With fifteen permanent members of academic staff, a varying number of fellows and assistants according to research projects, and well over 100 graduate students, the Department of Music has a strong and diverse research profile.

Our research is organised into six main areas, each of which are summarised below. These groupings reflect the benefits of sharing experience and perspectives as a solo researcher and the collaborative approach increasingly taken in music research more widely. Several staff are active in more than one grouping.

Research Areas


Music technology imageSheffield is host to a wide variety of creative projects, from chamber compositions and orchestral works to music for electroacoustic and mixed media. A number of specialist facilities support this work, including specialist library holdings, digital performance instruments and a state of the art computer music studio incorporating a Composition Collaboratory for the creation of new works for instruments and live electronics.


Ethnomusicology imageThe ethnomusicological research group draws together staff and postgraduates who work on world, transcultural and traditional musics, and those who use ethnographic approaches to music of all kinds. We have strong interests in applied ethnomusicology (work aimed at the public-sector) and in recording, performance and analysis.


Musicology imageMusicological research involves the analytical, critical and historical study of music. Staff and postgraduates at Sheffield draw on such methods as archival study, biography and music analysis to produce interpretative readings of musical lives, works, recordings and performances across a wide range of periods and repertories, including the Renaissance, and the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Music Technology

Music technology imageMusic Technology is used in all aspects of Music research. Dedicated on-going projects include computer music; acousmatic composition and analysis; the performance practice of electroacoustic music and the creation of software tools. In this particular area, staff and postgraduates are pioneering the use of open source software.


Performance imagePerformance is central to the work of the Department of Music at Sheffield, and is both a means and a topic of research. The DepartmentĀ“s full-time staff includes professional musicians with established careers as performers. In addition staff members are active in facilitating performance from a variety of different perspectives, including those of conductor and theatre director.

Psychology of Music

image of student experimentThe Psychology of Music group covers a wide field, from psychological theory to music education, and from music therapy to empirical measurement of the effects of music. Sheffield has the largest grouping of research staff and students in this area anywhere in Britain, and a correspondingly stimulating and energetic research environment. Team research is a well-developed feature of work here.