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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 and ethnomusicology encompasses Western art music traditions from the middle ages onward, and music in contemporary and popular culture. We have strengths in gender and sexuality; musical institutions; music, ethnicity and nation; disability studies; reception; music analysis and history of theory; early music; popular music; film; and opera. Our composers write contemporary concert works and music for theatre, television and film; we also work on community composition, including for non-traditional communities such as the hearing impaired.

Our composers deploy established performing resources as well as new media, and engage with styles from the experimental, to mainstream classical, jazz and pop. Our work in performance features both practice-led research by professional performers, and musicological study of performance and performance history. Particular strengths include early music and 20th/21st century performance, including collaboration with composers on new works and premieres.

Southampton research students are active in all 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 has a vibrant research environment with a fantastic team of colleagues and a large, diverse community of postgraduate students from all over the world. Gaining multiple perspectives on research questions and ideas is a major advantage of working and studying here.

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