The Music & Science Lab (MSL) at Durham University is an interdisciplinary undertaking where people from different disciplines are brought together by interests in the processes that underlie musical activities and empirical approaches to study them. These approaches range from establishing and analysing music collections (video, audio, meta-data) to experimental methods involving  behavioural or production tasks (e.g., performing or singing), to acoustic analyses, and even to physiological (e.g. heart rate or respiration) or neural indicators (e.g. EEG). Much of our work is underpinned by detailed ethnographic investigation, which guides and informs our experimental and analytical work.


We hold fortnightly Music & Science lab meetings, which comprise a mix of research presentations, methods sessions (recent sessions include comparisons of self-report tools for measuring musical engagement and methods for detecting statistical outliers), professional development discussions (recent sessions have included topics such as authorship, publication, and career planning), critical discussions of journal articles, and preparation of impact activities. Since 2017 we have held an annual Music & Science Symposium, featuring presentations from MSL group members, researchers from other universities in Northeast England, and internationally renowned keynote speakers (Prof David Huron, Prof William Forde Thompson, Dr Maria Witek).



The Music & Science Lab (MSL) has facilities for behavioural and production tasks situated in a 17th century Grammar school next to Durham Cathedral. We have portable devices for measuring psychophysiology (GSR, ECG, Respiration, EMG), EEG (32-channel), eye tracking, and wireless response cards for collecting audience responses. We also have an Audiovisual Documentation and Analysis Lab (ADAL), linked to MSL, equipped with professional standard video and audio recording equipment and editing workstation. In addition, the Department hosts a Music Technology Lab, audio recording and electronic music studios, and an electronic workshop.

Prospective students, post-docs and visitors

We welcome enquiries about opportunities to study for research and taught postgraduate degrees in topics related to our interests and approaches. If you are interested in spending time in Durham as a visiting student, or a post-doctoral researcher, please do get in contact with one of the senior team members at the Team page.