Professor Barley Norton is an ethnomusicologist and filmmaker with research interests in the music and culture of Southeast Asia. He is the director of Goldsmiths’ Asian Music Unit (AsMU), the convenor of the MA in Music (Ethnomusicology), and the leader of the Goldsmiths Gamelan Group. He has conducted extensive field research in Vietnam and his publications include a monograph on ritual music and spirit possession titled Songs for the Spirits: Music and Mediums in Modern Vietnam (University of Illinois Press, 2009).
As part of a Getty-funded research project on contemporary experimental performance culture in Vietnam, he made the critically acclaimed film Hanoi Eclipse: The Music of Dai Lam Linh (Documentary Educational Resources, 56 minutes, 2010). He is also co-editor of two books: Music and Protest in 1968 (Cambridge University Press, 2013), which examines how music was integral to the profound cultural and political change that swept the globe around 1968; and Music as Heritage: Historical and Ethnographic Perspectives (Routledge, 2018). Barley is a member of the REF 2021 Sub-panel 33: Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies (2018-21) and he served as Chair of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology from 2015 to 2018.
Areas of supervision
- Christopher Hanby: Applied Ethnomusicology and the Revitalisation of the Endangered Language of Jèrriais: A study of music, language ideology, and cultural identity in Jersey (Research funded by a CHASE studentship]
- Lin Lin: Creative Realization in the Compositional Process: Exploring Hulusi Embellishing Techniques in Contemporary Flute Music
- Clare Salaman: Reimagining an exotic instrument of the past in a contemporary context: The trumpet marine restored (Research funded by a CHASE Studentship)
- Jasmine Hornabrook: Transnational networks, musical learning and performance in London's Tamil diaspora (Research funded by an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award)
Grants & awards
Barley Norton’s research has been funded by grants and scholarships from the Getty Foundation, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, and ASEASUK (Association for Southeast Asian Studies in the UK). In recent years, he has worked on applied international projects concerning the revival of Vietnamese music and audiovisual archiving.
This has included consultancy work on music heritage projects with the British Council, UNESCO, the Vietnam Musicology Institute, and the Vietnamese Institute for Culture and Art Studies. His co-edited volume Music and Protest in 1968 won the American Musicology Society’s 2014 Ruth A. Solie Award. His film “Hanoi Eclipse: The Music of Dai Lam Linh” was awarded a "Commendation - Intangible Culture Film Prize" at the Royal Anthropological Institute’s 12th International Festival of Ethnographic Film.
Journalism, radio and television
- Writer for the world music magazine Songlines, including feature articles and CD reviews
- Consultant, interviewee and interviewer for several BBC radio programmes including the two-part radio documentary “Vietnam’s Rock ’n’ Roll War”
- Featured guest on several national Vietnamese Television (VTV) shows and documentaries, including a televised debate organised by the British Council on the theme of “Urban Beats” (“Dap Nhip Do Thi”) and the documentary “A Westerner Loves Our Music” (“Nguoi Tay Me Nhac Ta”)
Dr Barley Norton’s research interests include ethnomusicological filmmaking and theory, the cultural politics of musical practice, discourse on cultural heritage and music revival, music and religious experience, music and emotion, music and gender theory, music censorship, improvisation, performance and modal theory. His academic research is informed by practice. During field research in Vietnam he learnt to play two Vietnamese lutes: the dan day and dan nguyet. He also plays Sundanese music from Indonesia on the kacapi zither and the gamelan degung orchestra.
Publications and research outputs
Norton, Barley. 2009. Songs for the Spirits: Music and Mediums in Modern Vietnam. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 9780252033995
Norton, Barley and Matsumoto, Naomi, eds. 2018. Music as Heritage: Historical and Ethnographic Perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138228047
Norton, Barley and Matsumoto, Naomi. 2019. Introduction: Historical and Ethnographic Perspectives on Music as Heritage. In: Barley Norton and Naomi Matsumoto, eds. Music as Heritage: Historical and Ethnographic Perspectives. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 1-17. ISBN 9781138228047
Norton, Barley. 2018. Filming Music as Heritage: The Cultural Politics of Audiovisual Representation. In: Barley Norton and Naomi Matsumoto, eds. Music as Heritage: Ethnographic and Historical Perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 79-101. ISBN 9781138228047
Norton, Barley. 2018. Orchestrating the Nation: Court Orchestras, Nationalism and Agency in Vietnam. In: Tina K. Ramnarine, ed. Global Perspectives on Orchestras: Collective Creativity and Social Agency. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 301-323. ISBN 9780199352227
Norton, Barley. 2014. Music Revival, Ca Trù Ontologies, and Intangible Cultural Heritage in Vietnam. In: Caroline Bithell and Juniper Hill, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Music Revival. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 160-181. ISBN 9780199765034
Norton, Barley. 2013. Engendering Emotion and the Environment in Vietnamese Music and Ritual. In: Fiona Magowan and Louise Wrazen, eds. Performing Gender, Place and Emotion in Music: Global Perspectives. Rochester, New York: Rochester University Press, pp. 29-59. ISBN 9781580464642
Norton, Barley. 2013. Vietnamese Popular Song in ‘1968’: War, Protest and Sentimentalism. In: Beate Kutschke and Barley Norton, eds. Music and Protest in 1968. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 97-118. ISBN 9781107007321
Norton, Barley. 2010. “Nhân Học Âm Nhạc Việt?” (“The Anthropology of Vietnamese Music?”). In: Hy Van Luong, ed. Hiện Đậi và Động Thái của Truyền Thống Ở Việt Nam: Những Cách Tiếp Cận Nhân Học (Modernities and the Dynamics of Tradition in Vietnam: Anthropological Approaches). 2 Ho Chi Minh City: National University of Ho Chi Minh Press, pp. 623-636.
Norton, Barley. 2008. Ca Tru Restoration: Issues and Challenges. In: . Vietnamese Institute for Musicology, ed. Ca Tru Singing of the Viet People. Hanoi: Vietnamese Institute for Musicology, pp. 187-192. ISBN No ISBN
Norton, Barley. 2006. Effeminate’ Men and ‘Hot-Tempered’ Women: The Performance of Music and Gender in Vietnamese Mediumship. In: Karen Fjelstad and Hien Thi Nguyen, eds. Possessed by the Spirits: Mediumship in Contemporary Vietnamese Communities. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, pp. 55-75. ISBN 0877271410
Norton, Barley. 2004. Lên đồng Việt Nam: Cấu tạo âm nhạc của thần thánh (Vietnamese mediumship rituals: the musical construction of the spirits). In: Đức Thịnh Ngô, ed. Đạo Mẫu và các hình thức Shaman trong các tộc người ở Việt Nam và châu Á (The Mother Religion and Forms of Shamanism among Ethnic Groups in Vietnam and Asia). Hanoi: Social Science Publishing House, pp. 310-341.
Norton, Barley. 2020. Mê Thảo Thời Vang Bóng (The Glorious Time in Mê Thảo Hamlet). 2002. Directed by Việt Linh, 108 minutes. Vietnam: Hãng Phim Giải Phóng (Liberation Film Company). [Film Review]. Yearbook for Traditional Music, 52, pp. 241-245. ISSN 0740-1558
Norton, Barley. 2020. Review of the CD 'Hoạ Âm Xưa' by Saigon Soul Revival, Saigon Supersound. Songlines: The World Music Magazine, 156, p. 62.
Norton, Barley. 2019. Review of the CD 'Streams' by Nguyên Lê Quartet, ACT. Songlines: The World Music Magazine(147), p. 65. ISSN 2059-6782
Norton, Barley. 2019. Review of the CD 'The Art of the Vietnamese Zither: Đàn Tranh' by Tri Nguyen, ARC Music. Songlines: The World Music Magazine(147), p. 60. ISSN 1464-8113
Norton, Barley. 2019. Review of the CD 'Saigon Supersound, 1964-75 Volume 2', INFRACom! Songlines: The World Music Magazine, 144, p. 68.
Norton, Barley. 2018. Review of the CD 'Lao Dreaming' by Wonderfeel, Skeletone. Songlines: The World Music Magazine, 136, p. 65.
Norton, Barley. 2017. Review of the CD 'Saigon Supersound, 1965-75 Volume 1', INFRACom! Songlines: The World Music Magazine, 131, p. 59.
Norton, Barley. 2017. Review of the CDs 'Dengue Fever' by Dengue Fever and 'Escape from Dragon House' by Dengue Fever. TUK TUK Records. Songlines: The World Music Magazine, 129, p. 63.
Norton, Barley. 2016. Review of the CD 'Khmer Rouge Survivors: They Will Kill You, If You Cry', Glitterbeat Records. Songlines: The World Music Magazine(121), p. 61.
Norton, Barley. 2016. Review of "Sounding Out Heritage: Cultural Politics and the Social Practice of Quan Ho Folk Song in Northern Vietnam" by Lauren Meeker (University of Hawaii Press, 2013). Journal of Vietnamese Studies, 11(2), pp. 122-124. ISSN 1559-372X
Norton, Barley. 2016. 'Music, Ethnicity and Heritage: A Comparison of Then and Lên đồng Rituals in Vietnam (Âm nhạc, Tộc người và Di Sản: So sánh giữa nghi lễ Then và Lên đồng của Việt Nam)'. Thông Báo Khoa Học Viện Âm Nhạc (Bulletin of Vietnamese Institute for Musicology),
Norton, Barley. 2015. Review of the CD 'Radio Vietnam', compiled by Mark Gergis. Sublime Frequencies. Songlines: The World Music Magazine, 109, p. 71.
Norton, Barley. 2014. Review of the CD 'The Don Cai Tai Tu: Chamber Music of the Mekong Delta', Inedit/Maison des Cultures du Monde. Songlines: The World Music Magazine(103), p. 75.
Norton, Barley. 2014. CD Review of Nostalgique Vietnam: Chansons de charme, poèmes et prières 1937-1954, Buda Musique. Songlines: The World Music Magazine(101), p. 75.
Norton, Barley. 2014. Engendering Emotion and the Environment in Vietnamese Mediumship. Vietnam Social Sciences Review, 164(6), pp. 1-16.
Norton, Barley. 2014. Review of the film "This is a Music! Reclaiming an Untouchable Drum" (2010, Directed by Zoe Sherinian, DVD, 74 minutes). Yearbook for Traditional Music, 46, pp. 249-250. ISSN 0740-1558
Norton, Barley. 2012. Review of the CD 'Saigon Rock and Soul: Vietnamese Classic Tracks 1968-1974'. SF060. Songlines: The World Music Magazine, 85, p. 81.
Norton, Barley. 2012. Review of the CD 'Song Hanh' by Onno Krijn and Ngo Hong Quang. Noon Records. Songlines: The World Music Magazine., 84, p. 94.
Norton, Barley. 2012. Review of the CD 'Tree of Dreams' by Huong Thanh. Buda Musique. Songlines: The World Music Magazine., 83, p. 88.
Norton, Barley. 2011. Review of the CD "Burma: Classical Theatre Music". VDE-Gallo. Songlines: The World Music Magazine, 74, p. 78.
Norton, Barley. 2010. Review of Music, National Identity and the Politics of Location: Between the Global and the Local, edited by Ian Biddle and Vanessa Knights. Ethnomusicology Forum, 19(2), pp. 268-269.
Norton, Barley. 2009. Review of the CD 'Saiyuki' by Nguyen Le, ACT 9483-2. Songlines: The World Music Magazine, 64, p. 97.
Norton, Barley. 2008. Book review of P’ungmul: South Korean Drumming and Dance by Nathan Hesselink, University of Chicago Press. World of Music, 50(1), pp. 120-121.
Norton, Barley. 2008. Review of the CD "Fragile Beauty" by Huong Thanh and Nguyen Le. ACT 94512. Songlines: The World Music Magazine., 50, p. 101.
Norton, Barley. 2007. CD Review: The Rough Guide to the Music of Vietnam. Songlines: The World Music Magazine, 46, p. 67.
Norton, Barley. 2007. CD Review: Vietnam: Vocal music from the Northern Plains. Songlines: The World Music Magazine, 41, p. 75.
Norton, Barley. 2007. A Review Essay on Recordings of Music from Vietnam. World of Music, 49(1), pp. 215-222.
Norton, Barley. 2005. Singing the Past: Vietnamese Ca Tru, Memory and Mode. Asian Music, 36(2), pp. 27-56.
Norton, Barley. 2005. Review of 6 CD Box Set , “Vietnam – Mother Mountain and Father Sea, an Introduction to the Traditional Music of Vietnam”. White Cliffs Media WCM 9991. Ethnomusicology Forum, 14(1), pp. 121-123.
Norton, Barley. 2002. The Moon Remembers Uncle Ho: The Politics of Music and Mediumship in Northern Vietnam. British Journal of Ethnomusicology, 11(1), pp. 71-100. ISSN 1741-1912
Norton, Barley. 2000. Vietnamese Mediumship Rituals: The Musical Construction of the Spirits. The World of Music, 42(2), pp. 75-97.