Skip to main content


The Times Higher Education REF Rankings, based on the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, placed us 14th overall amongst Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts departments in the UK for the quality of our research.

The work of our staff covers a broad chronology (from early medieval to contemporary) and geography (spanning the Americas, Asia and Europe).

Much of our research crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries and integrates perspectives from the fields of ethnomusicology, musicology, theory and composition, understood in the broadest terms.

Research diversity

Current and recent research projects indicate the diversity of our approaches. These include ethnographic-based projects on the transmission, performance and politics of music in global contexts such as a multicultural study of musical enculturation (AHRC funded), and the ‘orchestra’ in global perspective undertaken within the AHRC Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice.

Multi-media studies include research on music and new digital technologies in Latin America, new media platforms in Chinese diasporic contexts and the sounds of early British cinema (AHRC and British Academy funded).

Work in Historical Musicology includes research on music in regional France, collaborations within the AHRC Medieval Song Network and Early Music Online (a JISC pilot project to digitise 300 volumes of the world’s earliest printed music from holdings at the British Library and make them publicly accessible).

Our staff expertise has been key to recent scholarly activity marking the centenaries of Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner and Benjamin Britten, evidence of a particularly strong focus of activity at Royal Holloway in the study of the music and aesthetics of the modern period.

Compositional projects include residencies and new works for major orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales as well as projects on film music, commercial production music, electronica, fusion, electronic/acoustic interactions and sound design, experimental composition and composition for dance and theatre (e.g. for the National Dance Company of Wales and the Rambert Dance Company).

We are involved in the support of research activity at all levels, regularly hosting international conferences, workshops and study days on the main campus and in central London.

Explore Royal Holloway