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Words and Music in the digital age: European song settings of ‘canonic’ poetry

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

A project with Professor Helen Abbott will investigate new digital methods for analysing how words are set to music, to uncover how a deep integrated analysis may radically change our understanding of the song corpus derived from major European poetic texts.

The PhD research will examine whether an analytical model devised by the Baudelaire Song Project team ( can apply across other poetic texts set to music, asking two key questions: (1) Is song an ‘assemblage’?; (2) How do different performance styles affect poetico-musical analysis?

A fruitful avenue of fresh scholarly work is a comparative study of song settings of major poets’ works in original language and in translation, and across musical genres. The contribution to the field of word and music studies will enhance our understanding of how words and music, when combined, cannot simply be defined as either a ‘perfect fit’ or a ‘problematic mismatch’. The project will instead explore the multiple tensions and variables at play.

Funding Notes

There are a limited number of funding opportunities with the College of Arts and Law, however, competition for these scholarships is fierce and only those with the highest credentials are likely to be successful.

For more information see:
View Website

Enquiries from self-funded students are also welcome.

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Modern Languages and Linguistics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.10

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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