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 (opens in a new window)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 (opens in a new window)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

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

(opens in a new window)Dr Seán Clancy is an experimental composer from Dublin. His music has been performed all around the world and has been described as ‘Equal part sacred & seductive’ (Tempo); ’As an affecting reminder of minimalism’s capacity to feel deeply personal and purposeful’ (The Quietus); and ‘Beautifully simple yet elusive’ (The New York Times). His research investigates musical translation, examining minimal compositional strategies over extended periods of time, devised collaboration, and the intersection of visual/performance art through practice research and autoethnographic methodologies.

(opens in a new window)Assoc. Prof. 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.

(opens in a new window)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.

(opens in a new window)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.

(opens in a new window)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.

(opens in a new window)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.

(opens in a new window)Prof. Harry White (Chair of Music(opens in a new window)) 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.

Postdoctoral & Research Fellowship Interests 

(opens in a new window)Dr Chrysi Kyratsou (Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow): Her research project  argues for the value of actively engaging with music among asylum seekers sheltering in receptions centres in Greece. It considers particularly how music-engagement, namely listening by oneself/in-group, teaching and learning music, making music in (in)formal settings (rehearsing, concert-performance), interlaces with the traumatic experience of displacement, and the uncertainties and precarity that asylum-seeking limbo induces.

(opens in a new window)Dr Francesco Milella (Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow): His current research project explores how the Atlantic circulation of Italian opera contributed to the crisis of the Spanish American empire. This project takes this bidirectional perspective to analyse how Italian opera became interconnected with Enlightenment debates in ways that undermined the stability of the Spanish empire: it explores not only the reception and reinterpretation of Italian operas in late-colonial Mexico but also Europe’s fictionalisation of Mexico’s early colonial history in Italian operas of the same period. 

(opens in a new window)Dr Sarah Raine (Science Foundation Ireland-Irish Research Council Pathway Fellow): Sarah’s SFI-IRC Pathway Fellowship project considers a significant issue on the island of Ireland – the considerable gender imbalance within improvisation, and amongst instrumentalists more generally – and addresses the lack of scholarly understanding of women and gender-minority musicians. This co-produced, collaborative four-year project aims to facilitate the sharing of practice and knowledge amongst fifteen musicians, involving them in generating, analysing, and articulating data. Through collaborators (Improvised Music Company, the UCD-based research team, and fifteen musician partners), outputs, and a mixed-methods approach to data gathering, this project will also place this evidence within a wider, island of Ireland context. Findings will be analysed through frames from gender studies, queer studies, anthropology, and cultural and media studies, considering what we find out when we consider gender identity within the context of improvised music-making.

UCD School of Music

Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8178 | E: music@ucd.ie