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Dr John Morgan O'Connell


John OConnell Position: Reader Email:
Telephone: +44(0)29 208 70394
Fax: +44(0)29 208 74379
Extension: 70394
Location: 33 Corbett Road (Annexe), Room 2.04

Dr O’Connell founded the programme in ethnomusicology at Cardiff University. He is a graduate of Oxford University, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the University of California (Los Angeles) where he completed his PhD in ethnomusicology on Turkish music. He has taught ethnomusicology at Otago University and the University of Limerick, having held a number of visiting positions at The Queen’s University of Belfast and Brown University, amongst others. His publications concern in principle the musical traditions of the Muslim world. He is the principal editor of the volume entitled Music and Conflict (Illinois UP, 2010) and author of many articles on Middle Eastern and Central Asian topics. He has recently completed a monograph on style in Turkish music (SOAS Musicology Series, 2013) and is currently writing a book on music and war in the Middle East.

Dr O’Connell has acted as a music consultant for a number of international organizations, being awarded a Senior Fulbright Fellowship in association with the Aga Khan Foundation (2002–2003) and a Getty Foundation Grant to participate in its International Summer Institute (2006). He has recently been awarded an AHRC-REACT fellowship (2014) for a project entitled ‘The God Article’. He has hosted a variety of international conferences including the 15th ICTM Colloquium (2004) entitled ‘Discord: Music in Conflict’; an International Symposium in European Ethnomusicology (2007) entitled ‘National Ethnomusicologies’; and the annual conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology (2008) entitled ‘The Art of Music’. He was Reviews Editor for the journal Ethnomusicology. He is currently a member of the editorial boards for the SOAS Musicology Series and the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association (JOTSA).

Dr O’Connell is Director of Research in the School of Music and Chair of Humanities Connect in Cardiff University. He offers a range of lectures and seminars. At an undergraduate level, he teaches the following lectures: ‘Music in Human Life’ (Year 1), ‘Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective’ (Year 2) and ‘Project in Ethnomusicology’ (Year 3). At a postgraduate level, he teaches the following seminars: ‘The Anthropology of Music’, ‘Methods in Ethnomusicology’, ‘The World of Music’, ‘The Language of Music’ and ‘Music and Discourse’. He also offers specialist seminars that concern music in the Muslim world and music in the Celtic world.





Usûlsüz: Meter in the Concerts of Münir Nurettin Selçuk (1923-1938)’, in Ralf Jäger (ed.), The Usûl in Turkish Music, (Münster: Institut für Musikforschung, forthcoming 2015)

‘Concert Platform: A Space for a Style in Turkish Music’, in Michael Frishkopf and Federico Spinetti (eds), Music and Architecture in Islam, (Austin: University of Texas Press, forthcoming 2015)


Alaturka: Style in Turkish Music (Aldershot: SOAS Musicology Series, 2013)

O’Connell, John Morgan and Salwa Castelo-Branco (eds), Music and Conflict (Champaign, Ill.: Illinois University Press, 2010)

Book Chapters, Journal Articles and Published Papers

‘Sounds Humane: Music and Humanism in the Aga Khan Foundation’, in Svanibor Pettan and Jeff Titon (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Applied Ethnomusicology, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 602-637

‘The Classical Style: Modal Analysis of a Vocal Improvisation in Turkey’, in Suraya A?ayeva (ed.), Proceedings of the IV International Symposium: Mu?am Alemi (Baku: ?erq-Qerb Ne?riyyat Evi, 2015), 269-279

‘Gazel’, in David Horn, Dave Laing and John Shepherd (eds), Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, vol. VI (London: Bloomsbury, 2013)

‘Modal Trails, Model Trials: Musical Migrants and Mystical Critics in Turkey’, in Ruth Davis (ed.), Musical Exodus: Al-Andalus and its Jewish Diasporas (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2012)

‘A Staged Fright: Musical Hybridity and Religious Intolerance in Turkey (1923–38)’, Twentieth-Century Music, 7/1 (2011), 1–26

‘Music in War, Music for Peace: A Review Article’, Ethnomusicology, 55/1 (2011), 112–127

‘An Ethnomusicological Approach to Music and Conflict’, in John Morgan O’Connell and Salwa Castelo-Branco (eds), Music and Conflict (Champaign, Ill.: Illinois University Press, 2010), 1–17

‘Alabanda: Brass Bands and Musical Methods in Ottoman Turkey’, in Federico Spinetti (ed.), Giuseppe Donizetti Pascià: Traiettorie musicali e storiche tra Italia e Turchia (Bergamo: Fondazione Donizetti, 2010), 19–37

‘War of the Waves: Cypriot Broadcasting in Great Britain’, in Ursula Hemetek and Hande Saglam (eds), Echoes of Diversity: Music from Turkey in the Diaspora (Vienna: UNESCO, 2008), 119–130

‘The Mermaid of the Meyhane: The Legend of a Greek Singer in a Turkish Tavern’, in Linda Austern and Inna Naroditskaya (eds), Music and the Sirens (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006), 273–293

‘The Edvâr of Demetrius Cantemir’, Ethnomusicology Forum, 14/2 (2005), 235–239

‘In the Time of Alaturka: Identifying Difference in Musical Discourse’, Ethnomusicology, 49/2 (2005), 177–205

‘Sound Sense: Mediterranean Music from a Turkish Perspective’, in David Cooper and Kevin Dawe (eds), The Mediterranean in Music (Oxford: Scarecrow Press, 2005), 3–25

‘Ethnomusicology in the Middle East’, in Moushein Shohranazdar (ed.), Perspectives in Ethnomusicology (Tehran: Nashreney Press, 2005), 1–14

‘A Resounding Issue: Greek Recordings of Turkish Music, 1923–1938’, Middle East Studies Bulletin, 37/2 (2004), 3–24

‘Sustaining Difference: Theorizing Minority Music in Badakhshan’, in Ursula Hemetek (eds), Manifold Identities: Studies on Music and Minorities (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2004), 1–19

‘Song Cycle: The Life and Death of the Turkish Gazel’, Ethnomusicology, 47/3 (2003), 399–414

‘Major Minorities: Towards an Ethnomusicology of Irish Minority Musics’, in Ursula Hemetek and Svanibor Pettan (eds), Music and Minorities (Ljubljana: University of Slovenia Press, 2002), 165–82

‘From Empire to Republic: Vocal Style in Twentieth Century Turkey’, in Virginia Danielson, Scott Marcus and Dwight Reynolds (eds), The Middle East (New York: Garland Publishers, 2001), 781–7

‘Fine Art, Fine Music: Controlling Turkish Taste at the Fine Arts Academy’, Yearbook for Traditional Music, 33 (2000 [2001]), 117–42

Other Output

Entries in Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music (2010–), Encyclopedia of Islam, Third Edition (2007–), Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (2001), The New Grove Dictionary of Music, Second Edition (2001).

Reports in the Bulletin of the International Council for Traditional Music (2000–2007).

Reviews in Asian Music, Edebiyât, Ethnomusicology, Ethnomusicology Forum, Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology, Yearbook for Traditional Music and Twentieth-Century Music, amongst others.


John Morgan O'Connell’s research concerns the musical traditions of the Muslim world, with a secondary area of expertise in the musical traditions of Europe. Other areas of interest include the significance of hermeneutic theory, post-structuralism and historical ethnography for ethnomusicology. Future research will involve two paths of inquiry. Building upon field research conducted among migrant groups in Germany (funded by DAAD), he plans to publish a collaborative study on Kurdish music. And following field research in Central Asia (sponsored by AKHP), he is editing a collection of essays on music and nationhood in the Middle East and Central Asia. Apart from his current research into music and war during the Middle East campaign entitled ‘Instruments of War’ (funded by Cardiff University), he is the principal investigator of a project entitled ‘The God Article’ (funded by AHRC-REACT) that involves the virtual reconstruction of the Turkish ney.


Research Papers and Public Lectures

‘The Pulse of Asia: Musical Diffusion in the Turkic World’ ICTM World Conference, Astana, 18 July 2015

‘The Classical Style: Modal Analysis of a Vocal Improvisation in Turkey’, International Mu?am Symposium, Baku, 12 March 2015

‘Ottomanism Revived: Jewish Musicians and Cultural Politics in Turkey’, Society for Ethnomusicology, Pittsburg, 15 November 2014

Usûlsüz: Meter in the Concerts of Münir Nurettin Selçuk (1923–38)’, WWU, Münster, 28 February 2014

‘Mythality: Myth and Reality in Turkish Music’, Arnolfini, Bristol, 30 November 2013

‘Concert Platform: Style and Space in Turkish Music’, Simon Fraser University-Aga Khan University Summer School, London, 3 July 2013

Invited Participant. ‘Jüdische Musik – Wege ihrer Erforschung im 21. Jahrhundert’, Europäisches Zentrum für Jüdische Musik, Hannover, 8–9 July 2010

‘Stage Fright: Musical Contests and Religious Differences in Turkey (1923–1938)’, Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies, Northwestern University, 25 February 2010

‘Music in Republican Turkey: Singing Alaturka, Singing Alafranga’, Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College, Distinguished Visitor Program, Philadelphia, 23 February 2010

‘Music in Ottoman Turkey: The West in the East’, Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College, Distinguished Visitor Program, Philadelphia, 22 February 2010

‘Telling Tales: Musical Aesthetics and Jewish Histories in Turkey’, Society for Ethnomusicology, Mexico City, 20 November 2009

‘Music in Moderation: Music and Identity among Jews in Turkey (1923–1938)’, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies, Cambridge University, 17 November 2009

‘Functional Harmony: Music in War and Peace’, Institute of Musical Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 30 April 2009

‘Music in Conflict’, Goldsmiths College, University of London, 11 December 2008

‘Theorizing the Turkish Makam at the Dawn of the Turkish Republic’, CarMAC, Cardiff University, 5 September 2008

‘Europe in Asia: Jewish Musicians in Ottoman Music’, 17th ICTM Colloquium ‘Musical Exodus’, Cambridge University, 21 July 2008

‘The Art of Music: Ornament in Turkish Art, Ornament in Turkish Music’, British Forum for Ethnomusicology, Cardiff University, 11 April 2008

‘Alabanda: Brass Bands and Musical Methods in Ottoman Turkey’, Giuseppe Donizetti Symposium, Bergamo, 4 December 2007

‘War of the Waves: Cypriot Broadcasting in London’, UNESCO Working Group, Vienna, 23 November 2007

‘Mode à la mode: Music Theory and Aesthetic Preference in Turkey’, ICTM World Conference, Vienna, 10 July 2007

‘Old West, New East: Europe in Ethnomusicology and Ethnomusicology in Europe’, British Forum for Ethnomusicology, Newcastle University, 20 April 2007

‘Modes of Comparison: Saygun, Pentatonicism and Ethnomusicology’, Ahmet Adnan Saygun Centenary Conference, Bursa, 9 March 2007

‘Peace and War: Conflict and Strategy in Kurdish Music’, Advanced Study Institute of Musical Research, London, 2 March 2007

Current PhD Candidates

Rachelle Barlow (Cardiff University, MA Distinction; PhD Studentship) Subject: Fe/Male Choirs and Social Classes in Wales

Rod Lawford (Cardiff University, MA Merit) Subject: Romani Musicians at Home and Abroad

Nicole Maher (SOAS, MA Distinction; University Studentship) Subject: Rhythm and Ritual in Epirus

Kate Neale (Cardiff University, MA Distinction; DTP Award) Subject: Cornish Music in the Cornish Diaspora

Sinibaldo De Rosa (with Exeter University; DTP Award) The Alevi Semah as Intangible Cultural Heritage

Successful PhD Candidates

Matthew Machin (Cardiff University, MA Distinction; PhD Studentship) Subject: Music and Regionalism in Andalusia (Completed: July 2013)

Carl Morris (Cardiff University, MA Distinction; Jameel Scholar) Subject: The Muslim Sound in the United Kingdom (Completed: April 2013)

Eoghan Neff (University of Limerick, MA Distinction; BFE Postgraduate Award) Subject: The avant-garde in Irish Traditional Music (Completed: November 2012)

Cinzia Yates (University of Liverpool, MA Distinction; Manx Government Scholar) Subject: Canon Formation in Manx Music (Completed: August 2013)