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Dr David Maw


I read Music at Oxford and stayed on to write a doctorate on the secular songs of Guillaume de Machaut, concurrently holding the John Brookman Graduate Organ Scholarship at Wadham College.

I have held Lectureships in Music since 1995, joining Oriel in 1999. I also teach for Christ Church and Trinity College. I became a Fellow of Oriel in 2020.

Undergraduate Teaching

Techniques of Composition, Analysis, History (especially topics pre-1750), Keyboard Skills, Dissertation (for appropriate topics).

Research Interests

My research centres on topics in historical musicology (medieval music and music post-1900) and music theory and analysis, with an overarching interest in questions of compositional practice and choice. My work on French polyphonic compositions of the 13th and 14th centuries  has been especially concerned with the relationship of words and music in the secular song repertories. I have worked also on English chamber music of the first half of the 20th century and on early Beethoven. My current projects include a new edition of Guillaume de Machaut’s musical works (completing work begun in my doctoral research); a book on Machaut’s songs; a study of the note that ‘represents all modern music’ (Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony); and a book on learning composition through fugue based on my teaching over the past 20 years. My 2006 review article for Music and Letters was awarded a Westrup prize for a distinguished contribution to musical scholarship.

In the sphere of practical music, I am a composer and organist specialising in improvisation. My setting of John Henry Newman’s “Lead, kindly light” was recorded by Oriel College Choir in 2007; and my Suite for Organ won first prize in the Concours de Composition at the Festival du Comminges (2008), leading to a commission for the festival in 2010. I have given numerous organ recitals in the UK and France and won the grand prix André Marchal for organ improvisation in 2013. I am a prize-winning Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.

Selected Publications


The Music of Herbert Howells, co-edited with Dr Phillip Cooke (Boydell and Brewer, 2013)

Essays on the History of English Music in Honour of John Caldwell: Sources, Style, Performance, Historiography, co-edited with Dr Emma Hornby (Boydell and Brewer, 2010)

Articles, Chapters and Essays

‘Je le temoin en mon chant’: The Art of Diminution in the Petronian Triplum, in Catherine Bradley & Karen Desmond edd, The Montpellier Fascicle: The Final Fascicle (forthcoming)

Improvisation as Composition: the recorded improvisations of Vierne and Tournemire, in Eric Clarke & Mark Doffman edd, Distributed Creativity: collaboration and improvisation in contemporary music (forthcoming, 2017)

L’ancrage médiéval de la tradition chorale Britannique, La Lettre de l’Académie des Beaux Arts 78 (2015)

‘a “modern”…but a Britisher too’: Howells and the Phantasy, in The Music of Herbert Howells (2013, see above)

Bona cadentia dictaminum: Reconstructing Machaut’s Lyric Word Setting, Music and Letters 94 (2013)

‘Struggling but failing to mask’: the Music of Mark R. Taylor, Tempo 67 (2013)

‘“Phantasy” Mania’, in Essays on the History of English Music (2010, see above)

Redemption and Retrospection in Jacques de Liège’s Concept of Cadentia, Early Music History 29 (2010)

Lost Sounds and Found Experiences in Music 1300-1600 (Review Article), Cultural and Social History 7.2 (2010)

‘En la maison Dedalus’: Musical Aesthetics in the Historicist Labyrinth, in Alessandro Arbo, ed., Perspectives de l’esthétique musicale entre théorie et histoire (L’Harmattan, 2007)

‘Making the Mummies Sing’, in Thomas Glück and Ludwig Morenz, edd., Exotisch, Weisheitlich und Uralt: Europäisch Konstruktionen Altägyptens (LIT, 2007)

Machaut and the ‘Critical’ Phase of Late-Medieval Polyphony (Review Article), Music and Letters 87 (2006)

Accent and Metre in Later Old-French Verse: the Case of the Polyphonic Rondel, Medium Aevum 75 (2006)

‘Trespasser Mesure’: Meter in Machaut’s Polyphonic Songs, Journal of Musicology 21 (2004)

Meter and Word Setting: Revising Machaut’s Monophonic Virelais, Current Musicology 74 (2002)

Machaut’s ‘Parody’ Technique, Context 21 (2001)


Les ténèbres, for trumpet and organ (Editions Billaudot, 2017)

Suite pour orgue: La vie de Jean Baptiste (Editions Delatour, 2013)


Idylle: Les mélodies d’Ermend Bonnal, with Roselyne Martel-Bonnal soprano (Calliope, 2017)