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Home > Research > Researchers > Alan Marsden
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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Alan Marsden supervises 2 postgraduate research students. Some of the students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

Student research profiles

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Dr Alan Marsden

Senior Lecturer

Alan Marsden

The LICA Building

Lancaster University


Lancaster LA1 4YW

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1524 593774

Office Hours:

Mon. 10-11am; Fri. 12-1pm
County Main B140


PhD supervision

Computational musicology, music information retrieval, intelligent music software systems, formal music theory, Schenkerian analysis

Web Links

Research Interests

I am interested in scientific and mathematical approaches to music, not because I think music can be reduced to formulae—I believe it cannot—but because we learn a lot in the attempt. Furthermore, with computer tools, a systematic approach allows us to do interesting musical things. Since July 2004, I have been editor of the leading journal in the area of scientific, systematic and technological research in music, the Journal of New Music Research.

My principal research objective is to develop computational systems which allow us to reach a deeper understanding of how music presents an aural environment which captivates a listener's attention. To this end, I have developed software which implements some aspects of Schenkerian theory (a quasi-grammatical theory of music which reveals underlying hierarchical structures). I am also interested in computational methods which allow us to extract information or test theories on large datasets of music, whether in the form or audio recordings or representations of scores.

In other work, I have studied formal representation of time in music, and more recently pitch. I am interested more generally in music software systems which operate in a properly 'musical' manner, and have subsidiary interests in visualisation and educational software.

Current Teaching

At undergraduate level, I teach sound synthesis and design and psychology of music. I supervise dissertations in systematic musicology. At postgradute level I am convenor for the module on Critical Thinking.

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