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Dr David Bretherton 

Associate Professor of Music, Director of Undergraduate Programmes (Music)

Dr David Bretherton's photo

Dr David Bretherton is an Associate Professor in Music at the University of Southampton and an Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellow.

My teaching areas are primarily music theory and analysis, harmony and counterpoint, and 19th-century music. In Semester 1, 2020-21 I will be teaching the undergraduate module 'Fundamentals of Counterpoint and Harmony' (MUSI1007), and will also be assisting with teaching on the MMus degree.

I am currently the holder of a prestigious Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellowship for a project entitled 'Queer Music, Queer Theory, Queer Music Theory'. My other research interests include nineteenth-century song, the music of Franz Schubert, and tonal music theory. I supervise several doctoral students undertaking research in various areas of music theory and analysis, and I am always happy to hear from potential PhD applicants.

I came to Southampton as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in 2007, working on several music e-research projects (that is, research employing digital technologies), including musicSpace, MusicNet and SALAMI, before working with Prof. William Drabkin on the 'Heinrich Schenker as Theorist, Teacher and Correspondent, 1925-1930' project. Prior to that I was a doctoral student at the University of Oxford, where my thesis was supervised by Suzannah Clark. I was a founding Trustee for the charitably incorporated Society for Music Analysis, and am currently a member of the Music Analysis Editorial Board.

I am actively involved in the local Branch of the University and College Union, where I am currently joint Equalities Officer.


BA Hons, Music, University of Reading, 2001

MA, Music Theory and Analysis, University of Reading, 2002

DPhil, University of Oxford, 2008

Appointments held

2007-08: Early Career Teaching Fellow, University of Southampton

2007-13: Postdoctoral Research Fellow (attached to various projects), University of Southampton

2013-18: Lecturer, University of Southampton

Since 2018: Associate Professor, University of Southampton

Research interests

Music theory and analysis (particularly of 'common practice' tonal music); queer theory and queer musicology; disability studies; nineteenth-century music; the composer Franz Schubert; art song; and (in the past) digital musicology/humanities and e-research.

Research group

Musicology and Ethnomusicology

Research project(s)

musicSpace - Dormant

This AHRC-EPSRC-JISC-funded project was an interdisciplinary collaboration between Music and Electronics and Computer Science that employed Semantic Web technologies to develop tools to integrate and enhance musicological metadata.

Queer Music, Queer Theory, Queer Music Theory

If a composer is queer, is their music queer too? In the early 1990s Susan McClary proposed that the answer to this question was 'yes'. She furthered Maynard Solomon's controversial proposal that Franz Schubert (1797-1828) might have been gay by suggesting that analysis of Schubert's music (that is, close study of its inner-workings) revealed stylistic features that might be associated with his homosexuality.


SALAMI (Structural Analysis of Large Amounts of Music Information) was a collaborative music information retrieval project involving the University of Southampton, McGill University (Canada), and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA).


The JISC-funded 'MusicNet' project continued the work of musicSpace, and created a set of canonical URIs for composers and other music entities that address the problem of disambiguation and authority control across online repositories of musical and musicological data.

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Book Chapters


Module co-ordinator for 'Fundamentals of Counterpoint and Harmony' (MUSI1007).

Module co-ordinator for ‘Analytical Techniques’ (MUSI6023).

Dr David Bretherton
Music Department
Building 2
University of Southampton
SO17 1BJ

Room Number : 2/2005

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