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Music research

Explore our music research, an area of expertise in both Theatre, Performance and Music, and Digital and Creative Technologies

Music and sound play key roles in contemporary media and society, and our research in music composition, practices and technologies explores the role of musical creativity across different forms – including musical theatre, western classic music, electroacoustic music, audio software programming, and instrument design.

We're also exploring the function of music in interactive medias, such as video games and virtual/augmented reality. We specialise in the creation, or composition, of these different mediums, analysing them historically and socially, and delivering them to new audiences.

We also develop new tools for exploring the way music interacts with other areas in society. For example, a recent project in sonification involved turning non-musical data – such as stock market information — into music for both artistic and scientific purposes. Another project created scores to allow new performances of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Yeomen of the Guard.

Our research topics

  • Composition
  • Music editing
  • Computer music
  • Sound synthesis
  • Audio processing
  • Electroacoustic music
  • New interfaces for musical expression
  • Generative and adaptive music in games
  • Sonification

Methods and facilities

While traditional modes of analysis of compositions, performances, instruments, and software are used, much of our research is practice driven. As such, research often takes place through the performances and creation of music. We develop tools that enable creativity, which are often creative in themselves.

We have a collection of boutique synthesizers, including a rare Buchla modular system. Alongside this, the University has a suite of development kits for commercial game audio and virtual reality work. There are also rehearsal and recording studios featuring a Neve Genesys Black G96, a Dolby Atmos Surround Sound Studio, five SSL editing pods and high-end outboard gear including a Manley Massive Passive EQ and a Maselec Multi-Band Compressor. 

Publication highlights

Picture of a Saxophone - Life solved Logo with introduction title

Podcast | Life Solved: Jazz - the original music rulebreaker ft. Professor George Burrows

In this episode we found out how the swing band, ‘Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy’, helped place popular music at the centre of cultural change in the 1920s and 1930s, and how echoes of early 20th century jazz continues to influence 21st century music.

Listen Now

Our members

George Edward Thomas Burrows Portrait

Professor George Burrows

Associate Dean (Research and Innovation)

School of Art, Design, and Performance

Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries

PhD Supervisor

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Adrian George Spear Hull Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Adrian Hull

Head of School

School of Creative Technologies

Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries

PhD Supervisor

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Mark David Sexton Portrait

Mr Mark Sexton

Academic Lead (Sound and Vision)

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Dr Andy Dolphin

Senior Lecturer

PhD Supervisor

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Benjamin Jonathan Macpherson Portrait

Dr Ben Macpherson

Reader in Vocal Theatres

School of Art, Design, and Performance

Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries

PhD Supervisor

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Discover our areas of expertise

Music composition, practices and technologies is one of our areas of expertise in Theatre, Performance and Music research, and our Digital and Creative Technologies research – explore the other areas below.

Applied Theatre

Our research in this area explores how theatre and performance can be used in an educational, community or therapeutic context.

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Musical theatre

Our work engages with forms that articulate music with theatre, and explores the historical, social, economic and educational contexts underpinning shows on Broadway and the West End.

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Performance Practices

We're discovering answers to political and philosophical problems, by investigating performance and its practices.

Person marking sheet music with light blue pencil
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Digital and Creative Technologies research

We're fuelling technological advances in animation, visual effects (VFX), cross reality (XR), user experience (UX), computer and video games, and visual computing. Discover the work we do.

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Discover our research

Interested in a PhD in Theatre, Music and Performance?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Theatre, Performance and Music postgraduate research degrees page.