Alice Little

Research Interests

Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century traditional music, folk music, national music; history of collecting; musical instruments.


John Malchair: tune-collecting in 18th-Century England. A Handbook for Studies in 18th-Century English Music, XXI:71-88 (2017)

‘Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen: songs, music, and musical instruments in the Percy Manning collection’ in M Heaney (ed), Percy Manning: The Man Who Collected Oxfordshire. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2017, pp. 221-255

Percy Manning, Henry Balfour, Thomas Carter, and the Collecting of Traditional English Musical InstrumentsFolk Music Journal 11.1:25-41 (2016)

‘Captain Kennedy’s Mandolin’, and other English musical instruments at the University of Oxford’s Pitt Rivers MuseumJournal of Museum Ethnography23:117-128 (2010)

Whit-Horn; Kennedy’s Mandolin; Whittle and Dub: three object biographies published online as part of the Pitt Rivers Museum’s Englishness Project, The Other Within (2008)

Free and Squeezy: The New Web Catalogue at the Horniman MuseumPapers of the International Concertina Association Volume 5:96-7 (2008)

Area of proposed thesis

The tunebooks of JB Malchair, Oxford c.1770-1812
From the 1770s until his death in 1812 JB Malchair, a musician and artist living in Oxford, collected traditional tunes of various nations. His sources ranged from acquaintances at the University to the whistling of boys in the street. Malchair’s collection includes 987 tunes spread across three manuscripts and various publications by William Crotch.

By comparing his collection with other tunebooks of the period I intend to show that Malchair’s work stands apart from that of his contemporaries in both content and function. I will put his collecting aims and methods in historical context and ask what and who influenced his work.

For more information and links to the manuscripts online see

Alice completed her doctorate in October 2018 and is now Research Associate in the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, and a Junior Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College.


I am very grateful to have received the following awards to support this research:
• Hélène La Rue Scholarship in Music, 2015-18
• Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Oxford Centre for Life-Writing Bursary, 2017-18
• Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust grant, 2017
• Institue of Historical Research, Friends/Ruddock/Bates Bursary, 2017-8
• University of Oxford Music Faculty Graduate Research Award, 2017
• Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust grant, 2016
• St Cross College Travel Grant, 2016
• Estella Canziani Post-Graduate Bursary for Research (The Folklore Society), 2016
• Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust grant, 2015
• St Cross College Research Grant, 2015

Subjects Taught

Alice is not currently offering tutoring, but she runs the Faculty’s popular ‘shut up and write’ group (meetings are listed on the Faculty events calendar), and convenes the Bate Collection seminar series ‘Instruments of the Eighteenth Century’, which you can read about here.