Joshua Ballance to work on project in Canada as part of Globalink Doctoral Exchange Partnership

Congratulations to Joshua Ballance (Oxford), who has been awarded a UKRI and Mitacs Globalink Doctoral Exchange Partnership to work on a project in Canada for three months next year. He will be based in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia, though the exchange also includes trips to Toronto, Montréal, and Winnipeg. He will be supervised by Professor Leigh VanHandel, a pioneering researcher in the field of computational musicology.

His project is entitled ‘A Digital Analysis of Harmonic Integration in the Music of Anton Webern’. Like his wider doctoral research, this project will use computational analysis to build datasets about features of Webern’s music and then employ statistical tools to look for patterns in these data, reflecting developments in Webern’s compositional practice. In this particular project, Joshua is concerned with the similarities between ‘vertical’ combinations of notes, those that sound together, and ‘linear’ combinations, those that sound successively across time. Webern himself spoke of synthesising this sort of harmonic ‘coherence’ as a crucial preoccupation of his music, and with the power of computational tools, we are now able to assess, from an empirical perspective, the extent to which this ambition was realised in his music.