Ester Lebedinski Arfvidson

Researcher at Department of Musicology

Visiting address:
Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3H

Postal address:
Box 633
751 26 UPPSALA

Keywords: cultural heritage musicology music history cultural exchange music cultural practice source studies music collecting

My courses


I work as a researcher and teacher at the Department of Musicology. Currently, I teach mainly courses in music history, and undergratuate dissertation modules coupled with an undergraduate theory and methodology couse.

I did my PhD with Stephen Rose at Royal Holloway, University of London, and finished my dissertation "Roman Vocal Music in England, 1660–1710: Court, Connoisseurs, and the Culture of Collecting" in February 2015 (examiners: Jonathan Wainwright and Colin Timms). Before stating PhD, I took Royal Holloway's MMus in Advanced Musical Studies which I ended with a dissertation on the dissemination and popularisation of Henry Purcell's theatre songs. I gained my bachelors degree at Uppsala University. During my studies I worked both as an administrative assistant at the department of musicology, and as a research assistant in the Düben Collection Database Catalogue project (link).

Apart from teaching and reseach, I am the administrative co-ordinator of international research network "Musical-Cultural Exchange in Early Modern Europe, c.1550–1750" (link), and have worked as a cataloguer at the British Library within the project "A Big Data History of Music" (link) led by Stephen Rose and Sandra Tuppen.


My research interests are music as a social and cultural practice, mainly in the seventeenth century. My research deals with questions of cultural exhange in early modern Europe, music collecting and music as status objects, as well as musical processes of popularisation and appropriation.

In July 2016 I begin the project "The Cultures of Music Collecting in Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century England, funded på the Swedish Research Council. Music was an important part of the early modern English culture of collecting books, antiquities and curiosities; but it differs from other collection items through its simultaneously material and immaterial status, and its strongly evocative power as sound. Arguing that musical repertoire can represent confession, politics, or socio-cultural affiliation in uniquely complex ways, I will explore the creative processes of music collecting and collectors’ interaction with past and foreign musical cultures. This project will redefine classic collecting categories and challenge notions of musical collection items as the result of antiquarian preservation for its own sake. It will also question current ideas of so-called musical antiquarianism as eighteenth-century counter-culture, arguing that trends in music collecting affected later processes of canon formation and the building of a national musico-historical knowledge-base—processes that still affect research today. Moreover, music’s uniqueness will contribute new perspectives to fields such as book history and material culture.


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