Dr Jonathan Service

BA, MA, PhD (Harvard)


Japanese music; the comparative history of theories of music in Japan, East Asia, and the western world.


Jonathan studied Japanese history and historical ethnomusicology at Harvard University, where he completed a dissertation on theories of music in Meiji and Taishō Japan. More about his time at Harvard can be found here:


He came to Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow at Wadham College. During his time at Wadham, he hosted a series of translation workshops, generously funded by the British Association for Japanese Studies and the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. A selection of these recently came out as a special issue with Japan Forum (here: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rjfo20/30/3?nav=tocList), others can be found in the SOAS Occasional Translations in Japanese Studies (here: https://www.soas.ac.uk/jrc/translations/).

Also at Wadham, Jonathan wrote his first monograph, Orchestrating Modernity, which he is just now completing. Work related to this project can be found in Theoria (here: https://mhte.music.unt.edu/theoria) and in an interview, conducted with the BBC as part of their Civilisations series (here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09xj7jt).

He is presently working with an international and multidisciplinary team on Tanaka Shōhei 田中正平   — a Japanese physicist, engineer, music theorist, inventor, and ethnomusicologist avant la lettre — with the aim of producing an edited volume of translations of Tanaka’s musicological works. Early results of this project can be found here:



Dr Jonathan Service
University of Oxford
Faculty of Music
St Aldate’s

Email: jonathan.service@music.ox.ac.uk