Graduate Research Colloquium: Professor Eric Clarke

Free to attend, those wishing to attend virtually should complete this sign-up form.

From music and empathy, to the togetherness of musical ensembles, the emotional contagion of collective musicking, and the importance of music for people in distress and isolation, music’s capacity to connect, construct and transform is increasingly recognised and celebrated. And equally, as attested to by the burgeoning literature on music and subjectivity, music and emotion, and ‘strong experiences’ with music, music has long been recognised as affording intense, focused and apparently private experiences. But within what kind of conceptual framework might we understand these various manifestations of the connectedness of musicking? How can the intensely solitary form of being with music that headphone listening in a darkened room represents be reconciled with the manifestly distributed and collective musicking of festivals, clubs, orchestras, choirs and bands? Starting from a broad perspective on organisms and their environments I make the case for understanding being with music in terms of entanglement, and for the various kinds of productive and problematic entanglements that music affords. Entanglement is having a bit of a heyday at the moment (from online gaming to the 2022 Nobel Prize for Physics), and there are undoubtedly some traps to avoid in distinguishing – or failing to distinguish – between more technical and more metaphorical uses of the term. With that risk in mind I join the anthropologist Tim Ingold, the musician Björk, and the biologist Merlin Sheldrake in considering what entanglement might afford, and what might be learned from fungi.

Eric Clarke is Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Oxford, and an Emeritus  Fellow of Wadham College. He was Heather Professor of Music at the University of Oxford from 2007-2022 and has published on a variety of topics in the psychology of music, ecological approaches to music perception, musical meaning, music and consciousness, musical creativity, and the analysis of pop music. Recent projects include work on music, empathy and cultural understanding; and empirical approaches to the performance of C19th orchestral and chamber music. His books include Empirical Musicology, Ways of Listening, The Cambridge Companion to Recorded Music, Music and Mind in Everyday Life, Music and Consciousness 1 & 2, Distributed Creativity: Collaboration and Improvisation in Contemporary Music, and Remixing Music Studies: Essays in honour of Nicholas Cook. He was elected a member of Academia Europaea in 2009, and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2010.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the roundtable discussion with Dr. Esther Cavett has been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. A new speaker will be announced in due course, please check this page for updates.

About the series:
The Colloquia feature leading figures, as well as younger scholars, from across the world. They present their research in papers on all kinds of music-related topics. Graduate students Chuyu Zhang and Eugenie Dalgleish organise the series. Presentations are followed by a discussion and drinks reception. If you would like more information, please email Chuyu Zhang.