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Durham is one of the major centres for research in ethnomusicology in the UK. We specialise in the following research areas: performance, musical entrainment (coordination) and interaction, music and hybridity in diaspora, audio-visual fieldwork documentation, rhythmic analysis, empirical musicology, music in shamanic and other religious ritual contexts, musical semiotics, the history of ethnomusicology and comparative musicology, Indian classical music and Korean music. Our research projects employ a wide range of methods, both traditional and ground-breaking; many are characterised by their interdisciplinarity and involve collaboration with disciplines such as anthropology, theology and religion, or psychology. Staff and research students have carried out recent research in India, Korea, China, south-east Asia, Africa, South America and Europe.

A photograph of a group of musicians sitting on the floor playing instruments, the woman in the centre of the picture is singing

Facilities at Durham include professional-level audio-visual recording and editing equipment (which we train graduate students to use as appropriate). Ethnomusicological discussion and debate takes place both in the context of MA modules and supervisions, in seminars with invited speakers, and in student-led reading groups. A range of support is available for field work and other research expenses, and researchers are encouraged to join our ensembles (including a Javanese gamelan group and Korean percussion ensemble), and to make the most of events in our professional concert series Musicon, which regularly includes East and South Asian music concerts.


Find out more about or staff research interests in Ethnomusicology here

Professor Martin Clayton

Rhythm and tala in Indian music; entrainment, embodiment & interpersonal interaction in performance; interdisciplinary analysis of music performance
Martin Clayton

Professor Laura Leante

Indian and British-Asian music; Diaspora and hybridity; Semiotics
Professor Laura Leante smiling at the camera

Dr Simon Mills

Korean music; Shamanism; Buddhist music; Music and ritual; Rhythm analysis
Dr Simon Mills

Dr Simone Tarsitani

Audio-visual ethnomusicology; Sufi ritual in East Africa
A photograph of Dr Simone Tarsitani sitting at a desk, facing the monitor

Dr Samuel Horlor

Chinese popular music; street performance; audience research
An image of Dr Samuel Horlor