Edinburgh Research Explorer

Benedict Taylor

Chancellor's Fellow - Reader

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Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Music theory and analysis; 19th- and early 20th-century music (especially relating to Mendelssohn, Schubert, Weber, Schumann, Romanticism; British music); aesthetics and philosophy of music (especially music and temporality).

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Cambridge
Master of Music, King's College London
Master of Arts, University of Cambridge


  Benedict is Reader in Music at the University of Edinburgh, where he teaches topics in the analysis, philosophy and history of music in the Reid School of Music and serves as Director of Research.  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 include musical temporality and subjectivity, theory and analysis (especially 19th-century form and late-Romantic harmonic practice), philosophy, and the history of music c. 1770–1945 (with particular focus on the Mendelssohns and German Romantic music, British music, and later nineteenth-century music).  He is the author of four 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.  Another project explores 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. Some of this work was published in late 2016 as an RMA Monograph, Towards a Harmonic Grammar of Grieg’s Late Piano Music: Nature and Nationalism.  His latest book, Arthur Sullivan: A Musical Reappraisal, appeared in August 2017 in Routledge’s Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain series.  He is the editor of Rethinking Mendelssohn (Oxford, 2020) and The Cambridge Companion to Music and Romanticism (forthcoming 2021), and the co-editor of a special issue of 19th-Century Music on subjectivity and song (spring 2017).  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, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, and Eighteenth-Century Music.

  Benedict was Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study Berlin in 2019–20, and has held fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt and Andrew W. Mellon Foundations.  He is the recipient of the Jerome Roche Prize from the Royal Musical Association for the article ‘Cyclic Form, Time and Memory in Mendelssohn's A minor Quartet, Op. 13’, Musical Quarterly, 93/1 (2010), which explored the relationship between musical form, time and memory from an analytical and phenomenological perspective.  Future projects include an account of musical subjectivity (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2022), a handbook on Fanny Hensel's String Quartet, and a large-scale collaborative study of sonata form in the nineteenth century.  He is currently co-editor of Music & Letters and also serves on the editorial board of Music Analysis.

Highlighted research outputs

  1. Schubert and the Construction of Memory: The Quartet in A minor, D. 804 (‘Rosamunde’)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Temporality in Nineteenth-Century Russian Music and the Notion of Development

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Modal four-note pitch collections in the music of Dvořák's American Period

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Nostalgia and Cultural Memory in Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Musical History and Self-Consciousness in Mendelssohn's Octet, Op. 20

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

View all (43) »

Research activities & awards

  1. Guest Colloquium, Humboldt Universität Berlin

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

  2. Guest Colloquium, Universität Leipzig

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

  3. Invited Talk, University of Toronto

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

View all (61) »

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