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Miss Laura Erel

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Member of the Department of Music  


Laura is a PhD candidate in the Department of Music, where her research is fully funded by a Durham Doctoral Studentship. Under the supervision of Professors Julian Horton and Tuomas Eerola, Laura is investigating the perceptibility of the claims of music theories pertaining to late eighteenth- and early nineteenth centuries' Austro-Germanic repertoire in real-time listening using musical puzzle experiments. She is especially interested in the application of Sonata, Form-Functional and Schema Theories on the music of Mozart and Beethoven. This project builds on the research undertaken as part of her undergraduate and MPhil theses, and she was awarded an 'Outstanding Contribution' award from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities for her progress in 2018/2019.

Laura received her BA with First-class Honours from Durham University in 2015, and her MPhil from the University of Cambridge in 2018. She has won various academic prizes, including the Durham Vice-chancellor's Scholarship for Academic Excellence and Santander Scholarship for Academic Excellence. Academia aside, Laura is also an accomplished pianist and is a Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music.

Research interests

  • Sonata Theory
  • Form-functional Theory
  • Schema Theory
  • Schenkerian analysis
  • Theory and analysis


Conference Paper

  • Erel, Laura (2020), The Ironic Sonata: How musical puzzles investigate composer-listener interaction in the first movement of Op. 31 no. 1, Beethoven 2020: Analytical and Performance Perspectives. Amsterdam.
  • Erel, Laura (2020), "From Today on I Will Take a New Path": Using musical puzzles to investigate the cognitive reality of Beethoven's stylistic transformation, Beethoven the European. Lucca.
  • Erel, Laura (2019), The Role of Expertise in Perceiving Classical Formal Functions, 55th Royal Musical Association Annual Conference. Manchester.