Musical Instrument Research - MMus

Programme video: Musical Instrument Research - MMus


Musical Instruments are fascinating objects which relate to music, art, culture, technology and acoustics. 

From the outset of this postgraduate programme, you will be immersed in a world-famous collection which spans some 500 years and includes many prized and unique items.

The programme is ideal for students who are fascinated by the technology and construction of musical instruments and how this relates to the music we play.

The skills you develop in observation and analysis will prepare you for a career in a range of music-related, and research-related, areas. You will also be able to use documents and pictures to help build up a detailed knowledge of the history of instruments and their musical uses.

Areas including historical, technical, social, musical and acoustical factors are examined for each of the main instrument groups – keyboard, wind, stringed and percussion.

Graduates of the course have held positions in museums all over the world, as well as in other fields requiring skills in detailed observation and research.

Join a vibrant creative community

The University of Edinburgh is unique in Europe in offering a degree in musical instrument research.

We benefit from working with world-leading musicians, musicologists, art historians and scientist who help us to understand instruments from a wide range of points of view.

The course is taught by the curators of the collection, so you will have hands-on access to one of the most important collections of musical instruments in the world under the guidance of experts in their field.

Top five reasons to choose the programme

  • This is the only masters-level course in Europe for the study of musical instruments
  • You will have direct, hands-on access to the University’s instrument collection
  • The course is taught by research active expert curators
  • There are regular visits from leading international scholars and musicians
  • A large cohort of PhD students gives additional support and encouragement


Dr Darryl Martin, Programme Director | View staff profile >

Dr Jenny Nex | View staff profile >


Everything you need to know about finding perfect student accommodation.

Six purpose-built, acoustically-treated music studios, with tie-lines to a shared recording space.

A fully operational, entirely student-run 90-seat theatre housed in a neo-gothic church.

Recording equipment is available to students through BookIt, the online booking system.

Get information, advice and guidance about your career options.

The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) is the main space for anyone using the University of Edinburgh’s historic collections.

Work spaces are available across the University. ECA's computers include software tailored to the disciplines studied here.

At the heart of the Evolution House Learning and Research Zone, the ECA Library provides an innovative environment for learning, teaching and research resources in art and design.

ECAfé provides a full catering service to all staff, students and visitors to Edinburgh College of Art.

Edinburgh Global's mission is to encourage internationalisation, enhance the student experience, create and develop partnerships.

EUSA represent the student voice. They provide services, run events, and facilitate student societies.

Information and guidance on financial matters for all students of the University of Edinburgh.

A Georgian garden that doubles as a venue for performances in the centre of the city.

The primary collection of books, periodicals, manuscripts, and research material.

Edinburgh is home to a number of musical societies, bands, orchestras and dance troupes.

A technical support team is on hand to help you with any studio or equipment queries.

Information on the equipment available to students in the music studios and editing suites.

Nearly 1,000 items including stringed, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.

Includes organs, harpsichords, and instruments from the Musical Instruments Museum.

By day, a café, bar and study space, and by night a club venue. Potterrow’s dome is also home to the Advice Place and the Potter Shop.

A 218-seat Victorian venue built in 1859. Used for regular orchestral and choral rehearsals and performances.

Located beneath Reid Concert Hall, this studio is built to record live performances in the venue.

The neo-classical Sculpture Court in the ECA Main Building is home to the many pieces from the Edinburgh Cast Collection, and is regularly used for student exhibitions.

Studio equipment and software tailored for music students to be able to record, edit, and experiment with their work.

Caters to a diverse range of users from occasional exercisers to international athletes.

The oldest purpose-built concert hall in Scotland. Used for concerts and part of the Musical Instruments Museum.

Offering counselling services for students, workshops, consultation and training for staff.

Supporting students with dyslexia, mental health issues and students on the autistic spectrum, as well as those who have physical and sensory impairments.

Talbot Rice Gallery is the public art Gallery for the University of Edinburgh.

Home to six distinctive bars, Teviot is the oldest purpose built students' union in the world.

A hub for the University Societies and setting regular live music, comedy, spoken word and poetry nights.

A bar at the Lauriston Campus which hosts regular events including club nights and gigs.

Scholarships & bursaries

Scholarships available for one academic year of postgraduate study at Edinburgh College of Art. (£5,000)

For full-time postgraduate taught masters students starting at Reid School of Music. (£5,000)

For current full-time music students. Students wishing to enter the competition must present a programme of organ music lasting 35-40 minutes. (£1,000)

For full-time postgraduate taught masters students starting at Reid School of Music. (£3,000)

News & events

Dr Lance Whitehead and Dr Jenny Nex.png

Dr Lance Whitehead and Dr Jenny Nex
Dr Lance Whitehead and Dr Jenny Nex

Their winning article brought to light numerous musical instrument makers who were not previously known.

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Concurrent investigators Dr Graeme Wilson & Prof Raymond MacDonald performing Stones, Clouds with Dr Cath Keay’s sculptures in the foreground
Concurrent investigators Dr Graeme Wilson & Prof Raymond MacDonald performing Stones, Clouds with Dr Cath Keay’s sculptures in the foreground
Image courtesy of Full Zoom Photography

The one-day workshop saw musicians and dancers exploring listening and improvisation.


Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4086