Dr James Mooney
- Position: Associate Professor of Musicology and Music Technology
- Areas of expertise: Electronic music history; history of music technology; science and technology studies; sound studies; museum studies
- Email: J.R.Mooney@leeds.ac.uk
- Phone: +44(0)113 343 2532
- Location: 2.14 School of Music
I joined the University as Lecturer in Music Technology in 2009 and was promoted to Associate Professor of Musicology and Music Technology in 2017.
I studied Music at Newcastle University before completing an MSc in Music Technology at University of York, where I wrote software and a dissertation on 3D audio (surround sound) using the Ambisonic system. I completed my PhD at University of Sheffield in 2005. My thesis, entitled 'Sound Diffusion Systems for the Live Performance of Electroacoustic Music', surveys multi-loudspeaker sound systems, explores the relationship between sound spatialisation technology and compositional philosophy in electronic art music (electroacoustic music), and presents a model for designing new systems. After my doctoral studies I took a position as Studio Manager at Culture Lab, Newcastle University (2006-9), where I continued my research while managing the studios, writing asset tracking software, and administrating web servers.
My work nowadays is quite different from my previous work: see below.
- Director of Impact and Innovation
- Programme Manager (MA Electronic and Computer Music)
- Programme Manager (BSc Music, Multimedia and Electronics)
Since 2010 I have worked primarily on electronic music history, exploring how technology/instruments and creative practice are entangled/intertwined, how electronic musical instruments and sound apparatus are interpreted and displayed in museums, and how these 'objects of electronic sound and music' can be used in research more generally. One of my main case studies is the English composer, musicologist, and experimental instrument-builder Hugh Davies (1943-2005), on whose work I have published several articles and book chapters. In 2015-16, during my AHRC Fellowship project, I worked with experimental musicians to stage four concerts of Hugh Davies's music using period equipment and ran an instrument-builder residency and exhibition. In 2017, following an international conference that I convened at the Science Museum, I edited a special issue of the journal Organised Sound entitled 'Alternative Histories of Electroacoustic Music', which collected together 15 new essays/articles that look at electronic music history from different perspectives, exploring the early roots of electronic music, tracing unexpected paths from past to present, challenging historiographic, institutional and gender biases, and exploring electronic music's relationships with interdisciplinarity.
In 2018 I launched a new project entitled 'Objects of Electronic Sound and Music in Museums', which I lead in partnership with the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford. I am also partner in a White Rose College of Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH) project entitled 'Electronic Soundscapes', which is an interdisciplinary project run jointly across the Universities of Leeds, York, and Sheffield, exploring electronic sound from a range of historic, musicological, and literary perspectives. Another current project is my collaboration with Prof Trevor Pinch (Cornell University) entitled 'Exploring Material Cultures of Electronic Music through the Methods of Science and Technology Studies.' I also continue to develop my work on Hugh Davies.
I have held the position of Edison Research Fellow at the British Library (2010-11), Research Associate at the Science Museum, London (2013-14 and 2015-16), and AHRC Early Career Research Fellow (2015-16) and have worked extensively in archives and object collections at the British Library, the Stockhausen Foundation, the Science Museum, and the National Science and Media Museum.<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>
- PhD (University of Sheffield)
- MSc Music Technology (University of York)
- BA (hons) Music (Newcastle University)
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
My teaching covers topics that are relevant to the study of music's relationships with technology, including:
- history of electronic music and recorded sound
- theory of music and sound technology (acoustics, analogue and digital audio, etc.)
- social construction of music technology (i.e. the social processes by which music technologies are developed and used by people)
- impact of new technologies upon musical practice and thinking
- musical instrument studies (a.k.a. organology)
I am programme manager for the MA course in Electronic and Computer Music, and the BSc programme in Music, Multimedia and Electronics.
Research groups and institutes
- Music and Science