Professor David Maw

David Maw has been professionally associated with the Faculty of Music since 1995, when he was appointed to a Lectureship at The Queen’s College. He has taught, and continues to teach, for several colleges, being currently a Research Fellow and principal College Tutor in Music at Oriel College in conjunction with Lectureships at other colleges.

His research centres on topics in historical musicology (medieval and modern) and in music theory and analysis with an overarching interest in questions of compositional practice and choice. His work on French polyphonic compositions of the 13th and 14th centuries has been especially concerned with the relationship of words and music in the secular song repertories. He has worked also on English chamber music of the first half of the 20th century and on early Beethoven. His current projects include: a new edition of Machaut’s musical works (completing work begun in his doctoral research); a book on Machaut’s songs; a study of the note that ‘represents all modern music’ (Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, its precursors and influence); and a book on composing fugue, deriving from his teaching over the past 15 years. His research received a Westrup Prize in 2006.

He was an undergraduate and graduate student at Oxford, completing his doctorate on Machaut’s songs at Wadham College. He held organ scholarships as both an undergraduate and a graduate student and was active also as a composer during this time. Practical music remains an important part of his activities, and he has received first prizes in composition and organ improvisation from international competitions and made numerous appearances in concerts around France and the UK.

He currently lectures for the Music Faculty on Techniques of Composition and the special topic ‘Polyphony for Plainchant’, both for the Prelims syllabus. He has in the past also lectured on Edition with Commentary, Jazz, The Influence of Fuxian Counterpoint and The New Complexity.


The Music of Herbert Howells, co-edited with Dr Phillip Cooke (Boydell and Brewer, 2013)

Essays on the History of English Music in Honour of John Caldwell: Sources, Style, Performance, Historiography, co-edited with Dr Emma Hornby (Boydell and Brewer, 2010)

Articles, Chapters, Essays

‘a “modern”…but a Britisher too’: Howells and the Phantasy, in The Music of Herbert Howells (2013, see above)

Bona cadentia dictaminum: Reconstructing Machaut’s Lyric Word Setting, Music and Letters 94 (2013)

‘Struggling but failing to mask’: the Music of Mark R. Taylor, Tempo 67 (2013)

‘“Phantasy” Mania’, in Essays on the History of English Music (2010, see above)

Redemption and Retrospection in Jacques de Liège’s Concept of Cadentia, Early Music History 29 (2010)

Lost Sounds and Found Experiences in Music 1300-1600 (Review Article), Cultural and Social History 7.2 (2010)

‘En la maison Dedalus’: Musical Aesthetics in the Historicist Labyrinth, in Alessandro Arbo, ed., Perspectives de l’esthétique musicale entre théorie et histoire (L’Harmattan, 2007)

‘Making the Mummies Sing’, in Thomas Glück and Ludwig Morenz, edd., Exotisch, Weisheitlich und Uralt: Europäisch Konstruktionen Altägyptens (LIT, 2007)

Machaut and the ‘Critical’ Phase of Late-Medieval Polyphony (Review Article), Music and Letters 87 (2006)

Accent and Metre in Later Old-French Verse: the Case of the Polyphonic RondelMedium Aevum 75 (2006)

‘Trespasser Mesure’: Meter in Machaut’s Polyphonic Songs, Journal of Musicology 21 (2004)

Meter and Word Setting: Revising Machaut’s Monophonic Virelais, Current Musicology 74 (2002)

Machaut’s ‘Parody’ Technique, Context 21 (2001)


Suite pour orgue: La vie de Jean Baptiste (Editions Delatour, 2013)

Historical musicology (medieval music and music post-1900); music theory and analysis.