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Research centres and other major projects

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AHRC Research Centre for Cross-Cultural Music and Performance
A collaborative centre funded from 2002 to 2007 addressed questions raised by the performance of sound and movement, particularly within Asian and African artistic practice, seeking a symbiosis between the performance concerns of ethnomusicology and musicology, and exploring analysis methodologies utilised in theatre and dance research. The current project is shared between Roehampton University and SOAS. It explores the complex and shifting landscape of Indonesian dance and music heritage and its contemporary reconstitution – including notably its openness to different interpretations – through focusing on choreography. To approach the choreographic process, practice is being investigated as the object of study. The project prioritises practice-based research and acknowledges performers as primary agents of interpretation and theorisation.

AHRC Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice
The AHRC Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice (CMPCP) was launched in October 2009, with a five-year research programme focused on live musical performance and creative music-making. CMPCP conducted five research projects with associated workshops. A Performance Studies Network enabled collaborative research between scholars and performers from around the world, and Visiting Fellowships and three doctoral studentships were also awarded. The Centre continued for a sixth year until September 2015, at which point it was succeeded by the Cambridge Centre for Musical Performance Studies.

AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music
The AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM) was established in April 2004, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. A partnership of Royal Holloway, University of London (host institution) with King’s College, London and the University of Sheffield, CHARM’s aim was to promote the musicological study of recordings, drawing on a wide range of approaches ranging from computational analysis to business history. Its activities included a major discographical project, residential symposia and other events, and research projects.

ATHE Performance Studies Focus Group
Since its inception the Performance Studies Focus Group (PSFG) has expanded the scope of ATHE’s scholarship, drawing upon interdisciplinary methods, scholars, and ideas to broaden the field. The PSFG has consistently sponsored a wide variety of multi-disciplinary panels and has, within the context of ATHE, expanded the scholarship and discussion of the parameters and functions of ‘performance’. Since 2003, the PSFG has hosted an exciting pre-conference exploring in depth a variety of performance studies topics.

Australian Centre for Applied Research in Music Performance (ACARMP), University of Sydney
A centre for innovative research in diverse areas relating to vocal and instrumental music performance, equipped with a state-of-the-art auditory and visual capture laboratory.


Centre for Classical Improvisation and Creative Performance
The purpose of the Centre for Classical Improvisation and Creative Performance is the revival of the tradition of extemporisation within western art-music performance practice, such as improvised cadenzas, repeats and fantasias, while striving to enhance spontaneity and risk-taking in interpretation and performance. The Centre offers an international meeting-point for research, training, open workshops and performances related to classical improvisation and a creative approach to art-music interpretation.

Centre for Early Music Performance and Research (CEMPR), University of Birmingham
The Centre for Early Music Performance and Research at Birmingham (CEMPR) brings together the highest professional level of performance and academic research in early music. CEMPR co-ordinates and encourages early music activities within the Music Department and the University, from lessons for beginners on medieval, renaissance and baroque instruments and in early vocal techniques, through workshops, master classes and concerts, to postgraduate programmes in performance practice, international symposia and research projects.

Centre for Music Performance Research, Royal Northern College of Music
The RNCM Centre for Music Performance Research undertakes research in music psychology and cognate disciplines including music education and music pedagogy. Current and recent projects include: expert preparation for performance: singers’ practice, memorisation and long-term recall for words and melodies; verbal and non-verbal communication in collaborative rehearsal and performance; focus, effort and enjoyment in chamber music; the role of gesture in the development of mental representations for music; dancers’ long-term memory for movement to music; practice-based research; strategies for learning music; values and motivations informing the professional musical lives of conservatoire graduates; intelligibility of sung text; etc. Routes for dissemination include the peer-reviewed on-line journal Music Performance Research ( and regular research seminars and international conferences.

Centre for Orchestra
Centre for Orchestra is a unique collaboration between the LSO, Guildhall School and the Barbican, creating a forum in London for orchestral development in the 21st century. The programme provides orchestral training, education and early career support for young professional musicians studying at the Guildhall School.

Centre for Performance Research
Based in Aberystwyth, Wales and Falmouth, CPR is a multi-faceted arts organisation, working nationally and internationally. Through its participation and presentation programmes – working across a range of disciplines that include dance and theatre, installation and performance, music and multimedia projects, site specific and landscape-based events – CPR promotes emerging artists and ideas, explores the relationship of innovation to tradition and pursues the underlying artistic and socio-political issues raised by the work.

Centre for Performance Science, Royal College of Music
The Centre for Performance Science (CPS) is an internationally distinctive centre for research, teaching and knowledge exchange in music performance science. Ongoing activities fall into the following areas: psychological and physiological sciences of music, developmental and educational sciences of music, and social and cultural sciences of music. A central aim of the CPS is to remain alert to the particular mission and purpose of conservatoire training. Its position within a vibrant musical environment and focus on applied research distinguishes it from university-based centres with overlapping interests.

Center for Performance Studies, UCLA
The Center for Performance Studies is a hub that links scholars across a variety of disciplines at UCLA. It uses performance as both an object of study and an interpretative lens for studying a wide range of acts and situations. The Center invites all approaches to the study of performance: gender, race, and sexuality as performative and performed; the historical reconstruction of aesthetic events and their contexts; and transnational dynamics and relations. Participating faculty and graduate students belong to departments such as Theater, Film, History, Classics, Art History, Music, Gender Studies, World Arts and Cultures/Dance, English, Asian American, Chicana/o, and African American Studies.

Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM), University of Huddersfield
CeReNeM is a community of world-leading artists and scholars who bring interdisciplinary perspectives to research in contemporary composition, performance, music technology, improvisation and sonic media. CeReNeM hosts a vibrant postgraduate programme with 50 Masters and PhD students from eighteen different countries.

Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre, Department of Music, University of Sussex
The Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre (CROMT) is a national and international centre for research and development in the practice and theory of contemporary opera, music-based theatre and other related forms of sonic or multimedia performance. The Centre promotes innovative artistic and critical practices across a range of forms through academic programmes, creative, theoretical and historical research projects, and research collaborations with relevant professional and educational partners.


DeNOTE’s principal aim is to encourage a creative mixture of practical and intellectual approaches to the musical realisation of eighteenth-century repertoires and to spotlight practice-based research topics that move beyond notation itself into the performative realm of sound. It seeks to involve independent practitioner-researchers and to give them a platform for discussing their work more widely within their communities and also with academic specialists from the conservatoire and university sector. DeNOTE was launched in 2010 with start-up funding from the Institute of Musical Research, School of Advanced Study.


Finnish Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Interdisciplinary Music Research
The CoE consists of two research teams, the Music Cognition Team (University of Jyväskylä) and the Brain and Music Team (Helsinki University). It contains c. 30 internationally renowned music researchers representing different areas of expertise. Research at the CoE investigates the human as a listener, experiencer, and performer of music. The main areas of investigation include perception, learning and performance of music, musical emotions, and the connection between music and motion. The research is empirical and makes use of modern technology, such as brain imaging and motion capture devices as well as computer modelling.


Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies
Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies is a collaboration between Bergen University College, Stord/Haugesund University College, Volda University College, the University of Bergen and the University of Stavanger, the first four institutions being part of the networks MusicNet West and UH Net West. The University of Bergen is the coordinating body of the research school. GRS works to create an interdisciplinary environment that facilitates doctoral research within various music disciplines, and it also stimulates dialogues and debates between such disciplines.


Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice, University of Guelph
Centered at the University of Guelph (and in partnership with McGill University, the University of British Columbia, and Université de Montréal), this international research project explores musical improvisation as a model for social change. Outcomes will range across a wide spectrum of electronic, broadcast, and print media, with a focus on policy-oriented and community-facing impacts.

Indigeneity in the Contemporary World: Politics, Performance, Belonging
This interdisciplinary project was based at Royal Holloway, University of London from 2009 to 2014 with funding from the European Research Council. The initiative explored how indigeneity is expressed and understood in our complex, globalising world. The aim was to determine what indigeneity has come to mean in particular places and at key moments over the last several decades, and what kind of cultural, political, ethical and aesthetic issues are negotiated within its canvass. To address these questions, the research team analysed performance as a vital mode of cultural representation and a dynamic social practice. The research was multi-sited and multilingual, encompassing not only theatre, film, music and dance, but also mixed-media and digital work, Olympic pageantry, festival events, political protests and cultural displays within tourism ventures.

Institute for Music Performance Studies / Lucerne School of Music, Switzerland
The Institute’s Music Performance Studies (MPS) research looks into the conditions, processes, artefacts and effects of musical performance. The research methods used include a range of approaches related specifically to music: analytical (including computer-assisted analysis of audio recordings); psychological/empirical; historical-philological; technical-historical; social scientific; and iconographic. The objective is to provide a comprehensive analysis and interpretation of practical music-making and to examine it in its context. Audio recordings of musical performances are an important source for the research, which is conducted in the following fields: history and theory of music; performance and interpretation; evaluation of musical performance; Computer-assisted analysis of recorded music; and microrhythm analysis and groove studies.

Institute for Performance Research, Manchester Metropolitan University
Conceptualized Arts Practices (CAP) supports research activity in the areas of music, dance, drama & performing arts and is closely linked with the Department of Contemporary Arts at MMU. CAP has two Research Groups: Practice-as-Research and Practice-based-Research.

Institute for Research and Coordination of Acoustics/Music (IRCAM)
IRCAM, the Institute for Research and Coordination of Acoustics/Music, is one of the world’s largest public research centres dedicated to both musical expression and scientific research. Research, carried out in partnership with several universities and international companies, covers a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines including acoustics, signal processing, computer science (languages, real-time, databases, man-machine interfaces) musicology, and musical cognition. Live electronics, computer-augmented performance (in music or dance) are both a long-term object of research and a daily practice shared by musicians who are invited for week or month-long residencies.

International Centre for Performance Studies
The International Centre for Performance Studies has a vibrant intellectual culture which provides the basis for cutting-edge research and scholarship in and across the fields of Performance Studies. It is home to a great variety of research types that promote and mobilize cultural diversity and the performing art forms as a means to support the UN Millennium Sustainable Development Goals.

International Exchanges on Music Theory and Performance
This project consists in establishing regular exchange among music theorists and performers from different countries with an emphasis on ensemble music – from duos to music for soloist(s) and orchestra-, and music of our time, offering papers’ presentation, debates, master classes and performance. Annual study-days will reach musical academic communities throughout the world by video-taping the meetings and website dissemination. Video-conferencing is also envisaged, where practicable.


Music Perception and Cognition Lab
Researchers in the Music Perception and Cognition Laboratory (MPCL) investigate how listeners perceive musical sounds, how they comprehend a complex musical scene composed of sources, events, sequences, and musical structures and how they react emotionally to that scene. The techniques used include digital signal processing, mechanics, psychophysics, cognitive psychology, psychophysiology, cognitive neuroscience and music theory and analysis.


Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Century Editions of String Music – Bibliographic Problems, Editorial Content and Implications for Performing Practice
The aims and objectives of this project were to collect and collate relevant surviving editions, to create a catalogue with all verifiable bibliographical details, and to make the editions publicly available in digitised form. Alongside this process, the editorial content of these editions was studied and evaluated to elucidate their importance for our understanding of performing practices of the period. The output was disseminated through conferences, lecture-recitals and publications. Collecting and evaluating the editions provided a new and valuable scholarly resource, which has particular relevance to studies of performing practice. The accompanying analysis of the resource aimed to increase knowledge of the function and content of these editions, providing scholars, professional performers and, through them, the general public with fresh and stimulating insights into familiar works that are central to the canon of western art-music.


Orpheus Research Centre in Music, Orpheus Institute
The Orpheus Research Centre in Music (ORCiM) provides musician-researchers with a unique artistic research environment. The Centre addresses emerging issues that are of concern to all involved in the artistic and artistic-research community in both practical and developmental areas where artistic knowledge is critically needed by stakeholders. ORCiM is housed at the Orpheus Institute, which aims to provide musicians investigating questions of artistic relevance with an appropriate research environment, and encourages and supports research and scholarship that is embedded in and incorporates musical practice, and which is primarily guided by artistic objectives and aesthetic interests.


Performing, Experiencing and Theorizing Augmented Listening (PETAL)
This project scrutinises the intersection between musical analysis and musical performance by building on the interaction of quantitative and qualitative research, here signified by the term ‘augmented listening’ (Nicholas Cook). PETAL focuses on macroformal analysis by systematically investigating and categorising performance strategies towards cyclic works, taking up the idea of a ‘(formal) analysis in real time’ (Robert Hill) through a specific disposition of tempo, dynamics, or timing in performance. We hypothesise that different performance strategies towards the large-scale form of the same piece of music may have a substantial effect on how this form may be experienced or analysed.

Practice-based Research in the Arts
A unique online course and multi-platform site dedicated to an interrogation of practice-based research in the arts. Users upload documentation and excerpts of work in progress alongside reflections with an emphasis placed on the intersections of creative and critical methodologies. This course centers on creating an opportunity for students to develop frameworks (context, tools and networks) which will enhance their ability to articulate practical-creative research within academic contexts. The online nature of this course stems from our desire to create an open forum for artist-scholars, national and international, who may wish to participate and form a convivial creative community of arts practitioners within the academy.


Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre
Recognising that the subdisciplines in contemporary music research – including historical and analytical musicology, ethnomusicology, music technology and music education – increasingly overlap in methodologies and require interdisciplinary approaches, the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre has chosen to organise its research efforts across five focus areas (and the interplay between them): artistic research in music; music and communities; music learning and teaching; music and technology; and music, health and wellbeing.


Rhythm Changes
The Rhythm Changes project was funded as part of the Humanities in the European Research Area’s (HERA) theme, ‘Cultural Dynamics: Inheritance and Identity’, a joint research programme supported by 13 national funding agencies to ‘create collaborative, trans-national research opportunities that will derive new insights from humanities research in order to address major social, cultural, and political challenges facing Europe’.


Sonic Arts Research Centre
An established centre of excellence dedicated to the research of music technology, SARC is a unique interdisciplinary environment which has united internationally recognised experts in the areas of musical composition, performance, signal processing and Human Computer Interaction.

STEIM (the studio for electro-instrumental music)
STEIM (the studio for electro-instrumental music) is a centre for research and development of instruments and tools for performers in the electronic performance arts. The foundation’s artistic and technical departments support an international community to develop unique instruments for their work. STEIM invites these people for residencies and provides them with an artistic and technical environment in which concepts can be given concrete form. It catalyses their ideas by providing critical feedback grounded in professional experience.


The Use of Audiovisual Resources in Jazz Historiography and Scholarship: Performance, Embodiment and Mediatised Representations
Jazz historiography has traditionally revolved around sound recordings, with other sources accorded secondary status. Although this approach has generally been regarded as successful, there is growing awareness among scholars of the problematic nature of such heavy reliance on sound recordings. This project, which took place from May 2010 to April 2011 within the AHRC-funded Beyond Text programme, addressed this situation through research based on the Altman Koss Collection of audiovisual recordings of jazz performances. Consisting of more than 10,000 VHS tapes and DVDs, mostly of televised broadcasts, this collection spans the history of jazz, from the invention of sound film to the present, in all its geographic and cultural variety.