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Professor Richard Widdess FBA

Musicology of South Asia, including history, theory, analysis and social context of music in North India and Nepal; music and religion in South Asia; analysis of world music; music cognition, performance and meaning in oral traditions
Professor Richard Widdess FBA profile picture

About this Fellow

Richard Widdess is Professor of Musicology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He holds a PhD in Music from the University of Cambridge, and was Research Fellow and Director of Studies in Music at Christ's College, Cambridge. He has been Chair of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology; a founder editor of the British Journal of Ethnomusicology; committee member of the Indian Musicological Society; member of the QAA Subject Benchmarking Group for Music; co-organizer of the Institute of Musical Research South Asia Forum; and Head of the Department of Music, SOAS. He received the Music Forum (Mumbai) Award for contributions to Indian Music (2006). His research interests include the history and theory of music in India, especially with reference to modal concepts and the practice of vocal music; the ethnography of religious music, with reference to the temple singing traditions of Nepal; the analysis of musical performance in orally-transmitted traditions; and aspects of musical cognition and music's language relationships.



Current post

  • Professor of Musicology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Past Appointments

  • Professor of Musicology, Soas, University Of London, 1970


Dhrupad: tradition and performance in Indian music (with Ritwik Sanyal) 2004

The Ragas of Early Indian Music: modes, melodies and musical notations from the Gupta period to c. 1250 1995

Dapha: sacred singing in a South Asian city. Music and meaning in Bhaktapur, Nepal 2013

Dynamics of melodic discourse in Indian music: Budhaditya Mukherjee’s alap in rag Puriya-Kalyan in Michael Tenzer and John Roeder (eds.), Analytical and cross-cultural studies in world music 2011

Other Africa, Asia and the Middle East Fellows

Professor Carole Hillenbrand

Islamic history 1050-1250, especially Iran and Syria; Muslim perspectives of the crusades, the scholar al-Ghazali and the caliphate.

Professor Graham Furniss

Oral and written literatures of Africa; orality, performance and genre in the popular cultures of West Africa with particular reference to Hausa-speaking regions of Nigeria and Niger

Professor John Mack

The anthropology and history of art and material culture, especially in equatorial Africa and the western Indian Ocean; comparative work on themes such as memory, miniaturisation, and the experience of the environment

Professor Emilie Savage-Smith

The history of medicine and science in medieval Islam; medieval Arabic artefacts and treatises relating to ophthalmology, anatomy, cartography (celestial and terrestrial), and divinatory techniques

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