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
- Music editing
- Computer music
- Sound synthesis
- Audio processing
- Electroacoustic music
- New interfaces for musical expression
- Generative and adaptive music in games
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.
Sexton, M., Hull, A. (2023) "Digital musicology: how can digital humanities support creative practice research?", Creative Exchanges, Interactions & Inspirations: CCI Research and Innovation Conference 2023 - University of Portsmouth
Burrows, G. (2021) "Disentangling the wartime broadcast recordings of Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy", Association for Recorded Sounds Collections Virtual Conference 2021
Macpherson, B. (2020) "Baudrillard on Broadway: bio-musicals, the hyperreal and the cultural politics of 'simuloquism'", Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies
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.
Our research in this area explores how theatre and performance can be used in an educational, community or therapeutic context.
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.
We're discovering answers to political and philosophical problems, by investigating performance and its practices.
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.