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Faculty of Music

 

Biography

Peter McMurray is an ethnomusicologist, saxophonist, and media artist. His research focuses primarily on the intersection of Islam and sound, including recitation, liturgy, theology, and architecture and he is currently completing a book and media project, Pathways to God: The Islamic Acoustics of Turkish Berlin. He is also co-editing a volume with Priyasha Mukhopadhyay, Acoustics of Empire, focusing on histories of sound, media and power in the 19th century. Other research interests include histories of audiovisual media (e.g., tape recording, YouTube) and intersections of race and listening. His media practice includes extensive non-fiction audio and video work.

For over 10 years he worked as the Assistant Curator of the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature and he continues to do research on oral poetry, the history/theory of orality, and the voice. As a performer, he has a longstanding interest in jazz and experimental improvisation. He also has been a part of Harvard’s metaLAB and Sensate Journal. From 2019-2021, he co-convened the "Auralities" seminar at CRASSH.

He completed a PhD in Ethnomusicology at Harvard, with secondary emphasis in Critical Media Practice. He also holds degrees in music composition (MFA, Brandeis) and Classics (Greek) and Slavic Literature (BA, Harvard). After his doctoral studies, he held postdoctoral fellowships at MIT (Mellon) and Harvard’s Society of Fellows.

He is a fellow and director of studies in Music at Queens' College.

More information on projects and publications can be found here. If you're looking for a digital copy of something, please email directly (pm638@cam.ac.uk).

Publications

Key publications: 

2021. "Toward a Black Ecomusicology, 1853? Listening to Enslavement with Solomon Northup." 19th-Century Music 45/1: 79-90. Excerpt here.

2021 (online). "There Are No Oral Media? Multisensory Perceptions of South Slavic Epic Poetry." In Elmer, David F. and Peter McMurray, Singers and Tales in the 21st Century. Print publication forthcoming.

2021. "Cemetery Poetics: The Social Life of Cemeteries in Muslim Europe." In Puzon, Katarzyna, et al., eds. Islam and Heritage in Europe: Pasts, Presents and Future Possibilities, 51-67. Abingdon: Routledge. Open Access book.

2021. "Mobilizing Karbala: sonic remediations in Berlin Ashura processions." Ethnic and Racial Studies 44/10: 1864-1885. Excerpt here.

2020. "What is it like to be a crane? Notes on Alevi semah and the Sivas massacre." Culture, Theory and Critique 61/2-3: 151-168. Excerpt here.

2019 (online). "Qur'an Alphabetics and the Timbre of Recitation." In Dolan, Emily I. and Alexander Rehding, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Timbre. Print publication forthcoming.

2019. "On Serendipity: Or, Toward a Sensual Ethnography." In Barz, Gregory and William Cheng, eds. Queering the Field: Sounding Out Ethnomusicology, 380-396. New York: Oxford University Press. Excerpt here.

2019. "Witnessing Race in the New Digital Cinema." In Cook, Nicholas, et al., eds. The Cambridge Companion to Music in Digital Culture, 124-146. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Excerpt here.

2019. "After the Archive: An Archaeology of Bosnian Voices." In Gunderson, Frank, et al., eds. The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation, 607-626. New York: Oxford University Press.

2019. "The Revolution Will Not Be Telegraphed: Shari'a Law as Mediascape." In Williams, Gavin, ed. Hearing the Crimean War: Wartime Sound and the Unmaking of Sense, 24-58. New York: Oxford University Press.

2018. "Ephemeral cartography: on mapping sound." Sound Studies 4/2: 110-142.

2017. "Meta-Aurality: A History of Listening to Listening." Journal of the American Musicological Society 70/1: 33-39.

2017. "Once Upon Time: A Superficial History of Early Tape." Twentieth-Century Music 14/1: 25-48

2017. "Tape: Or, Rewinding the Phonographic Regime." With Andrea F. Bohlman. Twentieth-Century Music 14/1: 3-24.

2015. "Archival Excess: Sensational Histories beyond the Audiovisual." Fontes Artis Musicae 62/3: 262-275.

2014. "YouTube Music--Haptic or Optic?Repercussions 11: 1-47.

Teaching and Supervisions

Teaching: 

IA - Music in Contemporary Societies (formerly 'Music and Musicology Today')

IB - Introduction to Ethnomusicology; Introduction to Popular Music

II - Decolonizing the Ear (also open to MPhil students)

I also lecture for the Film/Screen Studies MPhil and the Social Studies Research Methods Programme (ethnography).

For inquiries about prospective graduate study, please email me directly.

Coronavirus

Latest information

Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology
Director of Studies, Queens' College
Dr Peter  McMurray
Takes PhD students

Affiliations