Staff Profile


Dr Vanessa Hawes

Senior Lecturer

School: Music and Performing Art

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 922624

Profile summary

Vanessa is a Senior Lecturer in Music at Canterbury Christ Church University. She has been at CCCU since September 2011.

Based in Canterbury, Vanessa's teaching interests include theory and analysis, ethnomusicology, popular music, contemporary music, empirical musicology, science and technology, Performance Studies, and music psychology.

Before joining the School of Music and Performing Arts at CCCU, Vanessa worked as an Associate Lecturer at Middlesex University.  Her teaching at Middlesex included ethnomusicology, songwriting, contemporary music, popular music history, theory and analysis, musicianship and composition, and performance studies.  She has also taught at Brunel Unviersity on both the undergraduate and postgraduate music programmes, and at UEA where she designed and taught modules on music analysis and music and scientific thought.

Vanessa was the Conference Chair for 2017's RMA/BFE Research Students' Conference, held in Augustine House at Canterbury Christ Chuirch Unviersity, 5-7 January 2017 (

Vanessa is on the Board of Directors of the David Kraehenbuehl Society as their European representative.

Vanessa welcomes contact from potential PhD students in the following areas:

- Aspects of Interdisciplinarity in Music Study
- Ethnomusicological/music and culture/musics of the world topics
- Performance science/performance studies
- Music Perception and Cognition (analysis)
- Empirical Musicology
- Musical Analysis
- Twentieth Century and Popular Musics
- Atonal Music, particularly Schoenberg, 1908-1912

Research and knowledge exchange

Vanessa's research interests have lately focussed on performance analysis, in the form of the Hanging Garden Project ( Based on Schoenberg's song cycle Das Buch der Hängenden Gärten, the project is all about interdisciplinarity within music studies, and the later stages (with co-principal investigator Dr Kate Gee [psychology]) involve the analysis of eye-tracking data, making connections between perception, analysis and eye movement while score reading. The project has recently been represented at conferences in Sheffield, Keele, Kyoto, Paris and Quebec. 

Vanessa has a book chapter based on the early stages of the Hanging Garden Project in Music and Familiarity (Ashgate), ‘Familiarity, information and musicological efficiency', and a chapter in Music and/as Process, 'Perception of structure as a learning process in a Schoenberg song'.

Another current collaborative project sees Vanessa working with colleagues in psychology within the University and colleagues outside of the University on an analysis of group and individual music masterclasses. Based in both performance studies and music education, the project aims to provide practitioners and students alike with a set of tools to enhance masterclass experiences.

Vanessa is also interested in making the topic of music theory and analysis accessible to people who have not had specialised musical training. A project is developing in this area, details of which will appear in due course.

Teaching and subject expertise


Introduction to Music Studies (Year 1 core module for BMus and BA Music)
Theory, Style and Analysis (Year 1 core module for BMus and BA Music)
Music, Science and Technology (Year 1 core module for BA Music)
Analysis (Year 2 optional module for BMus and BA Music)
Music and Culture (Year 2 optional module for BMus and BA Music)
Dissertation Supervision
Criticism (MMus core module)
Analysis (MMus core module)
MMus research project supervision

Also responsible for:

The Languages and Theory of Music (Arts and Humanities Foundation year module)

External activities

Selected papers (2007 onwards):

(with Kate Gee) 'Looking at, and listening to, musical features: creativity in score preparation', Tracking the Creative Process in Music, 3rd Edition, Paris, 8-10 October 2015;

'What can empirical musicology do for analysis?', Invited Research Seminar at Surrey University, 14 October 2015; CCCU Music Seminar Series, 3 December 2015.

'Negotiating ambiguity: dynamic structure in Schoenberg songs', International Symposium on Performance Science, Kyoto Japan, 2015;

'"Because my lips are motionaless and burn": dynamic structure in Schoenberg's Das Buch der Hangenden Gartens', KeeleMAC, Keele, 2015;

(with Kate Gee) 'Silent score reading with and without audio: an eye-tracking and self-report study', International Conference on the Multimodal Experience of Music, Sheffield, 2015;

‘Performative and Structural Affordance in Das Buch der Hängenden Gärten’, Schoenberg at 140, Canterbury, 2014;

'Understanding structure as process', Music and/as Process 2nd Annual Conference, Canterbury, 2014;

‘An ecological approach to score-familiarity: representing a performer’s developing relationship with her score’, ICMPC, Thessaloniki, 2012;

‘Comparing the shape of analytical and performative understandings of musical structure’, Music and Shape, IMR, London, 2012;

‘Information representation for analysis & interpretation of motivic order’, in Symposium, ‘Scalable analytical approaches & performative affordance’ ICMPC, Seattle, 2010;

‘Dynamic probability & ecological perception in music theory: musical information in retrospect & anticipation’ Presentation to Intelligent Sound & Music Systems Research Group, Goldsmiths, 2010;

‘Information representation for musicology,’ Musicology in the Digital Age, IMR, London, 2010;

‘Getting to know you: information, familiarity & the musicological cliché,’ Music & Familiarity, Hull, 2009;

‘Communication & computation: outline for a compositional theory,’ Musiktheorie als Interdisziplinäres Fach, Graz, 2008;

‘Kraehenbuehl’s general theory of musical communication,’ CarMAC 2008, Cardiff, 2008;

‘Interdisciplinarity & information dynamics in compositional theory,’ Presentation to the Music Informatics Research Group, City University, London, 2008;

‘Information as a measure of structure in music: a Formal Triad,’ Remembering David Kraehenbuehl, Yale University, New Haven, USA, 2007;

Publications and research outputs

Book chapters:

‘Familiarity, information and musicological efficiency’ in eds. King, Elaine and Prior, Helen Music and familiarity: listening, musicology, and performance (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013): 157-173.

'Perception of structure as a learning process in a Schoenberg song' in eds. Redhead, Lauren and Hawes, Vanessa, Music and/as Process (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars, 2016).

Refereed and published conference proceedings:

‘Information representation for analysis and interpretation of motivic order’ in Proceedings of the 11th International Conference of Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC), University of Washington, Seattle, 23-27 August 2010;

‘Composition and analysis as communication: outline for a compositional theory based on musical information’ (2010) in ed. Utz, Christian Music theory and interdisciplinarity. 8th Congress of the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie Graz 2008 (musik.theoren der gegenwart Vol. 4) (Saarbruecken: Pfau, 2010): 603-612;

‘Numbering fetishism: the history of the use of information theory as a tool for musical analysis’ (2009) in ed. Blazekovic, Zdavko, Music’s intellectual history: founders, followers and fads (New York: RILM): 835-842.


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Last edited: 13/12/2018 18:48:00