Dr Christopher Tarrant

Lecturer, Music

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:Cambridge School of Creative Industries

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Music

Christopher is a musicologist and conductor with interests in instrumental music from the 18th to the 20th centuries. His research engages the music of Franz Schubert and Carl Nielsen, as well as psychoanalytic approaches to musical analysis.

Twitter: @musochris86
Email: christopher.tarrant@anglia.ac.uk


Christopher’s research focuses on theories of form and the ways in which they relate to the concert repertoire in the long nineteenth century. His research also engages critical and psychoanalytic theory (especially that of Jacques Lacan and Slavoj Žižek) and he has published research in the International Journal of Žižek Studies and Music – Psychoanalysis – Musicology (Ashgate, 2017). While his research in recent years has focused on Schubert as a composer of sonata form, Christopher is now investigating the music of the Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931).


Christopher’s teaching engages a range of scholarly and practice-based activities from musical analysis and historical musicology to performance. He teaches harmony and counterpoint, music history (especially relating to concert music of the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries), and he has teaching interests in conducting and orchestration. He is also a violinist and violist.


  • PhD, Royal Holloway, University of London. Title of thesis: Schubert, Sonata Theory, Psychoanalysis: Traversing the Fantasy in Schubert’s Sonata Forms
  • MMus in Advanced Musical Studies, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • BA (Hons) in Music, University of Oxford

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Associate Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Member, Society for Music Analysis

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Music Analysis Development Fund, Individual Award
  • Society for Music Analysis Travel Bursary
  • TAGS (Theory and Analysis Graduate Students’) Conference Prize 2014

Selected recent publications

Review of David Beach, Schubert's Mature Instrumental Music: A Theorist's Perspective (University of Rochester Press, 2017) in Music & Letters Volume 99, Issue 1 (2018), pp. 128-130.

'Schubert, music theory, and Lacanian fantasy' in Samuel Wilson (Ed.) Music - Psychoanalysis - Musicology (Routledge, 2018), pp. 84-99.

'The Sinthome in Instrumental Music: The Case of Schubert' in the International Journal of Žižek Studies, Vol. 11, No. 3 (2017), pp. 95-117.

'Breakthrough and Collapse in Carl Nielsen's Sinfonia Semplice', in the Danish Yearbook of Musicology, Vol. 41 (2017), pp. 32-49.

'Structural Acceleration in Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 3, Op. 27' in Society for Music Analysis Newsletter (December 2014), pp. 5-16.

Recent presentations and conferences

2016. ‘Tradition and Deformation in the Nordic Symphony’, 16th International Congress of the Society for Musical Research, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz, Germany.

2016. ‘Instability and Dynamism in Carl Nielsen’s Harmony’, History, Analysis, and Pedagogy Music Analysis Conference (HAPMAC), University of Nottingham.

2016. ‘Carl Nielsen’s Modernist Sonata Forms’, Music Department Colloquium, University of Bristol.

2015. Keynote Speaker: ‘Carl Nielsen in the UK’, Carl Nielsen Symposium, Nordic Embassy, Berlin.

2015. ‘Between Autobiography and Eventyr: Carl Nielsen’s Sinfonia Semplice’, Music and the Nordic Breakthrough: Sibelius/Nielsen/Glazunov, University of Oxford.

2015. ‘Breakthrough and Collapse in Carl Nielsen’s Sixth Symphony’, Keele Music Analysis Conference (KeeleMAC), Keele University.

2014. ‘The Reversed Recapitulation and the Type 2 Sonata: The Case of Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3’, Society for Music Analysis, Theory and Analysis Graduate Students Conference (TAGS), Royal Holloway, University of London.

2013. ‘The Schubertian Sinthome: A Lacanian View of Schubert’s Sonata Forms’, Royal Musical Association Research Students’ Conference, Southampton University.