Job title: Reader

Role: Director of Postgraduate Research

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 4155

Email: b.taylor@ed.ac.uk

Office address: Alison House, Room 3.02

Research outputs: Dr Benedict Taylor on Edinburgh Research Explorer

Benedict is Reader in Music at the University of Edinburgh. He received his MA and PhD from St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, subsequently holding fellowships at Heidelberg, Princeton and Berlin, and worked previously at Oxford as Lecturer in Music and Senior Research Fellow at Magdalen and New College. 

Benedict’s research and teaching interests concentrate on Western music since the mid-eighteenth century and covers a wide range of philosophical, analytical, theoretical, and historiographical themes. He is the author of five monographs: the first, Mendelssohn, Time and Memory: The Romantic Conception of Cyclic Form, published by Cambridge University Press in 2011, offers the first substantial account of the development of cyclic form in the nineteenth century. The second, The Melody of Time: Music and Temporality in the Romantic Era, is an analytical and philosophical study of the relation between music and time from Beethoven and Schubert to Franck and Elgar, published by Oxford University Press in 2015. His following RMA Monograph, Towards a Harmonic Grammar of Grieg’s Late Piano Music: Nature and Nationalism, explored the harmonic usage of late 19th-century composers outside or on the periphery of the Austro-German tradition, extending recent work in neo-Riemannian theory and the geometries of tonality into wider cultural issues pertaining to nationalist discourses and historiography. A pioneering study of the popular British composer Arthur Sullivan: A Musical Reappraisal, appeared in 2017 in Routledge’s Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain series. His most recent book, Music, Subjectivity, and Schumann is published by Cambridge University Press in May 2022, and provides an urgently needed critical examination of the much-used but usually ill-defined concept of musical subjectivity.

He is the editor of Rethinking Mendelssohn (Oxford University Press, 2020), The Cambridge Companion to Music and Romanticism (2021), and the co-editor of a special 2017 issue of 19th-Century Music on subjectivity and song. In addition, he has published on a broad range of music from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries in leading journals such as 19th-Century Music, Music & Letters, Music Theory Spectrum, Music Analysis, Journal of Music Theory, Journal of Musicology, Musical Quarterly, Cambridge Opera Journal, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, and Eighteenth-Century Music.

Benedict is the recipient of the Jerome Roche Prize from the Royal Musical Association and has held fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study Berlin, the Alexander von Humboldt and Andrew W. Mellon Foundations. He is co-editor of Music & Letters, general editor of Cambridge University Press’s Music in Context series, and also serves on the editorial board of Music Analysis.

As Course Organiser:

  • Music Analysis 1
  • Music Analysis 2
  • Music Analysis 3
  • Beethoven: Man, Music, Myth
  • Mendelssohn and the Making of 19th-Century Musical Culture 
  • Harmony 3
  • MMus: Research Methods
  • MMus: Music, Philosophy and Politics 
     

Other courses on which Benedict has taught:

  • Set Works
  • Ways of Listening
  • Research Methods in Music
  • Music and Ideas from the Middle Ages to Viennese Classicism
  • Music and Ideas from Romanticism to the Late Twentieth Century
  • Dissertation supervisor for a number of undergraduate, Master's, and PhD students

Benedict convenes the Music and Philosophy Reading Group on Monday lunchtimes.

 

Programmes

  • Music - BMus (Hons)
  • Music - MA
  • Music - PhD/MSc by Research
  • Musicology - MMus

Research interests

  • Temporality and Subjectivity in Music
  • Music Theory and Analysis (especially Formenlehre and late-Romantic harmony)
  • Late 18th- to early 20th-Century Music
  • British Music, c. 1860–1940
  • Philosophy and Aesthetics

Benedict's research interests concentrate historically on Classical-Romantic music from Haydn to the mid-twentieth century, though he has published more broadly on music stretching from the early eighteenth-century to the present, and his background specialisation in German and British music is counterbalanced by a sympathy for a far wider range of European and American repertory and moves beyond ready-made distinctions between serious, light, and popular musics. Although ranging from theoretical accounts of form and harmony to more philosophical studies of time and subjectivity, generally his work seeks to meld close analytical engagement with music and its experience with wider aesthetic questions of meaning.

Future projects include a Cambridge Music Handbook on Hensel’s String Quartet of 1834 (forthcoming in 2023 – the first such volume dedicated to a work by a woman), an Oxford Keynotes volume on Coleridge-Taylor's Hiawatha Trilogy, and a large-scale collaborative project on sonata form in the nineteenth century.

Current PhD students

PhD Supervision Topics

  • Music Analysis and Theory
  • 19th-Century Music, with a special emphasis on Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Schubert, and Schumann; more broadly, Western music from Haydn to the Second Viennese School (especially German and British music)
  • Musical Temporality