Dr Stephen Graham

Staff details

Position Acting Head of the School of Arts and Humanities, Senior Lecturer in Music
Department Music
Email s.graham (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7194
Dr Stephen Graham

Stephen studied at University College Dublin (BMus) and King’s College London (MMus) before coming to Goldsmiths in 2008 to do a PhD on ‘underground’ music. After completing the PhD in 2012, Stephen expanded and developed the research into a book; Sounds of the Underground was published by University of Michigan Press in May 2016.

In terms of other writing, Stephen completed a chapter on Popular Modernism for The Routledge Research Companion to Modernism in Music (2018), and on zine and blog writing on fringe music for Writing on Contemporary Musicians (Routledge, 2020). His article on late style and popular music appears in the JRMA in 2020, and a piece on fringe music writing in the 1970s was published in Twentieth Century Music in 2019. An article on X Factor and reality television appeared in the January 2017 issue of Popular Music, and a piece on form in Justin Timberlake was published in American Music in 2014.

Ongoing projects include a book on the ‘music’ of noise, a wide-ranging research project on music since 1970 and a collaborative, multi-generic history of twentieth century music for Cambridge University Press.

Stephen has been Acting Head of the School of the Arts and Humanities since January 2021 and was Co-Head of the Music Department from 2018 to 2021.


Popular Music Contexts (Year 1); Music and Identity (Year 2); Research Essay; Fringe and Underground Music (Year 3); MA Dissertation Supervision; Analysing Contemporary Music: From Serialism to Spectral Noise (PG and Year 3)

Current PhD Students

Maria Perevedentseva - 'Something for Your Mind, Your Body, and Your Soul: Timbre in Underground Electronic Dance Music'

David Stockard - practice-based thesis on improvisation

Ben Assiter - 'Sound, space and community in London’s electronic dance music cultures'

Shereen Mouratsing – practice-based work on experimental songwriting


  • ‘High Tides: Changing Currents in Musical Higher Education’, Chaired Roundtable Discussion at Royal Musical Association Conference, September 2020
  • ‘Familiarity Breeds Consent? Distance and Dependence in Fringe Music Writing’, Paper at Music Research Series, Goldsmiths, March 2020
  • ‘From Microphone to the Wire: Cultural Change in Independent Music Publishing in the 1970s and early-1980s’. Invited paper in the Music Colloquia series at University of Nottingham, October 2016.
  • ‘Popular Modernisms and Fringe Avant-Gardes’. Invited paper in the Musicology Forum at University College Dublin, March 2016.
  • ‘High, Fringe and Mass Avant-Gardes: On Critique in 21st Century Music’. Presented at Retheorising the Avant-garde Today: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, a symposium held at King’s College, Cambridge, 12-13 December 2015.
  • ‘Institutional and non-institutional contemporary music: Crumbs from the table(s)?,’ Classical music, critical challenges, 17th October 2014, King’s College London.
  • ‘Retromania in the No-Audience Underground,’ Musical Materialities in the Digital Age, University of Sussex, 27-28 June 2014.
  • ‘Notes from Underground: Political and aesthetic issues with underground music’. Invited paper in the research series at City University, London, March 2013.
  • ‘Speculative Realism and Compositions 1960’, La Monte Young’s Compositions 1960, University of Huddersfield, May, 2010. 
  • ‘Experimental, and Popular, Music’, Society of Musicology in Ireland Postgraduate Conference, Maynooth University, January 2009.

Research Interests

Twentieth and twenty-first century music, including underground, experimental, popular, and art musics; music and cultural theory/philosophy; music and politics; modernism, postmodernism and beyond postmodernisms; analysis; music journalism.




Rogers, Holly ; Graham, Stephen ; Perchard, Tom and Rutherford-Johnson, Tim. 2022. Studying Twentieth Century Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Graham, Stephen . 2016. Sounds of the Underground: A Cultural, Political and Aesthetic Mapping of Underground and Fringe Music. Michigan: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 9780472119752

Book Section

Graham, Stephen . 2018. Modernism for and of the Masses? On Popular Modernisms. In: Björn Heile and Charles Wilson, eds. The Routledge Research Companion to Modernism in Music. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 239-257. ISBN 9781472470409

Graham, Stephen . 2015. Historical Documents of the Irish Avant-Garde. In: Jennifer Walshe, ed. Historical Documents of the Irish Avant-Garde. Aisteach Foundation.

Graham, Stephen . 2013. The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland. In: Harry White and Barra Boydell, eds. The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland. University College Dublin Press. ISBN 9781906359782


Graham, Stephen . 2021. Summer’s Gone: Late Style and Popular Music. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 146(2), pp. 315-333. ISSN 0269-0403

Graham, Stephen . 2019. From Microphone to the Wire: Cultural change in 1970s and 1980s music writing. Twentieth-Century Music, 16(3), pp. 531-555. ISSN 1478-5722

Graham, Stephen . 2017. The X Factor and Reality Television: Beyond Good and Evil. Popular Music, 36(1), pp. 6-20. ISSN 0261-1430

Graham, Stephen . 2015. Boogie Nights: Joe Cutler, Danserye: Michael Wolters, Kathrine and Peter Play the Recorder: Michael Wolters (CD Review). Tempo, 69(272), pp. 80-83. ISSN 0040-2982

Graham, Stephen . 2015. Frank Zappa and the And. Edited by Paul Carr (Book Review). Popular Music, 34(1), pp. 147-150. ISSN 0261-1430

Graham, Stephen . 2014. Justin Timberlake’s Two-Part Complementary Forms: Groove, Extension, and Maturity in Twenty-First-Century Popular Music. American Music, 32(4), pp. 448-474. ISSN 0734-4392

Graham, Stephen . 2014. Untroubled Pathways (Record Review). Tempo, 68(267),

Graham, Stephen . 2013. 'Popular Music and Television in Britain' Ian Inglis (ed.). (Book Review). Music, Sound, and the Moving Image, 7(1), pp. 83-88. ISSN 1753-0768

Graham, Stephen . 2011. Beyond the Postmodern: Music and Theory at the Start of History. The Musicology Review(7),

Graham, Stephen . 2011. David Toop, Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship of the Listener (2010) (Book Review). Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland(6), pp. 93-100.

Graham, Stephen . 2011. Ronald Schleifer, Modernism and Popular Music (Cambridge: 2011) (Book Review). Popular Music, 32(3),

Graham, Stephen . 2010. (Un)Popular Avant-Gardes: Underground Popular Music and the Avant-Garde. Perspectives of New Music, 48(2), pp. 5-20. ISSN 0031-6016

Graham, Stephen . 2009. August Halm, A Critical and Creative Life in Music (University of Rochester Press, 2009) (Book Review). The Musicology Review(6),


Graham, Stephen . 2012. Notes from the underground: a cultural, political, and aesthetic mapping of underground music. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London