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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
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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 Rana Mitter

The history and politics of modern China; history of twentieth-century China, in particular the Republican period (1912-1949) and Cold War; contemporary Chinese nationalism and Sino-Japanese relations

Professor Roel Sterckx

Classical and literary Chinese language and philology; history, religion and thought of pre-imperial and early imperial China; text and manuscript studies (Warring States, Qin, and Han periods); the natural world in pre-modern China

Professor John Healey

Aramaic inscriptions of the Roman-period Near East (especially Nabataen & Syriac); associated historical, religious & legal studies; early development of the Arabic script; Ugaritic, Hebrew & Syriac philology & literature