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Research Projects


Current Funded Research Projects


EnTimeMent - ENtrainment and synchronization at multiple TIME scales in the MENTal foundations of expressive gesture

EU Horizon 2020 FET PROACTIVE project (2019-2022)

Martin Clayton, Tuomas Eerola, Jin Li

EnTimeMent, an EU FET project led by Professor Antonio Camurri at the University of Genoa, aims to enable technologies for the automated prediction and analysis of human movement qualities, entrainment, non-verbal full-body social emotions.

Durham is a partner in the project: our work concerns the analysis of movement characteristics of Indian musicians, and issues in interpersonal entrainment.

On our Youtube channel have a look at "TimesRegained", our video contribution for the FutureTech Week 2020 (see our contribution at, that present high-risk and long-term research projects for innovative future technologies.

Project website:

Collaboration with these universities: Genoa, IIT (Italy), UCL, Montpellier, KTH (Stockholm), Maastricht, Waterloo; and with Qualysis


Audible Incarceration: Singing Communal Religion in Colonial Concentration Camps      

Leverhulme Trust           

Erin Johnson-Williams

This project constitutes a study of the political and religious power of communal singing in colonial concentration camps during the Second Boer War (1889–1902). Music, within these camps, was an abiding presence, in the form of hymns, folk songs and occasional instrumental music. Hymn singing, in particular, created spaces for theological and aesthetic confrontation at the very moment that the modern concentration camp was invented.


Prevalence, features and retrieval of music-evoked autobiographical memories              

Leverhulme Trust           

Kelly Jakubowski

This project investigates a variety of questions related to music-evoked autobiographical memories (MEAMs), in particular the prevalence, features, and retrieval of these memories, how MEAMs vary across the population, and whether music has any unique ability to evoke qualitatively different memories than other common memory triggers.

Project website:


Rethinking Classical Music: Music Theatre, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Musical Canon, 1775-1806

British Academy Newton International Fellowship

Austin Glatthorn

This project explores material and discursive networks to uncover how an entangled web of Central European theatres and theatre troupes—themselves networked by postal communication and mobility—were the preconditions for a shared musico-theatrical culture that transcended traditional political, geographic, and cultural boundaries.  Findings from this project will be published in a monograph, entitled Music Theatre and the Holy Roman Empire: The German Musical Stage in the Late Eighteenth Century, with Cambridge University Press in 2022.


The Perception of Musical Consonance: A Cross-Cultural Approach      

Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation   

Imre Lahdelma


MIMIC: Musically Intelligent Machines Interacting Creatively    

AHRC Arts and Humanities Research Council     

Nick Collins, Shelly Knotts

MIMIC or "Musically Intelligent Machines Interacting Creatively" is a three year AHRC-funded project, run by teams at Goldsmiths College, Durham University and the University of Sussex. The central website for the project is where musicians can find an interactive web platform for the artistic exploration of musical machine learning and machine listening. The Durham contribution includes a javascript library for musical machine listening (MMLL, and various creative experiments (for instance, morphing live deep neural networks for audio processing

 Collaboration with these universities: Goldsmiths, Sussex


Computational Musicology and Study of Instruments in Indian Music Traditions              

Government of India     

Martin Clayton

This Indian Government-funded project aims to advance computational musicology in Indian music. The project is led by Professor Preeti Rao of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. Planned outcomes include a collaborative book.

Collaboration with these universities: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mumbai, IIT Chennai, IIT Dharwad, McGill, UPF Barcelona


Rhythm, interaction and embodiment in gagaku performance  

Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation       

Martin Clayton, Simone Tarsitani

The GB Sasakawa Foundation has granted us funding to create new audiovisual documentation of gagaku performances with our colleagues Sayumi Kamata (Research Fellow at The University of Tokyo) and Akira Takaoka (Professor of Music at J. F. Oberlin University, Tokyo). On hold due to the Covid pandemic.

Collaboration with these universities: Tokyo, J.F. Oberlin University (Tokyo)


Recent Funded Research Projects


Interpersonal Entrainment in Music Performance

Martin Clayton, Tuomas Eerola, Kelly Jakubowski, Simone Tarsitani

Interpersonal Entrainment in Music Performance (IEMP) was an interdisciplinary research project, based on a large-scale international collaboration between a group of scholars with a common interest in interpersonal coordination and synchrony in music-making. It was funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for two years from April 2016.

The project was led by Martin Clayton and Tuomas Eerola at Durham, with international co-investigators Antonio Camurri (Casa Paganini - InfoMus, Genoa) and Peter Keller (MARCS Institute, University of Western Sydney). These investigators collaborated with a wider international group of researchers with interests in musical entrainment and expertise in a wide variety of musical traditions, supported by Postdoctoral Research Associate Kelly Jakubowski and lead technician Simone Tarsitani (Durham).

Project website:

Collaboration with these universities: Western Sydney, Genoa, Montevideo, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (Frankfurt), Tufts, Edinburgh


Khyal: Music and Imagination

Laura Leante, Martin Clayton

An AHRC-funded project based at Durham University which ran from January 2016 and aimed to stimulate new forms of artistic production based on interactions between performers, ethnomusicologists and visual artists, and to promote public engagement with music and visual arts. The project involved deep collaboration with partners including GemArts and Durham’s Oriental Museum.

See the video about the project made by the AHRC’s Common Cause project: 

Web link:


Earworms: Quantifying the experience of tunes stuck in the head

Kelly Jakubowski

Involuntary musical imagery (INMI or 'earworms') - the spontaneous recall and repeating of a tune in your head - can be attributed to a wide range of triggers, including memory associations and recent musical exposure.

The present study, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, examines whether a song’s popularity and melodic features might help to explain whether it becomes an earworm, using a dataset of tunes that were named as earworms by 3,000 survey participants.

The project was conducted with colleagues at Goldsmiths, University of London and the University of Tübingen in Germany.


Sweet Sorrow: Empathy-related mechanisms involved in the enjoyment of music-induced sadness

Tuomas Eerola

Music is a powerful inducer of emotions, and able to induce strong experiences that involve feelings of sadness, loss, and melancholia. Yet, such purportedly negative emotional experiences are frequently enjoyed by listeners. Mounting evidence from other domains suggests that physiological and endocrinal changes involved in empathy-related mechanisms lie at the core of such negative yet potentially positive emotional experiences. The aim of the proposed project is to test the central claims put forward by the empathy-comfort theory, which attempts to explain the mechanisms behind the enjoyment of music-induced sadness.

The project proposes a series of experiments that address the key questions involved:

Can music induce genuine sadness?

Are empathic individuals more susceptible to music-induced sadness?

Do the consoling hormones account for the enjoyment of music-induced sadness?

If the theoretical predictions are supported by empirical evidence, this knowledge can have a potentially significant impact on the development of well-being applications such as music therapy and uses of music in rehabilitation.

Web link:

Collaboration with University of Jyvāskylā


The Breath of Music: Investigating respiration in Indian music performance

Martin Clayton, Laura Leante, Tuomas Eerola, Simone Tarsitani

This project, funded by The Leverhulme Trust, investigated respiration and heart rate in Indian instrumental performance and aims to discover how these physiological processes are related to musical structure and interpersonal coordination.

Project website:


Large-scale corpus analysis of historical electronic music using MIR tools: Informing an ontology of electronic music and cross-validating content-based methods

Nick Collins, Peter Manning, Simone Tarsitani

AHRC grant (mini-project within Transforming Musicology)

A large corpus of 2000 historical electronic music tracks will be created and analysed by computer in an exhaustive calculation no human musicologist could attempt. But interesting questions remain in relating such 'machine listening' to human analysis, and the results will inform investigation of an ontology of electronic music and trends in music over 50 years of works.

Project website:

Collaboration with these universities: Goldsmiths, Lancaster, Oxford


TaCEM: Technology and Creativity in Electroacoustic Music

Peter Manning

A collaboration between the University of Huddersfield and Durham University.

Principal Investigator: Professor Michael Clarke (CeReNeM, University of Huddersfield); Co-Investigator: Professor Peter Manning (Durham University); Post-Doctoral Research Associate: Dr Frédéric Dufeu (CeReNeM, University of Huddersfield).

This AHRC funded research project (2012 - 2015) investigated 'The impact of technology on the creative processes of composing electroacoustic music.' The following research questions were central to the project:

How far has new technology affected the ways in which particular musical works are shaped and structured?

To what extent has the use of technology been guided by particular aesthetic or creative principles?

How and to what extent has technology informed the development of the compositional language of electroacoustic music?

How can the technical and the musical outcomes of such investigations be most meaningfully communicated both to the academic community and a wider audience?

Project website:

A collaboration between the University of Huddersfield and Durham University.