Wednesday 6 February 2019 – Murat Gurel, Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University, Turkey

Transcription and analysis of traditional Turkish music

 MTG01, 2-4pm

Exquisite details ofornamentation and expression in traditional Turkish music can be discovered and understood from studying oral traditions learned from performance practice and sound recordings. The concepts of makam, ‘Huseyni’ makam and taksim (improvisation with instrument) will be illustrated through live performance and recordings of Turkish violin players. Melodic analysis of a violin taksim will include an example from Antolian folk music. The violin has only established its position in traditional Turkish music since the beginning of the 18th century. A method of analysis based on the transcription of the violinist Sadi Isılay’s Huseyni makam violin taksim from the 20th century reveals a way of preserving and learning this tradition, making the repertoire more accessible to musicians unfamiliar with Turkish music. 

Since 2010 Murat Gurel has been a lecturer in traditional Turkish violin playing at Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University, Traditional Turkish Music State Conservatory, Department of Instrument Education. In 2016 he completed his PhD on The Analysis of Nubar Tekyay’s Violin Taksims and he continues to research and teach Turkish music theory and practice based on Anatolian Ecole Edvar (old books that instruct makams between the 15th and 18th centuries). He regularly performs as a soloist and ensemble player in concerts in Turkey and at international festivals, as well as giving workshops and seminars. Gurel is an instructor and participant in the ERC-funded project, Beyond East and West: Developing and Documenting an Evolving Transcultural Musical Practice involving the University of Bristol and Bath Spa University (2015-2020).


Wednesday 16 January 2019 – Professor Margarita Díaz-Andreu

Sounds and the sacred in rock art soundscapes

Commons CM226 2-4pm


In this talk I will discuss how immaterial aspects, usually disregarded in archaeological research, can be integrated into the study of the past. My talk will centre on the acoustics of landscapes, especially of those marked by past communities with prehistoric rock art as a way of providing them with a special meaning. A connection will be established between the aural experience of place and religious emotion. At the same time, however, I will propose that this type of study should be explored systematically, with scientific rigour and objectively and that, in order to do so, an interdisciplinary approach becomes essential.

brief bio

ICREA Research Professor Margarita Díaz-Andreu has been based at the University of Barcelona since 2012, having moved from Durham University. She is interested in the prehistoric archaeology, rock art and acoustics of Western Europe. She is also concerned with heritage, history of archaeology and the politics of identity in archaeology (social engagement, nationalism and colonialism, ethnicity and gender). She has carried out fieldwork in several countries around the world and successfully supervised several PhD students. She is the author of about 20 books and many articles. Having researched on prehistoric rock art for two decades, in 2010 she decided to focus on the acoustics of rock art landscapes. She has recently been successful in obtaining funding for her ERC project, “The sound of special places: exploring rock art soundscapes and the sacred”.

Wednesday 19 December 2018 – Alice Barron

Karnatic violin techniques in collaborative practice: a violinist’s perspective

MTG18 2-4PM

This presentation addresses varying degrees of creative involvement through improvisation in a practical context, and highlights the fact that while creative collaboration has become a prominent topic in recent research, intercultural collaborations are still relatively unexplored. I will explore the ways in which experiences and techniques from my lessons with Karnatic (South Indian) violinists are incorporated into collaborations with composers in London. In particular, observing Karnatic violin techniques in improvisatory processes can be a locus for observing the blurring and shifting roles between composer and performer in collaborative practice. My research aims to open up an understanding of creative and improvisatory processes from a performer’s perspective. I will ask: what can the incorporation of Karnatic violin techniques reveal about the improvisatory and creative processes between composer and performer in collaboration?  And, how does the relationship between personal and shared knowledge develop through improvisatory processes?



Recordings of the bond between are available here:


Alice Barronis a violinist and collaborator based in London, performing throughout Europe, India, Australia and New Zealand. Specialising in contemporary and world musics, Alice performs with Nigel Kennedy’s Orchestra of Life, London Sinfonietta, Quincy Jones, Talvin Singh, Peter Sheppard Skærved and Sam Lee. Alice is a founding member of iyatraQuartet, whose 2015 debut album of co-authored compositions was received with highly acclaimed reviews by Songlines and fRoots magazines. Her explorations studying Karnatic violin playing with the Mysore Brothers in India have been generously supported by SEMPRE and Somerville College and are part of a practice-led doctorate at the University of Oxford supervised by Professor Eric Clarke. Alice previously studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where she was awarded a distinction for her Masters in performance and research.

Wednesday 7 November 2018 – Cassandre Balosso-Bardin

Making music across borders: practical, logistical and musical issues.

Stanton SNG08 2-4PM

Using the international world music group Världens Band as a case study, this presentation will explore the issues faced by a band with a utopian goal of cross-border music making. These include not only the logistical practicalities of gathering musicians from different parts of the world to rehearse and play together, anchoring the group in a mobile and technological world, but also the delicate balance of the group whilst creating music and incorporating equal representation ideologies

Thursday 4 October 2018 – Carla Ruaro

The Raizes – A Piano in the Amazon


Michael Tippett Centre MTG01, 5pm

The Raizes – A Piano in the Amazon project is an artistic, pedagogical and social project which intends to take the music of contemporary Amazonian composers to its own people. By getting close to the environments in which the composers live or lived, the project intends to investigate the roots of the music I choose to perform. By doing this, I believe I can increase my comprehension of the musical language which the composers communicate in their works, and so feel able to better transmit to the public the uniqueness of this music.

Wednesday 30 May 2018 – Stevie Wishart and Kevin Mount

Compton 103, 2-4pm

Drawn on Sound

Motivated by a desire to make the music score more versatile and more useful to a wider range of performers and performance traditions, composer Stevie Wishart challenges the confines of Western notation as defined by notation software developers. Despite all the musical and linguistic experiments of the last century, the root of all published and performed music continues to be a transcription in staff notation, whereas, a closely described improvisation method would sometimes be a more articulate source. Why can’t we inscribe sound as adventurously as a choreologist can record an improvised dance or a film-maker ‘storyboard’ a film? When colour is so abundant in visual culture and when the dynamics and density of colour are such rich sources of signs and signals, why should music notation continue to be so doggedly monotone? How can we disentangle or re-integrate the scored, improvised and spontaneous aspects of musicianship to extend the boundaries of composition and enable performers to engage more freely with new work?

Stevie Wishart’s renewed investigation focuses on a series of experimental case studies and involves a collaboration with Kevin Mount, a print designer and typographer. Their examples draw on choreology, information design and visual communication practice but are connected to techniques derived from pre-Romantic music and oral traditions such as embellishment, improvisation and heterophony.


Composer, Stevie Wishart, was educated at the University of York, the University of Oxford and the Guildhall School of Music and studied informally with John Cage in Edinburgh. She has performed and had her compositions played at the major venues in London, the Sydney Opera House, and St Peter’s, Rome. With roots in improvisation and early music she performs on violin and, hurdy-gurdy – a stringed keyboard instrument going back to medieval times, with its strings bowed by the rim of a wheel giving a unique old-and-new sound which also resonates in Stevie’s music. Exploring music’s unique ability to express new ideas on a level which transcends other modes of communication, is what motivates her life and work as a composer.


Kevin Mount studied Fine Art at the Bath Academy of Art and has had a career in journalism, print and information design, and social research. Clients and collaborators in recent years have included the poets Alice Oswald and Caroline Bergvall, the sculptor Nicholas Pope, the photographer Garry Fabian Miller, the choreographer Wayne McGregor and the performance company, Lone Twin.

Wednesday 18 April 2018 – Professor Lee Higgins  (York St John University)

Community music: transcending borders through acts of hospitality


Michael Tippett Centre MTG01, 2pm

The purpose of this seminar is to evoke ways of thinking through notions of transcending borders within a community music context. I begin by considering what transcending borders might mean and to what borders we may be addressing. I then present some examples of community music projects that respond to these ideas. Using community music as a critical lens through which the illustrations of practice might be known, I discuss some of the salient concepts that may help arts educators think about the concept of transcending borders and/or develop approaches to practice that traverse contextual or pedagogical borders. Notions of inclusivity, access, and hospitality will be at the heart off the discussion.

Professor Lee Higgins is the Director of the International Centre of Community Music based at York St John University, UK. As a community musician, he has worked across the education sector as well as within health settings, prison and probation service, youth and community, adult education, and arts organizations. As a presenter and guest speaker, Lee has worked on four continents in university, school, and NGO settings and was the President of International Society of Music Education (2016-2018). He is the senior editor for the International Journal of Community Music and was author of Community Music: In Theory and in Practice (2012, Oxford University Press), co-author of Engagement in Community Music (2017, Routledge) and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Community Music (2018).