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Royal Holloway’s Music Department is recognised internationally for the quality and diversity of our research.

In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework we - in collaboration with colleagues in our Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance - were ranked 2nd in the UK for our overall research by grade point average, by the Times Higher Education analysis. We formed the highest ranked submission that includes Music, with 73% of our overall research judged to be of world-leading excellence. 83% of our research impact was judged to be of world-leading excellence, and 87.5% of our research environment was judged to support world-leading research. We hold the UK’s only Regius Professorship in Music, awarded to our department for our reputation in research and advancing the musical discipline.

Our research is underpinned by a commitment to social justice and an inclusive vision of the role of music in today’s world. Staff expertise covers a broad chronology (from early music to contemporary) and geography (spanning the Americas, Asia and Europe). Our research clusters cross traditional disciplinary boundaries, integrating perspectives from the fields of creative practice, ethnomusicology, musicology and theory. Staff and postgraduates contribute to a lively environment of seminars, reading groups, study days, and collaborations with other departments and research centres at Royal Holloway.

We have a strong record of collaboration beyond higher education. Our composers and performers work with all the BBC ensembles, with international dance companies, and with the Royal Opera House and Welsh National Opera. We host joint research projects and collaborative PhD studentships with libraries and archives, including the British Library and the Foundling Museum. The impact of our research is shaping new approaches to social action and inclusion through music, new techniques for curating and conceptualising musical heritage, and enhanced cultural experiences for arts audiences and professionals.

We take leading roles in the national and international infrastructure for music research. Our staff edit prominent journals including Early MusicEthnomusicology ForumMusic & Letters and the Journal of Sound and Music in Games, and book series including Cambridge University Press’s Music in Context and Boydell and Brewer’s Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music. We host projects in digital musicology including A Big Data History of MusicEarly Music Online, the CHARM discography, and the RISM UK database; and we run the Golden Pages listings for music researchers. Between 2015 and 2020 we hosted and directed the Institute of Musical Research, which sustained music research in the UK by promoting collaboration and dialogue, and providing opportunities for early career researchers.


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