Ben Curry


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I welcome applications from research students interested in any of the following areas: music and meaning, popular music, jazz, film music, late eighteenth-century music and music analysis.


Research activity per year

Personal profile


I completed my first degree in music at Cardiff University in 1996, my MA in Film and TV Composition at Bristol in 2003, and my doctoral studies in Musicology at Cardiff in 2011.  Before arriving at Birmingham I had taught music at Cardiff University, Bath Spa University, Canterbury Christchurch University and the University of Kent.  From 2002–08, I also worked as a multimedia composer trading under the name Big Ear Productions.

Research interests

My research focuses upon musical meaning and music analysis. In the study of musical meaning I have worked extensively on the philosophy and semiotic theories of Charles Sanders Peirce. This work has developed into a broader concern with philosophical approaches to meaning and ways of rethinking music’s place within networks of psychological, social and historical forces.

My work on musical meaning has shaded into the study of music analysis and much of my work in this area has concerned late eighteenth-century music. I have produced more thoroughly analytical research on the patterns and practices of blues music. In this work I have adapted recent analytical technologies to bring new light to the blues while attempting to remain sensitive to the complex socio-cultural contexts that articulate this fascinating body of music.


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