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Dr Martin Clarke

Martin Clarke

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Professional biography

Martin Clarke is a musicologist with interests in the intersections of music, theology and religious practice, and Welsh musical history. He joined the central academic staff of The OU in 2014, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2019. He was Head of Discipline from 2020-23. From 2016-19 he served as Director of Teaching (Arts & Humanities). Martin also has extensive experience of HE quality assurance; he was one of the authors of the OU's TEF submission in 2023, which was rated Gold. As Director of Teaching, he oversaw the Arts & Humanities Quality Montioring and Enhancement process each year, and also led the programme's successful Periodic Quality Review in 2019. He chaired the Periodic Quality Review of the OU's Health & Social Care programme in 2022, and has chaired programme validation and re-validation panels and worked as an academic assessor for the OU's Validation Partnerships unit. Martin is an experienced doctoral supervisor and welcomes enquiries from potential research students interested in his areas of expertise; he is a UK Council for Graduate Education Recognised Research Supervisor.

Martin was educated at St Martin's Comprehensive School, Caerphilly, and St Chad's College, Durham University. He is also active as an organist and choir director; he holds the Fellowship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO). Martin is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

Research interests

Martin Clarke's primary research interests lie in the relationships between music, theology and religious practice, and the history of music in Wales. His work on music, theology and religion has been principally focused on music and religious practice in Britain since the eighteenth century, and in the Methodist movement more widely. His book, British Methodist Hymnody: Theology, Heritage and Experience, was published by Routledge in 2017. He co-edited A History of Welsh Music (Cambridge University Press, 2022) with Trevor Herbert and Helen Barlow, contributing chapters on music and religion and music and sport. Projects in progress include co-editing one volume of the five-volume Oxford Handbook of Music and Christian Theology (forthcoming 2024). He co-organised a conference with the Cowper & Newton Museum, Olney, in 2022 as part of the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the hymn 'Amazing Grace' and is planning a volume of essays based on this. With C. Michael Hawn, Beverly A. Howard and Geoffrey C. Moore, Martin has co-authored a new edition of Sing with Understanding (GIA, 2022).

Martin was a Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded Listening Experience Database project, as part of which he worked on a study of Listening Experiences in Christian Worship in Britain. His work on this project has been published in Nineteenth-Century Music Review and in two volumes of essays based on contributions to project conferences.

Martin has supervised three PhD students to completion and is currently supervising a further four students. Former students have completed theses on Sir Arthur Sullivan, on Jacques Maritain and theological aesthetics and music (co-supervised with a colleauge in Philosophy), and on musical festivals in nineteenth-century Britain. Current PhD students are working on projects relating to a variety of aspects of British musical culture in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Salvation Army musical festivals, the development of municipal orchestras, hymnody and the Clapham sect (co-supervised with a colleague in Religious Studies), and new music at the Crystal Palace. Martin has supervised full-time and part-time PhD students from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from those teaching in higher education to those returning to academic study in retirement. He also has experience of helping students to secure funding for doctoral study. Martin would welcome enquiries from potential research students interested in working on topics related to his areas of research specialism. For further information, including on funding opportunities, please see the Postgraduate Research page of the OU Music website.

For details of Martin's published work, please see the Publications page.

Teaching interests

Martin has written units for A234 Understanding Music on harmonising melodies and writing piano accompaniments, A342 Central Questions in the Study of Music on studying sacred music, and both parts of the MA in Music, A873 and A874 on music and religion. He has also written material for The Practice of Music Making, a collaborative module developed by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the OU. He has served as module team chair of several Music modules and chaired the production team for a suite of short courses in Music that launched in 2022. He is currently writing material for the re-make of the OU's MA in Music. Martin worked as an Associate Lecturer for the OU from 2008-16, teaching on a variety of music and interdisciplinary modules at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Prior to joining the OU full-time, he taught on many undergraduate modules in music at Durham University.

Impact and engagement

Martin has given talks and lectures for the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, the Charles Wesley Society, and the Wesley Historical Society. He has contributed to the Museum of Methodism's blog and is a reviewer for Organists' Review. He was the lead academic consultant for the OU/BBC Wales co-production Wales: Music Nation (2 episodes, 2022).

External collaborations

In 2007 and 2015 Martin Clarke held Visiting Fellowships at Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist University. In 2013, he was an invited speaker at a Consultation on Music and Theology at the Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University. He is an executive committee member of the Society for Christian Scholarship and Music, and a trustee of the Pratt Green Trust. Martin also serves on the Methodist Church's Faith & Order Liturgical Subcommittee. He is external examiner for undergraduate Music at the University of York.

Externally funded projects

Listening and British cultures: listeners' responses to music in Britain, c. 1700-2018
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01 Mar 201628 Feb 2019AHRC Arts & Humanities Research Council

The study of music has typically focused on the work, the composer and the performer. More recently, interest has focused on the listener, but generally from the perspective of psychology or reception studies, which draw their evidence from experimentation, interview or musically informed critical opinion. The approach of this project is different: it places the listener at the heart of musical experience in Britain in the period c.1700-2018, emphasising the written testimony of the impact of music on 'ordinary' people. Typically the material is drawn from diaries, letters and memoirs. The evidence is all the more potent for being personal and often musically 'uninformed' or naïve. The team believes that such evidence facilitates a new way of studying how and what music communicates, and that it can, when gathered as a mass, inform novel approaches to musicology. The project will address three research questions: 1. What can personal accounts of listening to music in Britain tell us about how listeners recognise and identify with a common culture through music? 2. What can these accounts add to our understanding of the place of music in broader aspects of personal, community and national life in Britain? 3. What more can listeners' accounts tell us about the place in British musical life of particular repertoires and their associated performing and listening practices? The project aims to combine empirical research methods effectively with digital research methods. It does not aim merely at gathering 'big data', but sets out to use that data to support a traditional strength of humanities research - close reading of texts to underpin the writing of historical narratives. It builds on the AHRC-funded Listening Experience Database (LED) project (2013-15,, which established a methodology for collecting accounts of listening experiences in any period or culture, and a tool, in the form of a Linked Open Data database, for its storage and analysis. The objectives are: 1. To capture a mass of primary source evidence, and to make it available for analysis through an open-access database. 2. To use this data to inform new understandings of the place of music in British cultural life. 3. To develop a clear methodological framework for using digital content in humanities research, and an effective methodology for the mining and analysis of social media as primary source material for responses to music. 4. To develop the ways in which the database supports entry and analysis of data, and to use the database as a case study for research into the application of Linked Open Data. 5. To disseminate the findings to academic and non-academic audiences through a range of means including publications, social media, knowledge exchange events, seminars and a conference. New insights into the experience of listeners have the potential to inform not only historical musicology but also other research within and beyond the academic community - for example, in performance practice, social and cultural history, religious studies, Celtic studies, area studies, psychology and health studies, sociology and media studies. The project will benefit museums, libraries and archives - in particular, specific institutions with which the team will be working – by informing understanding of and increasing exposure to their collections. It will develop and document a clear methodology for using digital content in humanities research, including large-scale data sets such as social media archives that are currently difficult to use. It will establish data modelling practices transferable to other projects and create data assets of value to both academics and other users such as the media (for example, rich data about a wide range of music).


[Book Review] Guy L. Beck. Musicology of Religion: Theories, Methods, and Directions (SUNY Series in Religious Studies.) Albany: State University of New York Press, 2023. (2024-06)
Clarke, Martin
Notes, 80(4) (pp. 700-703)

Music and Charles Wesley’s Legacy (2024)
Clarke, Martin V.
The Journal of Religious History, Literature and Culture ((In Press))

[Book review] Eftychia Papanikolaou and Markus Rathey, eds, Sacred and Secular Intersections in Music of the Long Nineteenth Century: Church, Stage, and Concert Hall (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2022) (2023-08)
Clarke, Martin V.
Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 20(2) (pp. 438-442)

Moravian Soundscapes: A Sonic History of the Moravian Missions in Early Pennsylvania. By Sarah Justina Eyerly (2022-02-28)
Clarke, Martin V.
Reading Religion Newsletter, 7(3-4)

Charles Wesley, Methodism and new art music in the long eighteenth century (2021-08-17)
Clarke, Martin V.
Eighteenth-Century Music, 18(2) (pp. 271-293)

Hearing and Believing: Listening Experiences as Religious Experiences in Nineteenth-Century British Methodism (2020-12)
Clarke, Martin V.
Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 17(3) (pp. 381-402)

[Book Review] Wesley Hymns (2019)
Clarke, Martin V.
Wesley and Methodist Studies, 11(2) (pp. 222-224)

The Whole Church Sings: Congregational Singing in Luther’s Wittenberg, Robin A. Leaver (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2017), 206 pp, £17.99, pbk (2017)
Clarke, Martin V.
Holiness, 3(2) (pp. 329-330)

[Digital Resource Review] Digital Hymnology: Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology, Hymn Tune Index, (2016-12)
Clarke, Martin V.
Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 13(2) (pp. 421-430)

"And can it be": analysing the words, music and contexts of an iconic Methodist hymn (2016-03-16)
Clarke, Martin
Yale Journal of Music and Religion, 2, Article 2(1)

The Illingworth Moor Singers' Book: a snapshot of Methodist music in the early ninteenth century (2010)
Clarke, Martin
Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 7(1) (pp. 81-103)

John Wesley’s “Directions for Singing”: Methodist Hymnody as an Expression of Methodist Beliefs in Thought and Practice (2009-07)
Clarke, Martin
Methodist History, 47(4) (pp. 196-209)

Spirituality and Practicality: John Wesley’s visit to America and Moravian Influences on Methodist Music and Worship (2008)
Clarke, Martin
Lumen: Selected Proceedings from the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 27 (pp. 13-26)

[Book review] A Thorough Insight into Methodist Worship (2007)
Clarke, Martin V.
Expository Times, 119(3) (pp. 147-147)

[CD Review] The English Hymn – 5 (2005)
Clarke, Martin
Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 2(2) (pp. 226-228)

British Methodist Hymnody: Theology, Heritage, and Experience (2017-07-04)
Clarke, Martin V.
Routledge Methodist Studies
ISBN : 9781472469298 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

1780 Collection of Hymns (2024)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Norris, Clive Murray and Cunningham, Joseph W eds. The Routledge Companion to John Wesley. Routledge Religion Companions (pp. 114-125)
ISBN : 9780367471675 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Nonconformists and Their Music (2022-09-08)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Herbert, Trevor; Clarke, Martin V. and Barlow, Helen eds. A History of Welsh Music (pp. 218-242)
ISBN : 9781316511060 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

Singing Welshness: Sport, Music and the Crowd (2022-09-08)
Barlow, Helen and Clarke, Martin V.
In: Herbert, Trevor; Clarke, Martin V. and Barlow, Helen eds. A History of Welsh Music (pp. 332-354)
ISBN : 9781316511060 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

Christian Hymn: A Proposed Definition (2022-07)
Hawn, C. Michael; Clarke, Martin V. and Howard, Beverly A.
In: Hawn, C. Michael ed. Sing with Understanding - Third Edition (pp. 41-48)
ISBN : 9781622776634 | Publisher : GIA | Published : Chicago

How Does a Hymn Mean? (2022-07)
Clarke, Martin V. and Howard, Beverly A.
In: Hawn, C. Michael ed. Sing with Understanding - Third Edition (pp. 49-76)
ISBN : 9781622776634 | Publisher : GIA | Published : Chicago

A Brief History of Congregational Song: Shaping Theology through Hymn Compilations (2022-07)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Hawn, C. Michael ed. Sing with Understanding (Third Edition) (pp. 77-112)
ISBN : 9781622776634 | Publisher : GIA | Published : Chicago

"God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity": Singing the Trinity (2022-07)
Clarke, Martin V. and Moore, Geoffrey C.
In: Hawn, C. Michael ed. Sing with Understanding (Third Edition) (pp. 277-286)
ISBN : 9781622776634 | Publisher : GIA | Published : Chicago

An Introduction to the Study of Congregational Song (2022-07)
Clarke, Martin V. and Hawn, C. Michael
In: Hawn, C. Michael ed. Sing with Understanding (Third Edition) (pp. 441-474)
ISBN : 9781622776634 | Publisher : GIA | Published : Chicago

Music (2021-10)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Barbeau, Jeffrey W. ed. The Cambridge Companion to British Romanticism and Religion. Cambridge Companions (pp. 293-310)
ISBN : 9781108711050 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

Churches and Devotional Practice (2020-08)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Watt, Paul; Collins, Sarah and Allis, Michael eds. The Oxford Handbook of Music and Intellectual Culture in the Nineteenth Century
Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

‘O Lord, open thou our lips’: listeners’ experiences of BBC Radio 3’s Choral Evensong on The New Radio 3 Forum (2019-07)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Barlow, Helen and Rowland, David eds. The Experience of Listening to Music: Methodologies, Identities, Histories
ISBN : 9781473028647 | Publisher : The Open University | Published : Milton Keynes

“Come, all you people”: Lutheran Influences on the Spread of Global Hymnody (2019)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Schildt, Maria; Lundberg, Mattias and Lundblad, Jonas eds. Celebrating Lutheran Music: Scholarly Perspectives at the Quincentenary. Studia musicologica Upsaliensia (pp. 337-350)
ISBN : 978-91-513-0809-8 | Publisher : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis | Published : Uppsala

Church musicians in nineteenth-century Durham (2018-04)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Golding, Rosemary ed. The Music Profession in Britain, 1780-1920: New Perspectives on Status and Identity. Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain (pp. 90-109)
ISBN : 978-1-138-29186-7 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Listening to a singing people: accounts of Methodist hymn-singing (2017-07-31)
Clarke, Martin
In: Barlow, Helen and Rowland, David eds. Listening to music: people, practices and experiences
ISBN : 9781473023208 | Publisher : The Open University

'Meet and Right it is to Sing': nineteenth-century hymnals and the reasons for singing (2012-01-01)
Clarke, Martin
In: Clarke, Martin ed. Music and Theology in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Music in Ninteenth-Century Britain (pp. 21-36)
ISBN : 978-1-4094-0989-2 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Farnham

Introduction (2012)
Clarke, Martin V.
In: Clarke, Martin V. ed. Music and Theology in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain (pp. 1-4)
ISBN : 9781138249677 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Farnham

John Frederick Lampe's Hymns on the Great Festivals and Other Occasions (2010-12-25)
Clarke, Martin
In: Temperley, Nicholas and Banfield, Stephen eds. Music and the Wesleys (pp. 52-62)
ISBN : 9780252077678 | Publisher : University of Illinois Press | Published : Urbana

A History of Welsh Music (2022-09-08)
Herbert, Trevor; Clarke, Martin V. and Barlow, Helen eds.
ISBN : 9781316511060 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

Music and Theology in Nineteenth-Century Britain (2012-01)
Clarke, Martin ed.
Music in Ninteenth-Century Britain
ISBN : 978-1-4094-0989-2 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Farnham

'Above all sing spiritually': musical reform and revival in Methodism (2018)
Clarke, Martin V.
In : Fourteenth Institute of Methodist Theological Studies (2018, Oxford Institute, Oxford)

'Loud organs, his glory forth tell in deep tone': the interaction of music, liturgy, and theology in mid-nineteenth-century Britain (2014)
Clarke, Martin
In : The College of Organists examined: the foundation and early history of the RCO (2014, Oxford) (pp. 72-81)