching in this area. It includes the usual range of sub-disciplines:
- historical musicology
- popular music studies
- music analysis
We also work and teach in the recent sub-disciplines of musicology including:
- sound studies (including sound art and noise studies)
- music, gender and sexuality
- music and politics
- music and policy
- music and consciousness
- popular and vernacular music
- music and globalisation
- the history of recording and other sound reproduction technologies
- music and diaspora
- music and urban environments
Staff at the International Centre for Music Studies research across a range of geo-political contexts and regional, national and transnational traditions, including:
- Western Europe (Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy),
- Eastern Europe (Romania, Poland, Czech Republic, Ukraine and the former Soviet Union)
- North America
- Latin America
- Africa (Tunisia, South Africa and the Congos)
- The Caribbean
Composition and performance (and related areas of practice such as improvisation, technologically-mediated music and live electronics) are key areas in the research output of our staff.
As performers, we research and perform music from all over the world, from early classical music to contemporary popular music, folk and traditional music and jazz and other kinds of music.
As composers, we engage with experimental trends in Europe and the Americas, and other contemporary music practises from around the world. These approaches are also characterised by our shared interest in:
- technologically-mediated creation and performance
- improvisation and sound art
- European classical and contemporary traditions
- English and Scottish folk musics
- Latin American contemporary and folk music traditions
For information regarding the specific themes currently studied within the three broad disciplines, refer to the list below.
- Caribbean and African musics (de Jong)
- Composition (Edmondes, Fernández, Hogg, Macdonald, McKerrell, Portman, Rezaei, Tickell)
- Early music (Cross, Gibson, Williamson, Zazzo)
- Gender and sexuality (Attinello, Biddle, Gibson, de Jong)
- Improvisation, grooves and beats (Edmondes, Hogg, Rezaei)
- Indian music (Clarke)
- Jazz (Edmondes, Elliott, de Jong, Plastino)
- Jewish Music (Biddle, Fernández)
- Mediterranean music (Plastino, Biddle, Elliott)
- Migration, space mobility, space & place, landscape (Biddle, Fernández, Hicks, Hogg, de Jong)
- Music and Consciousness (Clarke)
- Music Heritage (Cross, Macdonald, McKerrell, Tickell, Williamson)
- Music of the Northeast of England, Borders, Scotland and Shetland (Gibson, Macdonald, McKerrell, Tickell)
- Music and the Holocaust (Biddle)
- Music and Technology (Edmondes, Hogg, Rezaei, Portman)
- Musical materials and sources (Cross, Fernández, Fleet, Gibson, Williamson, Zazzo)
- Performance of classical, contemporary and early music (Cross, Williamson, Zazzo)
- Performance of folk and traditional music (Macdonald, McKerrell, Tickell, Portman)
- Phonography and sound studies (Biddle, Elliott)
- Politics, policy, social impact (Behr, McKerrell)
- Popular music studies (Behr, Edmondes, Elliott, de Jong, Plastino)
- The voice (Attinello, Biddle, Elliott, Zazzo)
- Urban musicology (Behr, Biddle, Elliott, de Jong)
For further information please see our staff profiles.
Our research outputs
Vibrant research environment
Newcastle's distinctiveness stems in part from the plurality of traditions that we teach and research: contemporary, world, popular, folk, classical, and early musics. Approaches to research based on critical and cultural musicology as well as creative practice (composition, improvisation and performance) are paramount, and often blend in a research culture that also has a strongly interdisciplinary complexion (encompassing, for example, new historicism, philosophy, psychology, sociology, ritual studies, film and media studies, visual and sonic art). This rich research environment also colours our pursuit of analytical, historiographical, ethnographic and music-editorial methodologies.
The vitality of our research environment stems from the diversity of our research projects (often supported by UK Research Council grants or internal awards); from collaborative as well as lone-scholar research; from regular events and seminars presented under the umbrella of our research forum; and from a culture enlivened by the presence of some 50 postgraduate research students who often collaborate with staff.
As part of our wider social role, we believe in sharing our research widely and freely; you can see (and download) some of the fruits of our research by visiting ICMuS Commons, Newcastle University’s e-prints service and the websites of individual staff and postgraduate researchers. ICMuS also hosts the journal Radical Musicology.
Our facilities include a substantial collection of musical instruments, and a set of state-of-the-art Music Studios located in a purpose-built £4.5M building, which is linked to Newcastle University Culture Lab – an interdisciplinary centre for digital practice-based research, which includes International Centre for Music Studies researchers among its collaborators.
Research Excellence Framework
In the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise, 95% of all our research was deemed either:
- internationally recognised
- internationally excellent
- world leading
80% of all our research was marked in the highest two categories.