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PERF-STUD-NET  January 2010

PERF-STUD-NET January 2010

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Subject:

PhD studentship in Music at King's College London

From:

Daniel Leech-Wilkinson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Daniel Leech-Wilkinson <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 15 Jan 2010 12:02:21 +0000

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** PhD Studentship in Music Psychology or related disciplines **

* funding full-time doctoral research starting in September 2010, in 
association with the AHRC Research Centre for Musical Performance as 
Creative Practice (CMPCP) *


Context

This PhD Studentship, funded by the School of Arts & Humanities at 
King’s College London, is part of the King’s-based CMPCP research 
project on ‘Shaping Music in Performance’. <www.cmpcp.ac.uk/smip.html> 
‘Shaping Music’ aims to explore how musicians use the notion of shape 
(and underlying or related perceptions or mechanisms) in preparing, 
engaging in, and experiencing performances. The main research work, 
undertaken by two post-doctoral research assistants working with 
Professor Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, takes two converging approaches: 1) 
documenting and analysing performers’ reported experiences of the way 
music ‘takes shape’, and the ways in which a sense of shape influences 
detailed decision-making in performance; and 2) experimental and/or 
observational studies testing and refining the data generated under 1) 
which may use recorded musical performances and may extend into computer 
modelling. In their early work the project team are using questionnaires 
and interviews with professional performers, teacher and students in 
order to explore perceptions and beliefs about music as shaped. 
Follow-up studies will be designed to answer specific questions arising 
from the results.

‘Shaping Music’ is one of five large-scale research projects within the 
Centre, each of which includes a variety of research activities, 
including empirical investigations, theory development, analytical work, 
and creative practice. The research projects also involve a series of 
workshops, to which experts and post-graduate students in related fields 
will be invited, the first of which (for ‘Shaping Music’) is to be held 
in March 2010, and will examine links between music and shape from a 
number of perspectives. A Centre-wide Performance Studies Network will 
enable collaborative research between scholars and performers from 
around the world, and Visiting Fellowships will be awarded for short 
periods of collaborative work with the CMPCP research teams. (See 
www.cmpcp.ac.uk for further details of the Centre’s work.)


The Studentship

Applicants for the PhD studentship should propose a research project 
that will feed into the ‘Shaping Music’ project by investigating a 
closely related question or by bringing other methodologies to bear upon 
the work of the research team. Although imaginative and well-argued 
proposals from other disciplines are not ruled out, we expect that the 
successful proposal is most likely to use empirical approaches from 
music psychology or music sociology. We are also willing to consider 
applications that involve the visualisation of music audio or other 
computational approaches likely to shed light on notions of music as 
shaped. Whatever approach is taken, the emphasis will be on music as 
performed and as perceived through performance, not on musical 
compositions or scores.

The following questions touch on some of the areas already discussed by 
the team. They are intended only to stimulate thought and for purposes 
of illustration. Applicants are encouraged to develop their own 
proposals which may or may not be related to the ideas suggested here.

1) Visualisations of music as shaped. Recent increases in the 
sophistication of hardware and software approaches to music 
visualisation suggest new possibilities for the representation of music 
in the visual domain. How might the ongoing findings of the ‘Shaping 
Music’ research team, gathering data from what musicians say about music 
and shape, be enhanced by a computational approach to visualising sound?

2) Listeners and shape. To what extent do listeners (with and without 
musical training) experience music as shaped or as having shape?

3) Music is linked to shape through physical movement such as dance, 
gesture in performance, and the physical movements made by performers to 
make a sound. To what extent do visual representations of such movements 
influence listeners’ responses to music and the shapes they perceive 
while listening? NB this is envisaged as an empirical study involving 
varied visual stimuli applied to the same performance(s).

4) Musical shape in education. Many musicians appear to use the idea of 
shape in teaching. Educational methods such as the Kodály method also 
link music and shape. To what extent might the findings of the ‘Shaping 
Music’ project inform music education practices at primary and/or 
secondary and/or tertiary levels? NB this is envisaged as an Action 
Research-type collaborative design.

5) Is it possible to assess the similarities and differences between 
composers’ ideas about the shape of their music, the sounds performers 
use to convey those ideas, and the shape listeners perceive through the 
performances? In other words, is shape a communicable feature of music? 
NB this is intended as an empirical, not a theoretical, philosophical or 
historical study.

6) Therapeutic uses of musical shape. To what extent is shape used by 
music therapists? Do therapists instinctively respond to certain 
gestures with certain types of musical sound, or musical shapes?

7) Synaesthetes and shape. How common is, and what is the nature of, 
music-shape synaesthesia? What can it tell us about the apparently 
widespread perception among non-synaesthetes that music in performance 
has shape?


Value, Timetable, and Application process

The value of the studentship will, for three years starting no later 
than October 2010, cover the full-time home/EU tuition fee plus a 
maintenance grant of £15,000 per annum to cover the cost of living in 
London. The successful appointee will be expected to complete their 
research by September 2013 and to submit their thesis by no later than 
30 September 2014.

Applicants should apply online using the process described at 
www.kcl.ac.uk/graduate/apply/rstep4.html. A detailed project proposal is 
required. Previous work or further information may be requested from 
shortlisted candidates. The deadline for online submissions is ** 1 
April 2010 **. Please address any queries or requests for specific 
details to the project director, Daniel Leech-Wilkinson: 
[log in to unmask]

-- 
Daniel Leech-Wilkinson
Professor of Music
King's College London
Strand
London WC2R 2LS
+44 (0)207 848 2576

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