PhD scholarship: Music technology research area (University of West London)

London College of Music, University of West London:
“PhD scholarship – music technology research area”
Research area: Music technology
Funding: Full fees waiver for three years for UK and EU applicants only.

An opportunity to study for the following PhD:

The perception and cognition of recorded music and its application to recording and mixing techniques

Research objectives:

  • Developing and elaborating a musicology of record production
  • Utilising the ecological approach to perception and embodied cognition to understand the interpretation of record production and recorded music
  • Where appropriate, incorporating this form of analysis into a study of collaborative creativity through Actor Network Theory and/or the Systems Approach to Creativity.
  • Utilising the insights gained from this approach to develop new and improved techniques and approaches within professional practice.

Policy / practice context for the research

LCM currently has staff in the top echelons of both professional practice and academic research in the field of record production. With producers such as Grammy Award-winning Pip Williams and Paul Borg, students and researchers in the department have access to a wealth of professional experience as well as a range of younger producers from a variety of musical styles. In addition, Simon Zagorski-Thomas is a world-leading academic in the field of record production and recorded music. As founder and co-chair of the Art of Record Production conference, association and journal, he is also at the centre of the worldwide research community on the subject. Andrew Bourbon is also presenting and publishing research in this area of the musicology of record production.

This area of research crosses over extensively with research in the parallel stream of production studies that we are also seeking to enhance through our PhD scholarship program. Sara McGuinness‘ work is heavily reliant on the use of studio techniques in the development of her inter-textual approaches to musical creativity. Both the AHRC Performance in the Studio research network led by Simon Zagorski-Thomas and the current AHRC project on Classical Music ‚Hyper Production‘ and Practice As Research which involves Simon Zagorski-Thomas, Andrew Bourbon and Emilie Capulet, also have a foot in each of these camps.

This parallel connection between record production and performance studies also extends to LCM’s current PhD students. Anthony Meynell and Tyrian Purple are working equally in these two areas. Paul Mackley and Christos Moralis, while they are focused on live sound, are studying the ways in which techniques that utilise technologies initially developed for recording and mixing can be used in live events. Jose Manuel Cubides and Nino Auricchio, as electronic music composers, are exploring many of the techniques from record production as part of their creative practice. Yong Ju Lee is looking at the collaborative processes engaged in by mix engineers and the artists or producers they are working with during the mixing process.

There is, thus, also an existing critical mass of research in this area that forms a substantial part of LCM’s contribution to UWL’s Creative Industries research cluster under the banner of Contemporary Music and Creative Practice. This PhD fee waiver would extend our world-leading research in record production and contribute to the further enhancement of our outstanding postgraduate and research culture in this growing academic field.

Research design and methodology

This would be a musicological study rather than a psychological one. The musicological analysis would be based on existing work from the fields of psychology, cognitive linguistics and elsewhere that provides a working model and theoretical framework for this type of interpretive study. The ’new knowledge‘ that this study produces would stem from the application of this theoretical framework in the study of record production. The methodology could involve the study of subjects from the professional world of record production, a practice as research study involving the researcher and some collaborators or some combination of the two.

Proposed principal supervisor

The proposed supervision team is:

First supervisor: Andrew Bourbon – Schaefferian analysis of recording and mixing techniques
Second supervisor: Simon Zagorski-Thomas – Using the ecological approach to perception and embodied cognition in the study of record production.

How to apply

Please send a:

(Please specify in the subject of your email what PhD opportunity you are applying for)

To further discuss, please contact Dr Andrew Bourbon (

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