Dr Matthew Pritchard

Dr Matthew Pritchard


I was appointed Lecturer in Musical Aesthetics following a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Cambridge. After my BA and MPhil at Cambridge (Jesus College) I went to Royal Holloway, University of London, to work on a PhD supervised by Nicholas Cook, with the title "Analysis and melody in late Beethoven".

I then spent a year studying Bengali music, focussing on the songs of Rabindranath Tagore, in the university Tagore founded, Visva-Bharati in Santiniketan, West Bengal, learning with Mohan Singh Khangura and Malay Shankar Chattopadhyay (2009-10). In 2010 I returned to Cambridge to take up a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship mentored by Professor Cook, further exploring interests in the modern history of music analysis and music aesthetics. These have been reflected in a number of translations, from both German and Bengali, and published articles relating to historical aesthetic issues from the eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth.

A book manuscript tracing the history and consequences of the "aesthetics of feeling" is currently in preparation, as well as an edition (with translations) of Tagore's songs. 

Research interests

My research interests include the history of music aesthetics and music theory since the late eighteenth century, particularly in German-speaking lands, and the music of Bengal, with a focus on the songs of Rabindranath Tagore. In the former area I am particularly interested in the application of historical approaches from the history of emotions to the recent "affective turn" in music scholarship, and the intersection of these concerns with thinking about feeling and affect within early German Romantic philosophy. The undervalued role of ‘functional’ music (Gebrauchsmusik) and pre-twentieth-century popular music traditions in the development of music aesthetic thought is an additional focus of investigation. Alongside this sits a critical genealogy of aesthetic attitudes within twentieth-century musical modernism and music analysis, including explorations of debates and other aesthetic interactions between Romantic and modernist currents of thought.

My interest in Bengali traditions combines an examination of aesthetic writings by Tagore and others with a concern to translate and disseminate their lyrical productions, above all Rabindrasangit (Tagore songs). 

<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 in Music
  • MPhil in Historical Musicology
  • BA (Mus)

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology

Student education

I teach aesthetics at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the School, and have also contributed to and/or led modules on music history, music analysis, research skills, and critical musicology, as well as supervising dissertations and examining performance students from level 2 to Masters level. 

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>