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Dr Tomas McAuley

Dr Tomas McAuley

Visiting Research Associate


I am currently a Visiting Research Associate in the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge, having recently completed a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship here (2015-19, including a period of parental leave). Before that, I was Post-Doctoral Resident Scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor of Music (Musicology) at Indiana University (2013-15). I completed my PhD at King's College London (under the supervision of Michael Fend) in 2013. My research and teaching range across music and philosophy, sound studies, music analysis, intellectual history, and popular music.

My first monograph, The Music of Philosophy: German Idealism and Musical Thought, from Kant to Schelling, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. The book examines the relationship between philosophy and musical thought in the years around 1800, investigating links between changing conceptions of music and changing conceptions of ethics, knowledge, and time.

I’m working now on my second monograph, Hearing the Enlightenment: Music, Philosophy, and the Emergence of Modernity, which is under contract with Yale University Press. The book challenges the conventional scholarly picture of the Enlightenment as a predominantly ocularcentric phenomenon, offering instead a new understanding of this movement as fundamentally musical.

Together with Nanette Nielsen and Jerrold Levinson, I am also co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Western Music and Philosophy, due to go into production with Oxford University Press in spring 2019. Other ongoing projects include chapters for The Cambridge Companion to Music and Romanticism (ed. Benedict Taylor) and A Cultural History of Music in the Age of Enlightenment (ed. David Irving and Estelle Joubert), an extended review of two recent books in music and philosophy for Music Theory Spectrum, and the laying of foundations for future work in the medical and health humanities.

From 2010-18, I served as founding chair of the Royal Musical Association Music and Philosophy Study Group (


Key Publications

The Music of Philosophy: German Idealism and Musical Thought, from Kant to Schelling. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

‘Immanuel Kant and the Downfall of the Affektenlehre.’ In Sound and Affect: Voice, Music, World, edited by Stephen Decatur Smith, Judith Lochhead, and Eduardo Mendieta. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, forthcoming.

‘Ethics.’ In The Oxford Handbook of Music and Intellectual Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century, edited by Sarah Collins, Paul Watt, and Michael Allis. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

'Missing the Wrong Target: On Andrew Bowie’s Rejection of the Philosophy of Music.’ Performance Philosophy 1 (2015): 59-64.

Opera and Philosophy. Double special issue of The Opera Quarterly 29/3-4 (2013), co-edited with Nanette Nielsen, with a jointly written introduction.

‘Rhythmic Accent and the Absolute: Sulzer, Schelling, and the Akzenttheorie.’ Eighteenth-Century Music 10/2 (2013): 277-86.