Oxford Seminar in Music Theory & Analysis

The Oxford Seminar in Music Theory & Analysis (OSiMTA) meets two or three times a term. Its convenors are Professor Jonathan Cross and Dr Sebastian Wedler.

Our conception of theory and analysis is critical, plural and interdisciplinary. In shaping the seminars, we aim to reflect the broad range of activity taking place under the heading of theory and analysis today, as well as to challenge boundaries, embracing not only ‘conventional’ practices and histories of theory, but also new interdisciplinary approaches that engage with cultural studies, ethnomusicology, aesthetics and philosophy, psychology, politics, performance studies, popular music studies, and so on. Speakers will include distinguished local, national and international scholars.

These seminars are open to all, including the general public. Sessions will last 90 minutes, refreshments are served, and lively discussion is encouraged. They take place on Wednesday afternoons, beginning at 16.30, in the Committee Room of the Music Faculty.

Regular updates will appear on these pages. You can also follow OSiMTA on Twitter.

Abstracts for seminars in Season 1 can be found by following the link on the left.

For further information email Jonathan.Cross@music.ox.ac.uk or Sebastian.Wedler@music.ox.ac.uk

We are delighted to announce below the programme for Season 2 of OSiMTA. Abstracts for each talk will be published in advance. Please return here for further information ahead of each seminar.


Programme 2019–20

23 October 2019: Naomi Waltham-Smith (University of Warwick), ‘A motley music: the music analyst lends an ear to democracy’

20 November 2019: Sarah Moynihan (St Anne’s College, Oxford), ‘Unpicking a static reception: unheard suspensions at the seams of Sibelius’s Swan of Tuonela

29 January 2020: Martin Stokes (King’s College, London), ‘Sentimental gesture and the politics of “shape” in the performances of Abd al-Halim Hafiz’

26 February 2020: Elizabeth Eva Leach (University of Oxford), ‘Imagining the un-encoded: analysing affect in a twelfth-century love song’

29 April 2020: Jack Boss (University of Oregon), ‘Visions of moonlight and global coherence in “Mondestrunken” from Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire’

13 May 2020: Chloë Zadeh (University of Manchester), ‘Femininities in circulation: gender, emotion and north Indian semi-classical music’


Next Seminar, Wednesday 29 January 2020

Martin Stokes (King’s College, London)

‘Sentimental gesture and the politics of “shape” in the performances of Abd al-Halim Hafiz’

Professor Stokes encourages all those attending the seminar to read a draft version of his paper in advance. You can download a copy by clicking here: Stokes paper.

The performance in question and an (accurate but not very poetic) translation of the text can be found here:


(It includes in brackets the Nizar Qabbani, ‘original’ version of the poem, which is useful.)

And a ‘score’ can be dowloaded here, which Professor Stokes will explain in the seminar: Stokes score.


Professor Martin Stokes is the King Edward Professor of Music at King’s College London. He studied first music, then social anthropology at Oxford. He taught at The Queen’s University of Belfast (1989–97), The University of Chicago (1997–2007) and Oxford University (2007–12). He was a Howard Foundation Fellow at the Chicago Humanities Institute in 2002–3.

He has been a visiting professor at Bogazici University in Istanbul on two occasions, and currently holds an honorary professorship in the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen. In 2013 he gave the Bloch Lectures at the University of California, Berkeley.

Martin is currently working on theorizations of emotion and cultural intimacy. To date his work has focused on questions of ethnicity, identity, globalization and the history of ethnomusicology and folk music study. His work has focused on modern Turkey and Egypt, with broader interests across the Mediterranean and Europe. His article on ‘Music and the Global Order’ won the Jaap Kunst Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology in 2004; his most recent book, The Republic of Love: Cultural Intimacy in Turkish Popular Music (Chicago University Press 2010) won the Society of Ethnomusicology’s Merriam Prize in 2010. He was awarded the Dent Medal by the Royal Musical Association in 2010, and was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in 2012.