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Isaac Conroy

Member of the Department of Music


Isaac read music at Durham for his BA (First Class) and MA (Distinction) and is delighted to be continuing his studies as a PhD student. He specialises in formal analysis and aesthetics with an increasing interest in the potential of computational methodologies for enriching these research areas. He has secondary interests in the philosophy and theology of music.

His PhD examines so-called progressive rock with four case studies of “progressive” albums from 1973: The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd); Quadrophenia (The Who); Selling England by the Pound (Genesis); and Tales from Topographic Oceans (Yes). The analytical methodology for this project uses traditional formal techniques which are assisted by computational methods in analysing audio data. As the project develops, it is hoped that the finalised computational processes of analysis will be applied to a much larger corpus of LP album sides as well as full albums. The corpus accumulated for this study currently has over 100 examples from the 1960s through to the present day, representing different popular and art-music genres. All of these corpus entries engage with the "progressive" through deliberate large-scale mapping, rather than the typical approaches (i.e. collections of multiple unrelated songs or pieces).

During his taught degrees he was assistant director for the University Choral Society and musical director of the University Brass Band. He is currently a tenor scholar with Hild-Bede Chapel Choir. He is also a part time A level music teacher at a state school in Stockton as well as Assistant Director of Cleveland Philharmonic Choir and Assistant Accompanist for Durham Choral Society.

Research interests

  • Popular Music Analysis
  • Rock Music (Particularly Progressive Rock)
  • Aesthetics
  • Music Theology
  • Paul Hindemith