We are a leading UK music department for research with particular strengths in creative practice, cultural and critical musicology, and performance.

The richness of our research culture comes from our openness to all forms of music and many ways of approaching it. Our research takes effect through many forms, including:

  • books and journal articles
  • compositions
  • performances and improvisations
  • exhibitions and installations
  • conference presentations
  • public, industry and policy engagement

Our research environment is enhanced by seminars, conferences, special events, and by distinguished visitors such as Joel Sachs, Trisha Rose, Valentina Sandu-Dediu, Marina Frolova-Walker and many others. We thank the Newcastle University Research Committee for funding the visit of Professor John Milsom in 2015, and we are grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for sponsoring Dr Kerry McCarthy's visiting professorship in 2017 and our current Leverhulme Fellow from 2019, Dr. Lawrence Davies. 

Our research projects

Discover some of the latest high-profile research projects our academics have led on:

Research themes

In the broadest terms our research can be grouped into three disciplines. 

For information regarding the specific themes currently studied within the three broad disciplines, refer to the list below.

Our research outputs

Vibrant research environment

Newcastle's distinctiveness stems in part from the plurality of traditions that we teach and research: contemporary, world, popular, folk, classical, and early musics. Approaches to research based on critical and cultural musicology as well as creative practice (composition, improvisation and performance) are paramount, and often blend in a research culture that also has a strongly interdisciplinary complexion (encompassing, for example, new historicism, philosophy, psychology, sociology, ritual studies, film and media studies, visual and sonic art). This rich research environment also colours our pursuit of analytical, historiographical, ethnographic and music-editorial methodologies.

The vitality of our research environment stems from the diversity of our research projects (often supported by UK Research Council grants or internal awards); from collaborative as well as lone-scholar research; from regular events and seminars presented under the umbrella of our research forum; and from a culture enlivened by the presence of some 50 postgraduate research students who often collaborate with staff.

As part of our wider social role, we believe in sharing our research widely and freely; you can see (and download) some of the fruits of our research by visiting ICMuS Commons, Newcastle University’s e-prints service and the websites of individual staff and postgraduate researchers. ICMuS also hosts the journal Radical Musicology.

Our facilities include a substantial collection of musical instruments, and a set of state-of-the-art Music Studios located in a purpose-built £4.5M building, which is linked to Newcastle University Culture Lab – an interdisciplinary centre for digital practice-based research, which includes International Centre for Music Studies researchers among its collaborators.

Research Excellence Framework

In the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise, 95% of all our research was deemed either:

  • internationally recognised
  • internationally excellent
  • world leading

80% of all our research was marked in the highest two categories