Prof Isabella van Elferen

Position: Professor Of Music & School Director Of Research
School: Perf and Screen Studies
Extension: 65612
Location: Room Pr Ch235, Kingston Hill


Isabella van Elferen is Professor of Music, Director of the Visconti Studio, and Director of Research of the School of Performing and Screen Studies. She has published extensively on film and TV music, video game music, music philosophy, Gothic theory and subcultures, and baroque sacred music.

Her books are Gothic Music: The Sounds of the Uncanny (2012), Mystical Love in the German Baroque: Theology – Poetry – Music (2009), the editor of Nostalgia or Perversion? Gothic Rewriting from the Eighteenth Century until the Present Day (2007), and, with Jeffrey Weinstock, Goth Music: From Sound to Subculture (2015).
Isabella’s Sounds of the Uncanny won the Alan Lloyd Smith prize for best book in Gothic Criticism 2011-2013. She is currently working on a monograph on timbre.

Isabella is First Vice-President of the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts. She is editor for The Soundtrack, member of the advisory board of Horror Studies and Aeternum, and was guest editor for Journal for the Fantastic in the Arts (2013), Horror Studies (2016) and Contemporary Music Review (2016). She was a member of the AHRC funded network Music-based Games, Creativity and Music Education and member of the Advisory Panel of the EC-funded project Europeana Sound led by the British Library.

Professional experience (post-1990)

2013 Associate Professor of Music and New Media, Utrecht University (NL)
2005-2012 Assistant Professor of Music and New Media, Utrecht University (NL)
2003-2005 Assistant Professor of Music and Cultural Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen (NL)

Research supervision

I welcome PhD proposals on Music Philosophy, Film/TV/Game Music, Popular Music, Musical Fandom, Baroque Music, Timbre, and Silence.

I am currently supervising 5 PhD students:
Claire Bannister, Towards a Psychedelic Topography of Goth Music
Adam Hope, In Pursuit of A New Musical Metaphysics: Revelation of the Absolute Through Musical Speculative Realism
Sven Raeymaekers, Silence in Film: History and Analysis
George Reid, Chiptune Subculture: Chosen Fictions and Moving Beyond "Static" Nostalgia
Meredith White, How does a musician develop a new musical ‘native tongue’? An exploration of the evolution of musical identity through the triptych of jazz performance, composition and pedagogy

I second supervise 2 PhD students:
Philip Chambon, The Collaborative Composer: The Role of Intuition and Play in the Collaborative Creative Process
Steve Gamble, Empowerment in post-millennial rap and metal

Research areas

Film and Television

International connections

Advisory Panel of EC-funded project Europeana Sound
AHRC-funded network Music-based Games, Creativity and Music Education
Dark Play: Difficult Content in Playful Environments
Centre for the Research of Games and Play (GAP), Utrecht
International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA)
International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM)
International Gothic Association (IGA)

Professional activity

2016 Elected First Vice-President of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts
2014-2017 Invited member Advisory Panel of EC-funded project Europeana Sound (€6.1m, 35 participating countries, led by British Library)
2014 Invited member Network of Proposers, COST Action Proposal Game Music Research (EU research grant bid, 7 European countries)
2013-15 Invited member AHRC-funded network Music-based Games, Creativity and Music Education, University of Kent
2013- Member computer game research group Dark Play: Difficult Content in Playful Environments (Copenhagen, DK/Tampere, FI/Utrecht, NL).
2012-2016 Division Head “Visual and Performance Arts and Audiences” of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (annual conference, ca. 500 delegates)
2011-13 Project History of Game Music with Music Institute Multimedia Amsterdam (game composers, designers, students and researchers).
2011- Member Centre for the Research of Games and Play (GAP), Utrecht
2008- Member of research network Music and the Moving Image (MaMI, New York University Steinhardt)
2007-10 Invited member AHRC-funded research group Global Gothic, Stirling University

Research outputs

Number of items: 52.


van Elferen, Isabella (2016) Dark timbre : the aesthetics of tone colour in Goth music. Popular Music, ISSN (print) 0261-1430 (In Press)

van Elferen, Isabella and Raeymaekers, Sven (2015) Silent dark : the orders of silence. Journal for Cultural Research, 19(3), pp. 262-273. ISSN (print) 1479-7585

van Elferen, Isabella (2013) Fantastische musik: monumentale soundtracks, magische instrumente, musikalische liminalität [Fantasy music: epic soundtracks, magical instruments, musical metaphysics]. Zeitschrift für Fantastikforschung [Journal of Research in the Fantastic], 6, pp. 1-24. ISSN (print) 2192-0885

van Elferen, Isabella (2013) Fantasy music: epic soundtracks, magical instruments, musical metaphysics. Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, 24(2), pp. 4-24. ISSN (print) 0897-0521

van Elferen, Isabella (2012) The Gothic Bach. Understanding Bach, 7, pp. 9-20. ISSN (online) 1750-3078

van Elferen, Isabella (2011) East German Goth and the spectres of Marx. Popular Music, 30(1), pp. 89-103. ISSN (print) 0261-1430

van Elferen, Isabella (2011) ¡Un forastero! Issues of virtuality and diegesis in videogame music. Music and The Moving Image, 4(2), pp. 30-39. ISSN (print) 2167-8464

van Elferen, Isabella (2010) Book review of: 'Limits of horror: technology, bodies, gothic' by Fred Botting. Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, 21(1), pp. 132-135. ISSN (print) 0897-0521

van Elferen, Isabella (2010) Music of other spheres: diagonal time and metaphysics in 'Lost'. Science Fiction Film and Television, 3(2), pp. 253-270. ISSN (print) 1754-3770

de Vries, Imar and Van Elferen, Isabella (2010) The musical 'Madeleine': communication, performance and identity in musical ringtones. Popular Music and Society, 33(1), pp. 61-74. ISSN (print) 0300-7766

van Elferen, Isabella (2009) Dances with spectres: theorising the cybergothic. Gothic Studies, 11(1), pp. 99-112. ISSN (print) 1362-7937

van Elferen, Isabella (2009) The hungry soul: communion mystics and physiology in J. S. Bach's 'St. Matthew Passion'. Bach: Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute, 40(1), pp. 35-57. ISSN (print) 0005-3600

van Elferen, Isabella (2007) ‘Ihr Augen weint!’: intersubjective tears in the sentimental concert hall. Understanding Bach, 2, pp. 77-94. ISSN (online) 1750-3078


van Elferen, Isabella and Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew (2016) Goth music: from sound to subculture. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. 162p. (Routledge Studies in Popular Music) ISBN 9780415720045

Van Elferen, Isabella (2012) Gothic music: the sounds of the uncanny. Cardiff, U.K. : University of Wales Press. 229p. (Gothic Literary Studies) ISBN 9780708325124

van Elferen, Isabella (2008) Mystical love in the German baroque: theology, poetry, music. Washington, U.S. : Scarecrow Press. 384p. (Contextual Bach Studies) ISBN 9780810861367

van Elferen, Isabella, ed. (2007) Nostalgia or perversion? Gothic rewriting from the eighteenth century until the present day. Newcastle, U.K. : Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 266p. ISBN 9781847182470

Book Section

van Elferen, Isabella (2017) Goth music and subculture. In: Partridge, Christopher and Moberg, Marcus, (eds.) Bloomsbury handbook of religion and popular music. London, U.K. : Bloomsbury. pp. 316-326. ISBN 9781474237338

van Elferen, Isabella (2016) Analyzing game musical immersion: the ALI model. In: Kamp, Michiel , Summers, Tim and Sweeney, Mark, (eds.) Ludomusicology: approaches to video game music. Sheffield, U.K. : Equinox. pp. 32-52. (Genre, Music and Sound) ISBN 9781781791974

van Elferen, Isabella (2016) Hyper-cacophony : Lovecraft, speculative realism, and sonic materialism. In: Sederholm, Carl H. and Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew, (eds.) The age of Lovecraft. Univ Of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9780816699254 (In Press)

van Elferen, Isabella (2015) Sonic descents : musical dark play in survival and psychological horror. In: Mortensen, Torill Elvira , Linderoth, Jonas and Brown, Ashley ML, (eds.) The dark side of game play : controversial issues in playful environments. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. pp. 226-241. (Routledge Advances in Game Studies, no. 4) ISBN 9781138827288

Blake, Charlie and van Elferen, Isabella (2015) Sonic media and spectral loops. In: Edwards, Justin D., (ed.) Technologies of the Gothic in Literature and Culture: Technogothics. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. pp. 60-70. (Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature) ISBN 9781138797192

van Elferen, Isabella (2014) Morrissey's gothic Ireland. In: Fitzgerald, Mark and O'Flynn, John, (eds.) Music and identity in Ireland and beyond. Farnham, U.K. : Ashgate. pp. 165-177. ISBN 9781472409669

Van Elferen, Isabella (2014) Sonic gothic. In: Byron, Glennis and Townshend, Dale, (eds.) The gothic world. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. pp. 429-440. ISBN 9780415637442

van Elferen, Isabella (2014) Techno-Gothics of the early-twenty-first century. In: Hogle, Jerrold E., (ed.) The Cambridge companion to the modern Gothic. Cambridge, U.K. : Cambridge University Press. pp. 138-156. (Cambridge companions to literature) ISBN 9781107023567

van Elferen, Isabella (2014) Un/mogliche welten. Wolken, quanten und weird [Im/possible worlds: cloud, quantum and weird]. In: Klenke, Pascale , Muth, Laura , Seibel, Klaudia and Simonis, Annette, (eds.) Writing worlds: welten- und raummodelle der fantastik. Heidelberg, Germany : Universitätsverlag Winter. pp. 51-68. (Beiträge zur Literaturtheorie und Wissenspoetik, no. 1) ISBN 9783825363796

van Elferen, Isabella (2013) Globalgoth? Unlocatedness in the musical home. In: Byron, Glennis, (ed.) Globalgoth. Manchester, U.K. : Manchester University Press. pp. 91-104. (International Gothic) ISBN 9780719087950

van Elferen, Isabella (2013) 'Lost' in music: Heidegger, the glissando and otherness. In: Donnelly, K. J. and Hayward, Philip, (eds.) Music in science fiction: tuned to the future. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. pp. 179-196. ISBN 9780415641074

van Elferen, Isabella (2013) Nick Cave and Gothic: ghost stories, fucked organs, spectral liturgy. In: Baker, John, (ed.) The art of Nick Cave: new critical essays. Bristol, U.K. : Intellect. pp. 175-188. ISBN 9781841506272

van Elferen, Isabella (2013) Sonic monstrosity. In: Christensen, Jørgen Riber and Christiansen, Steen Ledet, (eds.) Monstrologi: frygtens manifestationer. Aalborg, Denmark : Aalborg Universitetsforlag. pp. 127-146. (Interdisciplinære kulturstudier, no. 4) ISBN 9788771120363

van Elferen, Isabella (2012) Dream timbre: notes on Lynchian sound design. In: Wierzbecki, James, (ed.) Music, sound and filmmakers: sonic style in cinema. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. pp. 175-188. (Routledge music and screen media series) ISBN 9780415898935

van Elferen, Isabella (2012) Spectral liturgy: transgression, ritual and music in Gothic. In: Edwards, Justin D. and Monnet, Agnieszka Soltysik, (eds.) The gothic in contemporary literature and popular culture: pop goth. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. pp. 135-147. (Routledge interdisciplinary perspectives on literature, no. 8) ISBN 9780415806763

van Elferen, Isabella (2011) Music that sucks and bloody liturgy: Catholicism in vampire movies. In: Hanson, Regina, (ed.) Roman Catholicism in fantastic film: essays on belief, spectacle, ritual and imagery. Jefferson, U.S. : McFarland. pp. 97-113. ISBN 9780786464746

van Elferen, Isabella (2010) Haunted by a melody: ghosts, transgression, and music in 'Twin Peaks'. In: Blanco, Maria del Pilar and Peeren, Esther, (eds.) Popular ghosts: the haunted spaces of everyday culture. New York, U.S. : Continuum. pp. 282-295. ISBN 9781441163691

van Elferen, Isabella (2010) Recht bitter und doch susse: Lutherse theologie en mystieki leifde in de Matthaus-Passion. In: Dirksen, Pieter, (ed.) De geheimen van de Matthäus-Passion: ambacht en mystiek van een meesterwerk. Amsterdam, Netherlands : Balans. pp. 81-91. ISBN 9789050188999

van Elferen, Isabella (2009) 'And machine created music': cybergothic music and the phantom voices of the technological uncanny. In: van den Boomen, Marianne , Lammes, Sybille , Lehmann, Ann-Sophie , Raessens, Joost and Schäfer, Mirko Tobias, (eds.) Digital media: tracing new media in everyday life and technology. Amsterdam, Netherlands : Amsterdam University Press. pp. 121-132. (MediaMatters) ISBN 9789089640680

van Elferen, Isabella (2007) Introduction: nostalgia and perversion in Gothic rewriting. In: van Elferen, Isabella, (ed.) Nostalgia or perversion? Gothic rewriting from the eighteenth century until the present day. Newcastle, U.K. : Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 1-11. ISBN 9781847182470

van Elferen, Isabella (2005) 'Let tears of blood run down your cheeks' : floods of blood, tears and love in German Baroque devotional literature and music. In: Gadebusch Bondio, Mariacarla, (ed.) Blood in history and blood histories. Florence, Italy : Sismel. pp. 193-214. (Micrologus Library, no. 13) ISBN 8884501628

van Elferen, Isabella (2004) 'Sie creutzigen alle Sinne des Leibes!' : Multimediality, consolatio tragoediae and Lutheran pedagogy in the German baroque passion meditation. In: Hoogvliet, Margriet, (ed.) Multi-media compositions from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern period. Leuven, Belgium : Peeters. pp. 121-144. (Groningen Studies in Cultural Change, no. 9) ISBN 9789042915329

Conference or Workshop Item

van Elferen, Isabella (2015) Liminality, Moebius time, and music in David Lynch's Twin Peaks. In: Vom Suchen, Verstehen und Teilen... Wissen in der Fantastik; 24 - 27 Sep 2015, Tubingen, Germany. (Unpublished)

van Elferen, Isabella (2015) The lure of timbre: paradoxical realism between the sublime and the grain. In: Musical Modernity, the Beautiful and the Sublime; 30 - 31 Oct 2015, Aberdeen, U.K.. (Unpublished)

van Elferen, Isabella (2015) The timbre out of space. In: Thirty-Sixth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts : The Scientific Imagination; 18-22 Mar 2015, Orlando, U.S.. (Unpublished)

van Elferen, Isabella (2014) Alien music. In: Science Museum Lates; 30 Apr 2014, London U.K.. (Unpublished)

van Elferen, Isabella (2014) Goth timbre: different spaces in music. In: PopLife: the value of popular music in the twenty first century; 06 - 07 Jun 2014, Northampton, U.K.. (Unpublished)

van Elferen, Isabella (2014) Hyper-cacophony: Lovecraft, speculative realism, and unheard materialism. In: 35th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA); 19-23 Mar 2014, Orlando, U.S.. (Unpublished)

van Elferen, Isabella (2014) Ludomusicology and the new drastic. In: Creativity, Circulation and Copyright: Sonic and Visual Media in the Digital Age; 28-29 Mar 2014, Cambridge, U.K.. (Unpublished)

van Elferen, Isabella (2014) Music, absinth, lace: goth club culture. In: Gothic Study Day; 06 Dec 2014, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Blake, Charlie and van Elferen, Isabella (2014) The return of the Uberthing: sonic spectrality, affective engineering & temporal paradox. In: London Conference in Critical Thought (LCCT) 2014; 27-28 Jun 2014, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)

van Elferen, Isabella (2013) Musical dark descents: sonic immersion in psychological horror games. In: Colloquia Lent Term 2013; Jan - Mar 2013, Cambridge, U.K.. (Unpublished)

van Elferen, Isabella (2012) The ALI model: towards a theory of game musical immersion. In: Ludomusicology: Game Music Research Approaches and Aesthetics; 16 Apr 2012, Oxford, U.K.. (Unpublished)

van Elferen, Isabella (2012) Bloody liturgy: Dracula and music. In: Bram Stoker Centenary Conference; 12-14 Apr 2012, Hull / Whitby, U.K.. (Unpublished)

van Elferen, Isabella (2012) Gothic music: sounds of the uncanny. In: Rethinking Contemporary Gothic: Postgraudate Study Day 2012; 18 May 2012, Lancaster, U.K.. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Fri Jun 23 04:30:27 2017 BST.