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Institute of Advanced Study

Professor Martin Clayton

Martin Clayton is Professor in Ethnomusicology. His research interests include Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, rhythmic analysis, comparative musicology and early field recordings, British-Asian music and Western music in India.

The Christopherson/Knott Fellowship will allow Professor Clayton to write a book on Ethnomusicology for Oxford University Press as part of the series Theory in Ethnomusicology. Almost all musical performance depends on interaction between participants: musicians who play together, listeners who interact with performers. The parameters of this interaction have however never been subjected to sustained theoretical attention. How do we interact in musical situations? Do the features of musical interaction differ from those in other social or ritual contexts, and if so how? Does musical interaction, for instance, allow for a greater range of simultaneous joint action, or for a productive indeterminacy regarding the meanings of the whole and each participant’s part in a ritual event?

The approach will be interdisciplinary, taking into account the Professor Clayton's previous empirical work in musical entrainment (timing coordination/ synchronisation), the psychology of joint action, and perspectives from pragmatic sociology and phenomenology, with reference to published ethnomusicological examples. The aim is to present the first detailed theoretical model of musical interaction.

To find out more about Professor Clayton, please visit his homepage on the Department of Music's website: