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The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities


Southampton is an internationally-recognised centre of excellence for research in music. We were ranked top in the UK by the most recent national research evaluation (REF 2014).

Our work in musicology/ethnomusicology encompasses European art music, popular music, and a variety of global musics, particularly those of Latin America and East Asia. We have strengths in British music history; cultural policy; early music; eighteenth-century studies; music theory; gender, sexuality and queer studies; music, science and technology studies; arts funding and management; musical theatre and opera of the global north; nineteenth-century studies (especially opera and art song); postcolonial and critical race studies.

Working across commercial and experimental settings, our composers write electronic dance music; instrumental and vocal music for concerts, opera, installations and experimental settings; music for community groups, film, new media, television, theatre and video games; and soundscape compositions. In music technology, our staff are involved in AI-based tools for music production; digital composition; interactive music systems; and work with conductors on motion capture.

Our work in performance features both practice-led research by professional performers, and the study of European art music performance and performance history. Particular strengths include early music; the creation and implementation of critical editions especially of medieval and Renaissance music and 19th-century opera; and 20th/21st century performance, including collaboration with composers on new works and premieres.

Southampton research students are active in these fields, and we offer expert supervision for student research at MMus and PhD level in a broad range of topics.


Our regular research seminars host invited UK and international speakers, including eminent scholars for two-day Hartley Residencies involving seminars, round tables and postgraduate meetings.  


Our research groups include Musicology and Ethnomusicology; Composition and Music Technology; and Performance.  


We have had outstanding success in obtaining research council and other funding for large research projects.  

Research centres

The interdisciplinary CMRC and SCECS centres act to focus and support staff and postgraduate research, linking musical study to work in history, philosophy, literature, and languages.  

Key facts

Southampton is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for research in music. We were ranked top in the UK in the most recent national research evaluation (REF 2014).

Southampton has a dynamic research environment with a diverse community of postgraduate students from all over the world working in areas such as composition, musicology, performance practice, technology, and web science. The sense of community is strong, with a large number of research events across the year where staff, students and guests share their work for fresh perspectives.

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