Eleanor Hedger

Eleanor Hedger

Department of Music
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD Title: Singing in the Face of Death: Soundscapes of Conflict and Punishment in Reformation England
Supervisor: Professor Andrew KirkmanDr Jonathan Willis and Professor Lisa Downing

PhD Musicology


  • BMus Music (University of Birmingham)
  • MA Music (University of Birmingham)


I am a teaching associate for the first year history module 'Reformation, Rebellion, and Revolution: The Making of the Modern World' (2018-19).


My research explores the relationship between sound, conflict, and punishment during the political and religious turbulence of the long English Reformation. Specifically, I explore the ways in which sound functioned during rituals of punishment, such as public executions, and also how sound reflected and heightened aspects of social conflict in spaces such as the early modern prison. I hope to demonstrate that consideration of the sonic experience of such rituals and spaces can serve as a conduit for investigating the complex social, political, and religious tensions that surfaced during this period. In drawing upon the work of Michel Foucault, I offer a critical and theoretical analysis of the ways in which music and sound interacted with, and even altered, networks of power and resistance in an early modern context. 


Conference papers

'Prison Soundscapes during the English Reformation', international Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference, Maynooth University, July 2018 

'Soundscapes of Martyrdom during the English Reformation', annual EMREM postgraduate symposium, University of Birmingham, May 2018

'The Politics of Song: Authority and Subversion at the Gallows', 'Loyalty to the British Monarchy c. 1400-1688', University of Nottingham, January 2018

'Heinrich Isaac's Missa Comme femme desconfortée: A Musical Offering to the Virgin Mary', international Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference, Prague, 2017