Department of Music

Overview

The Department of Music at SOAS is a world-leading centre for the study of music from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and their diasporas, located in the heart of a city famous for its thriving and diverse musical cultures.

We offer a BA in Music, which can be taken in combination with a wide range of subjects; a multi-disciplinary BA in Creative Arts; a Master’s degree in Music, with pathways in Ethnomusicology, Performance, and Music in Development; and an MPhil/PhD in music research.

Meet the academics.

Our Chair of Music says...

Our research and teaching focusses on musical cultures and sonic practices from Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and their global diasporas. We are unique in our core principle that these regions deserve to be foregrounded in the study of music. We benefit from our location in central London, a global stage for musicians, artists, and producers, which contributes to an unforgettable and enriching student experience. We are deeply committed to critical investigation into the place of music and sound in society, and our work examines how music speaks to other disciplines, from history to development studies. We want to foster the kind of critical thinking that we believe our graduates should have in order to navigate the possibilities and challenges of our changing world.

Facts and figures

1st in UK for research impact

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

5th in UK overall

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Why choose SOAS for Music?

Our research

The Department of Music is the largest centre of ethnomusicology in Europe, offering unique educational and research opportunities. The special character of the Department has attracted excellent ratings for teaching and research.

Our research and teaching focusses on musical cultures and sonic practices from Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and their global diasporas. We are unique in our core principle that these regions deserve to be foregrounded in the study of music. 

Our academics are actively involved in international music and research projects and bring extensive industry experience to their work, encompassing radio and music production and heritage and sustainability.

Staff and students pursue research on a wide range of subjects, mainly but not exclusively focused on the music of Asia and Africa and their diasporas, including both traditional and popular musics.

Staff have regional interests in the music of China and Central Asia (Harris), India and South Asia (Williams), Israel and the Jewish diaspora (Webster-Kogen), Cuba and west Africa (Durán) and southern and eastern Africa (Impey). Music is studied as a cultural phenomenon, and also from analytical and historical perspectives.

On campus, we are home to a stunning collection of musical instruments and state of the art recording facilities.

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