The traditional musicological approach is to see music as a written text reproduced in performance. But much music does not exist in the form of a written text, circulating purely in the form of recordings. And even when music does exist as a written text, performers play an essential role in creating the experience that, for most people, is the music. CHARM was established to promote a musicology that better reflects the nature of music as experienced in the twentieth century and beyond.

Recordings are essential evidence for a musicology attuned to performance, but there have long been substantial obstacles to scholarly investigation of them. CHARM's research program was structured round three of these obstacles:

  • the difficulty of accessing early recording. CHARM addressed this through creating a major online discography and a library of ex-copyright recordings
  • the dispersal of knowledge about recordings. CHARM addressed this through organising symposia and other events, papers from which are available on this website
  • a lack of well developed approaches to researching recordings. CHARM addressed this through a series of research projects, ranging from computational analysis to business history.

A fourth obstacle is the increasingly restrictive nature of copyright legislation: CHARM campaigned for the extension of fair dealing to include sound recordings, and against extension of the copyright term on sound recordings.

Click here for a list of CHARM personnel, here for details of how CHARM was structured, here for information on how to use and cite material from this website, here for information regarding copyright on materials within the CHARM website, and here for information on getting in touch.