Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Research in this group


Further information:

Associated Research Centres


We define our research activities within Musicology according to four primary approaches:

Our research covers a wide range of strands, including source studies, historical and critical musicology, music and literature, music and culture, and music theory and analysis.


Music History

Music before 1600

Our research in music before 1600 covers a broad range, from chant, Music in medieval Wales, and medieval theory, through sacred and secular music of the 14th to 16th centuries.

Dr Sally Harper’s research interests focus on two main areas: music in Wales before 1650 (with particular reference to the wider cultural context), and medieval liturgy.

She has written widely on liturgical sources in Wales (including the Bangor Pontifical and the Penpont Antiphoner); on various aspects of bardic culture (including musical reference within the poetry of Dafydd ap Gwilym); on musical relations between medieval Wales and Ireland; the Robert ap Huw manuscript; music in the Welsh household (including Plas Lleweni, near Denbigh); Welsh metrical psalmody; and late medieval and early modern English perceptions of contemporary Welsh music and musicians. Her definitive study of music in early Welsh culture before 1650 was published in 2007.  She has contributed to two web-based AHRC-funded projects on medieval Welsh poetry, and, and led a related  AHRC Beyond Text research project on the performance of medieval vernacular verse in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Her work continues to disprove an earlier assumption that the music of medieval and early modern Wales is too peripheral to warrant serious scholarly attention, and she has made several various Radio and TV appearances, including a programme for S4C on St David.

Most recently, the main focus of her research has returned to music and medieval liturgy, arising from a three-year AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society major research project, ‘The experience of worship in late medieval cathedral and parish church’, for which she was Co-Investigator. This project remains ongoing. She was lead editor for the volume Late Medieval Liturgies Enacted: The Experience of Worship in Cathedral and Parish Church (Routledge / Ashgate, 2016) and is a co-editor of the forthcoming British Academy volume for Early English Church Music, Lady Mass according to the Use of Salisbury: The Votive Cycles of the Daily Mass as celebrated in the Lady Chapel in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary (2017). She is also Co-Director of the Bangor Pontifical Project, the author of a monograph on medieval English Benedictine liturgy (2004), and a contributor to Hibernia Cantans: Music, Liturgy and the Veneration of Irish Saints in Medieval Europe (Ritus Et Artes: Book 8), ed. Ann Buckley (Brepols, forthcoming).

Hana Vlhová-Wörner is an internationally renowned authority in research on medieval chant, with emphasis on Bohemian and Central-European tradition.  She has published numerous articles and book chapters on a wide range of topics, such as medieval sequences, tropes, or the early vernacular liturgy associated with the Hussite movement in the early fifteenth century Bohemia.  Her catalog of liturgical manuscripts from the St Vitus' Cathedral in Prague has been recently published online (  Her current research project (tentative title: Chant and its Transformations in Bohemia), for which she won a prestigious fellowship at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, explores the restoration of the Roman chant tradition in the fourteenth-century Prague and its wide-reaching consequences on the music repertory development in the late-medieval Central Europe.  Most recent publications are devoted to the nationalism and music historiography, interactions between the sacred and secular music in the late Middle Ages, and the reformer Jan Hus.

The Experience of Worship in late medieval Cathedral and Parish Church, developed by Prof. John Harper is an ongoing research project initiated at Bangor University (2009 to 2013), as part of the UK-wide research programme exploring Religion & Society, funded jointly by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.

17th and 18th Centuries

Our expertise in music 1600–1800 has a particularly strong emphasis on music in the British Isles, covering both sacred and secular music, instrumental and vocal.

John Cunningham has published on many aspects of music in Britain and Ireland. His research interests include source studies, theatre music, music and literature, music and drama, compositional process, and music and politics. His monograph on the early-seventeenth-century composer William Lawes was published in 2010. He was also the contributing music editor to The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson, and is also the contributing music editor for the forthcoming New Oxford Shakespeare Edition.

Emeritus professor, Bruce Wood is a renowned authority on English music of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. In particular Prof. Wood has written widely on the music of Henry Purcell and John Blow. Among his recent publications is a monograph on Henry Purcell.

The research of the Emeritus Professor John Harper focuses on sacred music in Britain c.1480–1650, as well as on ensemble music of the 16th and early 17th centuries; he has published widely in both areas.

20th and 21st Centuries

In addition to Early Music, music of the 20th and 21st centuries represents a key research strength at Bangor.

Chris Collins is a leading authority on the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla. His publications explore biographical, analytical, aesthetic, literary, and compositional aspects of Falla’s work, often setting it within the context of his European contemporaries. Current projects include a monograph for Cambridge University Press on Falla’s experience of music by composers of other nationalities, and a new critical edition of Falla’s prose writings with Elena Torres Clemente (Universidad Complutense de Madrid).

Bangor is one of the leading centres of expertise on minimalist music. The first international conference of its kind on minimalist music was held here in 2007, organised by Pwyll ap Siôn and Tristian Evans, and the Society for Minimalist Music founded formed at the end of the conference. Ap Siôn’s research interests include minimalist music, Michael Nyman and the new tonality of the twenty-first century. His book on The Music of Michael Nyman (2007) was the first English-language study of its kind on the composer; his edited volume on Michael Nyman: Collected Writings was published 2013. He is co-editor of the Ashgate Research Companion to Minimalist and Postminimalist Music, published also in 2013. Articles on Nyman’s film music, and on previously unpublished sections of an interview between Nyman and American composer Steve Reich, are due out in The Soundtrack and American Music journals respectively.

back to top...


Bangor offers an exceptionally strong specialism in music editing. Indeed, we are one of only a few music schools in the UK to offer such a broad specialism in this field. Our staff have a particular expertise in editing music before 1800.

Hana Vlhová-Wörner is a leading editor of chant.  She is the co-editor of the edition series Monumenta liturgica Bohemica and one of general editors of the pilot Czech editional project, for which she won a large team of experts from other historical disciplines, such as codicology, theology, art history, medieval Latin and medieval Czech language: the so-called Jistebnice-Kancionál (ca 1420–1430), a manuscript with the vernacular Czech liturgy and a rich collection of Bohemian devotional and secular songs from the Hussite period.  She is author of the ambitious edition series Repertorium troporum Bohemiae Medii Aevi, housed by Bärenreiter publisher, which now includes four volumes (volume I: Tropi Proprii Missae, 2004; volume II: Tropi ad Kyrie eleison et Gloria in excelsis Deo, 2006; volume III: Tropi ad Sanctus, 2010; volume IV: Tropi ad Agnus Dei, 2013) and in which she for the first time presents until recently unknown rich repertory of liturgical additions from Bohemian sources (11th–16th century).

John Cunningham's main editorial projects have focussed on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British music, particularly secular vocal and instrumental music of c.1600–1800. He has published several editions of English instrumental music with Prof. Peter Holman for Edition HH (Maurice Webster, Simon Ives) and the Purcell Society Companion Series (Restoration Trio Sonatas). His edition of the music associated with the early modern English playwright Ben Jonson (partly funded by the Mellon Foundation, and which includes a critical edition of Thomas Augustine Arne’s 1771 opera The Fairy Prince) is due to be published later in 2014 as part of the online archive of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson. He has also contributed an edition of Henry Lawes’s ‘Songs from Comus’ (1634) to The Complete Works of John Milton vol. III, and he is the contributing music editor for the forthcoming New Oxford Shakespeare Edition. Among John's other current projects are editions of Restoration music for three violins, bass viol and continuo (with Peter Holman) and Matthew Locke’s Consort Music (with Silas Wollston) for the Musica Britannica series.

Emeritus Professor, Bruce Wood, is Chairman of the Purcell Society and has published a wide variety of editions of late seventeenth-century English music for Musica Britannica and the Purcell Society (especially the works of Henry Purcell and John Blow), as well as several editions of Edward Elgar’s music. His editions are widely used for performances, including the 2009 Glyndebourne production of Henry Purcell’s semi-opera The Fairy Queen.  

back to top...

Ethnomusicology and Popular Music Studies

The study of modern and indigenous musics plays an important role in our research. Pwyll ap Siôn has also published widely in the area of Welsh popular and Celtic music, including articles in the journals Welsh Music History and Ysgrifau Beirniadol and a chapter on Celtic Music in the forthcoming volume Nations on the Move, edited by Margaret Connell-Szasz. Along with Tristian Evans, he is editor of the Cydymaith i Gerddoriaeth Cymru (Companion to Welsh Music), an authoritative reference dictionary on all aspects of Welsh music funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

At the heart of our ethnomusicological research is the traditional music of Wales. Wyn Thomas is the director of the Archive of Welsh Traditional Music, the primary resource worldwide for research in the area.

Jochen Eisentraut is an expert on the music and culture of Brazil. He also composes and performs, mainly for his own creative projects, such as the Arts Council of Wales funded Jazz & Film Triptych (2012). His recent monograph for Cambridge University Press (2012)  theorises concepts of musical accessibility from various disciplinary perspectives, including psychology, aesthetics and sociology. The book refers extensively to the music of Vaughan Williams, Brazilian music, punk and progressive rock to explore aspects and meanings of accessibility. Dr Eisentraut has been awarded a British Academy International Partnership and Mobility grant in 2013 for a teaching exchange and research collaboration with the Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil.

The School of Music is also home to the Crossley-Holland collection, which includes over 600 ethnic European instruments and over 300 pre-Columbian instruments from Mexico, representing a period from 3000 BC to 1500 AD.

back to top...