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Faculty of Music



Peter McMurray 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 has also published on various aspects of the history of sound recording, especially tape and YouTube music. He is currently researching music and the refugee crisis in contemporary Europe and Turkey as well as intersections of sound, media and empire in the 19th century. His media practice includes extensive non-fiction audio and video work.

 For over 10 years he has worked as the Assistant Curator of the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature and 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. 

 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 (through spring 2018).

More information on projects and publications can be found here. If you're looking for a digital copy of something, please email me.


Key publications: 

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: Sonic Pleasures and Fleshy Archives of Sensual Ethnography." In Barz, Gregory and William Cheng, eds. Queering the Field: Sounding Out Ethnomusicology, 380-396. New York: Oxford University Press.

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.

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.


Latest information

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