Popular Music is a field of research that explores the social, cultural, economic, and technological dimensions of a vast range of popular musical styles throughout history with particular emphasis on analysing the means of music’s production and consumption. Student opportunities in this field include potential research placements with media production houses, broadcasters, arts companies, music industry peak bodies, festivals, performance venues and digital repositories. Research in this field is supported by our rare collection of legendary legacy equipment, which shaped the sounds of the world’s most famous popular musicians. Research in this field is supported by the ANU Art and Music Library’s extensive collection of musical recordings. It is also supported by our rare collection of legendary legacy equipment including a Mellotron, an EMT Plate Reverberator and a Fairlight CMI, which respectively forged the distinctive sounds of the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Peter Gabriel.
Research leadership in this area is provided by Dr Samantha Bennett, who comes to academia from a professional background of making music in London alt-rock bands, and working as a studio recording engineer and programmer. Her own doctoral research in this field was supported by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, and she continues to produce studio albums for London indie bands.
She is joined by A/Prof Aaron Corn, whose seminal research on Yothu Yindi has been supported by the Australian Research Council, and Dr Stephen Loy, who works on the recorded music and performance practice of Led Zeppelin. Dr Alexander Hunter worked as a session musician in Edinburgh for eight years, touring and recording with many of the country’s top folk, jazz and indie rock bands. Head of School, Professor Peter Tregear, also holds expertise in the substantial influence of modern popular styles upon European opera and orchestral music in the early twentieth century.