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Bryan A. Whitelaw BMus (Hons) MPhil LRSM 

Bryan is a current PhD Researcher in Musicology at Queen's University Belfast. His interests lie in the theory and analysis of 19th–century repertoire and works with allusions to literary or narrative figures, particularly in the music of Franz Liszt.


Society for Musicology in Ireland

Bryan is the current Student Representative and a council member of the Society for Musicology in Ireland:


Similarly, he is a member of both the Royal Musical Association and the Society for Music Analysis.


Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

After completing his Bachelor of Music degree in 2015 with first-class honours, Bryan was awarded a School of Arts, English and Languages funding scholarship for his MPhil research project on the Piano Sonata in B minor (1853), by Franz Liszt.


The MPhil thesis focuses on the contextual, theoretical, and hermeneutic analysis of the Liszt Sonata, and provides the first Sonata Theory analysis of this work. The thesis additionally explores a hermeneutic reading of the sonata in poetic terms, based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust (1808), and a typological comparison with Liszt's other Faustian works; the Mephisto Waltzes and A Faust Symphony, for example.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Bryan's PhD research focuses on the interplay between Franz Liszt's literary and cultural influences, and their impact in his compositional output during the Weimar period; ca. 1848–1861.  The research is based on the development of a narratographic music theory which attempts to bridge the divide between historically- and culturally-contextual scholarship, on the one hand, and the theoretically-rigorous application of formal theory on the other. The work thus adopts aspects of narratology, hermeneutics, and semiotics, alongside theoretical interests such as Hepokoski and Darcy's Sonata Theory, William Caplin's theory of formal functions, and neo-riemannian theory.

The thesis explores a conextual history of Liszt's time as kappelmeister in the Weimar Court Theatre, while situating his reception history within the lineage of Weimar Classicism. After setting up a theoretical methodology, the thesis chapters provide case-study analyses of several symphonic poems, the Faust Symphony, Dante Sonata, and the Piano Sonata in B Minor. A final chapter outlines the broader strategy Liszt employed as a compositional archetype for sonata-form works, before drawing some conclusions for the future analysis of Liszt's oeuvre.



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