Explore UCD

UCD Home >

Current Research

Current Research

UCD School of Music is home to a small but diverse and close-knit group of faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. We seek in our research to make connections between music performance and the academic study of music, between the subdisciplines of music studies (notably historical musicology and ethnomusicology), and between music studies as a whole and adjacent disciplines (notably cultural history, literary studies, anthropology, film studies, and philosophy). We have particular specialisms in early music, music of the eighteenth century through to the present day, and the music of Ireland, India, and the USA.

We regularly publish our research in books and journals. Graduate students in the School also edit The Musicology Review.

Our lively research culture is based around our seminar series, Graduate Colloquium, and PhD Forum. We regularly host international conferences, most recently the Eighteenth Annual Conference of the Society for Musicology in Ireland. The Society for Musicology in Ireland was itself founded by our own Chair of Music, Harry White, in 2003. One of our PhD students, Anika Babel, is also founding President of the Dublin Musicology Collective.

We are committed to public musicology and to sharing our research beyond the academy. Recent initiatives in this vein include Ciarán Crilly’s Closer Readings series of pre-concert talks and Laura Anderson's Disruptive Soundscapes series of public lectures at the Alliance Française in Dublin.

We place particular emphasis on offering a supportive and productive environment for graduate students, who are fully integrated into the life of the School. We hold a conviction that research and teaching are critically interrelated, mutually sustaining, and equally valued.

Faculty Research Interests

Prof. Harry White (Chair of Music) is widely regarded as the foremost cultural historian of music in Ireland. He has also published extensively on music in early eighteenth-century Austria and Germany, and on aspects of Anglo-American musicology since 1945. His current research is preoccupied by the conceptual prowess of the artwork in Irish music, and the development of privacy as a topos in Fux, Handel and Bach.

Prof. Thérèse Smith is an ethnomusicologist who focuses on research on African American music, Irish traditional music, music and identity, and Irish traditional song. Her interest in the articulation of identity through music intersects with the expression of local, regional, national, international, and religious identity and expression. Her current focus is on international influences on Irish traditional music, harping especially, and the English-language Irish song tradition, particularly as expressed in the Tom Munnelly collection currently archived in the Irish National Folklore Collection.

Assoc. Prof. Wolfgang Marx engages in his research with post-truth and music, György Ligeti, the representation of death in music and the theory of musical genres, privileging interdisciplinary approaches in the context of contemporary societal and academic challenges.

Dr Ciarán Crilly is a performer with an interest in aesthetic conjunctions between music and the visual arts. His current research is focused on contrasting roles of the modern professional conductor and the machine aesthetic in early twentieth-century music.

Dr Frank Lawrence researches Western medieval liturgical chant with particular emphasis on palaeographical, repertorial and codicological studies of manuscript sources from Ireland, Britain and northern Europe. He has additional interests in medieval notation in periods of transition, liturgical history in the medieval West, and Catholic church music in the nineteenth century.

Assoc. Prof. Jaime Jones uses ethnomusicological methods to examine junctures between real and virtual musical practice in two quite different contexts. In India, she has researched music and devotion, with an emphasis on the affective publics sustained through sacred sound. In Ireland, she researches underground music with an emphasis on place, network, and self-curation.

Dr Laura Anderson researches twentieth-century music (particularly French music); music and sound design for film; and digital archiving and cultures. 

Dr Tomás McAuley researches musical, medical, and intellectual histories of music across the long eighteenth century. He also works on contemporary issues at the intersections of music, philosophy, and the medical humanities.

Postdoctoral Research Interests

Dr Kyle Kaplan investigates queer, feminist, and anti-racist perspectives in art music and popular repertoires after 1900, with specific interest in the relationship between music and intimacy. His IRC project restages a set of antagonistic postwar aesthetic debates between Hans Werner Henze and Theodor W. Adorno in order to develop a revitalized model of queer musicological critique. He is also developing a large-scale project on music, dance, and obscenity.

Dr Matthew Thomson researches the music of thirteenth-century France, considering how different musical genres were used within their social and cultural context. His IRC project addresses the place of music within the fundamental changes to the socio-cultural role of love and sexual desire that took place in the thirteenth-century. He also has interests in the role of music in medieval literature and the analysis of medieval music.

UCD School of Music

Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7777