Peter Cooke's Website


For sake of completeness this is a somewhat long and formal page.  You will find a three-part bibliography at the end.

Born   August 15 1930, Cardiff, Wales.  Married Diana, in Bristol in 1960 (three sons, Andrew, Nicholas and Stephen).

BA (Hons Music) 1953, MA 1970 (Wales), PhD 1982, (Edinburgh), Associate of the Royal College of Music, London (pianoforte teaching, with Honours), Dip. Ed. (Wales, 1953).


African compositional techniques. I discussed recent work at  the Second International Symposium on the Music of Africa (Princeton University, December 9-10, 2005) in a paper entitled “’Fixing his Channel’: Composing and Performing Accompanied Song in Uganda”.  Fieldwork in Uganda during September 2005 was undertaken with this long standing interest in mind.

I am currently researching and co-editing for publication (with Professor Colm O'Boyle)  a manuscript of Gaelic music - instrumental and vocal melodies -  compiled by Elizabeth Jane Ross in the island of Raasay in 1811.  I am also completing the compilation of material for a third book featuring Scottish traveller Betsy Whyte.

Applied ethnomusicology -  especially multi-media techniques for inter-cultural music education and the creation of teaching packages.  I am currently revising earlier published packages (see the bibliography below).

Musical interests -  I am Musical Director of the Birmingham Branch of the UK Society of Recorder players having played recorders since completing undergraduate music studies. I play in the Holborne Recorder Consort and am also studying Viols. I also play and teach some African xylophone, drumming and fluting styles. (My master’s dissertation on the Ganda ndere (flute) and the music of the royal flute band of the Kabaka of Uganda was, I believe, the first ethnomusicological research thesis submitted to the University of Wales).

CURRENT AND PAST POSITIONS in tertiary education (in reverse chronological order).

June 2006 - present - Honorary Fellow in the Institute of Advanced research in Arts and Social Sciences in the University of Birmingham.

1998 - present - Part-time Lecturer in Ethnomusicology and African Music at the University of Birmingham.

1998- present - Hon Research Fellow at School of Oriental and African Studies, London where I give some occasional post-graduate supervision and undergraduate teaching.

2002-2003 - Consultant for a World Bank-funded project at the Gambia National Museum, Research and Documentation Centre - refurbishing its archive and retraining its staff.

1998-2004 - Part-time lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton.

1994-2002 - Honorary Fellow, School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh.

April - September 1991 - Leverhulme Fellow, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Researching multimedia techniques for music education.

2000 - Part-time lecturer (ethnomusicology) at the University of Sheffield, department of music.

2002 - Consultant to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and drama, Glasgow. A six-month pilot project for a possible on-line sound archive.

1994 - July 1995 - Professional Assistant - for the National Museums of Scotland, dubbing and archiving the Jean Jenkins Collection of field tapes and documents.

1991 (first semester) - Research Professor at Indian University Archives of Traditional Music organising and archiving the African field recordings in the Laura Boulton Collection.

1989 - 1994 - University Fellow at Edinburgh University School of Scottish Studies. Following early retirement in September 1989  and requiring that the Autumn term of each year be spent in research and teaching.

1989 - 1995 - Part-time lecturer in Practical Ethnomusicology and Scottish Music, at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow.

1969 - 1989 - Lecturer, later Senior Lecturer and head of Ethnomusicology Programme, University of Edinburgh, School of Scottish Studies. This involved extensive fieldwork throughout Scotland as well as teaching all aspects of musical folklore. I also initiated the teaching of ethnomusicology at the Faculty of Music and supervised numerous post-graduates in successful Master and Doctoral work in both departments.

1964-68 - Teaching in Uganda   firstly as head of music at Makerere College School then as director of music at the  the newly established National Teacher’s College, Kyambogo.

1961-4 - Lecturer in Music Education, Redland College of Education, Bristol.

External Examiner - BA (Scottish Music) candidates at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Also postgraduate ethnomusicology degree candidates at Univ. College, Cork; Queen's Univ. of Belfast; Univ. of Cambridge; Univ. of Leeds; Aberdeen University; Univ. of London (Goldsmith's College and the School of Oriental and African Studies); Limerick University; University of Otago, New Zealand.


Senate Member - University of Edinburgh, 1987-89.

Member - Executive Board of the International Council for Traditional Music, 1979-86.

Chairman - UK Chapter of the International Council for Traditional Music, 1973-80 and 1988-90. (Now known as the British Forum for Ethnomusicology.

Member -  Advisory Committee of the National Sound Archives, British Library 1997-2003.

Member - Executive Committee of the Scottish Council for Dance, 1980-87.

Member - Working Party on Arts Education for a Multi-Cultural Society (Arts Council of Great Britain), 1988-89.

Member -  Editorial Board for Folk Music Journal, 1994 - present.

Board Member - Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust 1993-1996.


1972-92, Guest conductor,  Edinburgh Studio Orchestra.

1971-85, Director,  Edinburgh University Recorder Ensemble.

1965-68,  Guest conductor, Kericho  Musical Ensemble (Nairobi Cathedral, Kenya) (Bach - St Matthew Passion, Mozart - Requiem,  Dag Wiren - String Serenade and other works).

1964-68,  Conductor Kampala Singers (Acis And Galatea,  Pergolesi -  Stabat Mater, Bach -  Christmas Oratorio, Vaughan Williams  - A Song of Thanksgiving,  Handel  - Oboe concerti and others, all with orchestra.

1957-62,  Chorus master and assistant musical director of the Bristol Opera Company.  Conducted: The Travelling Companion (Stanford),  Cavalliera Rusticana, Il Pagliacci, The Lowland Sea (Weil) , The Threepenny Opera and others.

1955-64,   Conductor in Bristol of numerous amateur and semi-professional orchestral and choral organisations including Bristol Youth Orchestra (wind section), Bristol Junior Youth Orchestra, Bristol Youth Recorder Group.

SELECTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY  (more important books, articles, LPs, cassettes and CDs in chronological order grouped under -  General subjects, Africa  and Scotland).

1. General subjects.

"Music learning in Traditional Societies", Chapter in Folk Music in School. (Ed.: R. Leach and R. Palmer), Cambridge, 1978, p 29-34.

Editor-in-chief: all the non-western and European 'folk' music articles in The New Grove Dictionary of Music. London, 1980. (I also authored or joint-authored over 40 articles for the same work).

Editor: Studies in Traditional Music and Dance, Proceedings of the 1980 Conference of the UK Chapter of the International Folk Music Council. Edinburgh, 1981.

Contributor of over 300 brief entries on African and European instruments in The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. (MacMillan, 1985).

Editor: A resource list of multi-cultural music education materials. (UK chapter of the International Council for Traditional Music). (Electronic publication) 1991

"Exploring musical pitch systems", Bulletin of the UK Chapter of the International Council for Traditional Music, No. 27 Autumn 1990. pp 6-24.

"The violin - instrument of four continents". Chapter for The Cambridge Companion to the Violin, ed.: R. Stowell, Cambridge 1993 , pp 234-248.

Editor: Historic Musical Instruments in the Edinburgh University Collection,

Vol 2, pt A Fascicle i, Wind Instruments of Regional Cultures Worldwide. 1994

Vol 2, pt A Fascicle ii, Stringed instruments of Regional Cultures Worldwide, 1995

Vol 2 , pt A Fascicle iii, Percussion instruments of Regional Cultures Worldwide, 1998

"Cultural Greyout or Survival of the Species? - "the threat"  in  Blas - the Local Accent in Irish Traditional Music. ed.: T. Smith and M. O'Suilleabhain. Limerick, 1997, pp. 9-24.

"Response to 'Echoes of Our Forgotten Ancestors'", World of Music, 48(2), 2006, pp 93-100

2. Africa.

24 Songs of Uganda, (anthology of traditional songs). Kampala, 1966.

“Tuning in to African Music”, Overseas Challenge [Bulletin of the National Council for the Supply and Training of Teachers Overseas], xxiii, Autumn 1972, p. 5-7.

The Ganda Ndere: An examination of the notched flute of the Ganda people of Uganda. MA research diss., University of Wales, Cardiff, 1970 (unpublished).

"Ganda xylophone music - another approach", Journal of African Music, iv/4, 1970, p 62-75.

"`Ludaya', A Transverse Flute from Eastern Uganda", Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council, 3, 1971, p 79-90.

"Rwenzururu Protest Songs", Africa, 52/1, 1982, p 37-60 (with M. Doornbos).

"Ssematimba ne Kikwabanga : The music and poetry of a Ganda historical song", World of Music, xxix/2, 1987, p 49-68 (with F. Katamba).

Teach yourself the Budongo, (12-page booklet and cassette), with C. Kizza, (produced for use both in Uganda and in multi-cultural education in UK, USA etc.), 1988, Edinburgh.

Musilit  Concert  1987 -  Village  music  from  Nkore,  western  Uganda.  (cassette or CD format) Compiled from fieldwork in Uganda with the Musilit organisation at Kitabi parish, Busheenyi in 1987. includes a wide selection of tradiitonal kinyankore music and dances and church music compositions by the founder Benedicto Mubangizi. Produced principally but not exclusively for sale in Uganda in aid of the Musilit organisation. 1988.

Play Amadinda:   Xylophone  music  from  Uganda   (Instructional cassette or CD and book), produced in collaboration with A. Ssempeke, (for use both in East Africa and in multi-cultural education in UK, USA etc.) (Edinburgh 1990 - Rev. 2006), 29pp. 31 audio examples.

"Exploring musical pitch systems", Bulletin of the UK Chapter of the International Council for Traditional Music, No. 27 Autumn 1990. pp 6-24.

"On the trail of the Music Hunter", Resound, Vol X/3, Quarterly journal of the Archives of Traditional Music, Bloomington. 1991. p 1-4 [about Laura Boulton's research in SW Africa].

"Report on Pitch perception Experiments carried out in Buganda and Busoga (Uganda)", African Music, vii/2, 1992, p 119-1225.

Exploring African Rhythm - Hypercard stack for use with Macintosh computer and MIDI synthesizer, 1992. Updated for General Midi modules, 1995. (available as shareware).

"Call and Response - A Reply to Ulrich Wegner", Ethnomusicology, 38/3, 1994, p. 475-479 [On subject of inherent patterns in Ganda xylophone music].

"Orchestral Melo-rhythm in Southern Uganda" , For Gerhard Kubik: Festschrift on the occasion of his 60th birthday Frankfurt, 1995, pp 147-160.

"Music in a Ugandan Court", Early Music, XXIV/3 August 1996 , 439-453.

"Regards Croisés sur la vie Musicale en Ouganda : 'Bwemba nnyimba saagala anyumya' - Activité et diversité dans l'Ouganda contemporain". (Joint article with Sam Kasule) Cahiers de Musiques traditionelles, 9, (Geneva 1996), 147-166.

Uganda: Village ensembles of Busoga CD VDE CD 925, (Archives Internationales de Musique Populaire, Geneva and Disques VDE-GALLO Lausanne) (recordings, documentation, song texts and translations). Geneva 1997. (Full texts and translations can be found on this web-site).

"The music of East Africa: an Overview". Chapter in The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, vol 1. Africa . ed: R. Stone, New York and London, 1997.

"Was Ssempeke just being kind? Listening to instrumental music in Africa south of the Sahara.", for World of Music, 1(1999). 73-83.

"The Musical Scene in Uganda - views from without and within". Joint article with Sam Kasule, in African Music , 7/4, (1999), 6-21.

"Fieldwork in Lango, Northern Uganda Feb-March 1997", in African Music, 7/4, (1999), 66-72.

"Joseph Kygambiddwa", "Benedicto Muybangizi", "Pitch II", "Polyphony II & IV", "Bow III", "Uganda": Revisions to - "Burns, Robert", "Bridge", "Heterophony", "Lilt', "Neck", "Ngoma", "Notched flute", "Pibroch", "Pygmy Music", "Soundhole", "Water drum", "Slit-drum". for The New Grove Dictionary 7th edn., London, 2000.

"Musical competitions in Northern Uganda" in Mashindano! Competitive Music performance in East Africa, ed. F. Gunderson and Greg. Barz (Dar es Salaam, 2000).

The King's Musicians - Royalist Music of Buganda - Uganda. CD with booklet - Topic TSCD925 (produced in association with the British Library National Sound archive International Music Collection), 2003.

"Appeasing the Spirits: Music, Possession, Divination and Healing in Busoga, Eastern Uganda" in Indigenous Religious Musics, ed. K. Ralls-MacLeod and G. Harvey (Aldershot, 2000) p. 102-121.

3. Scotland.

Series Editor - Scottish Tradition Nos. 1-9 (a series of well-documented 33rpm discs with booklets) (Later re-edited for re-issue in CD format on the Greentrax label) and Scottish Tradition Cassette Series Nos. 1-6. Tangent Records, London, 1974-89 (also revised for re-issue by Greentrax, 1992-).

“Problems of Notating Pibroch: A Study of ‘Maol Donn’”, Scottish Studies, 16/I, 1972, p 41-59.

"The Pibroch Repertory: Some Research problems", Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, cii, 1975-6 p 93-102.

"Changing Styles in Pibroch Playing" (pts 1 & 2), The International Piper, vol i/2 1978 p. 12-14 and i/3, 1978, p 11-12.

"The Fiddle in Shetland Society", Scottish Studies, xxii, 1978, p 69-71.

"Experiments in Fieldback in Shetland", Studies in Traditional Music and Dance, Proceedings of the 1980 conference of the United Kingdom National Committee of the International Folk Music council (ed. P Cooke), 1981 p 47-51.

"Elizabeth Ross and the piping of John MacKay of Raasay" Proceedings of the Piobaireachd Society Conference pt. 1, 1985 item 3 and pt. 2, 1986 . Published by the College of Piping, Glasgow.

"The fiddle tradition" in A Companion to Scottish Culture, (ed.:  D. Daiches) 1981 p 123-124. Rev. in The New Companion to Scottish Culture, (Polygon, Edinburgh, 1993).

Editor - The Yellow on the Broom: the early days of a traveller woman, by Betsy Whyte. (Chambers, 1979, hb), Futura Books 1983, pb), Birlinn Ltd. 2001-5, pb).

"The Bride's Reel in Cullivoe, Shetland." Traditional Dance, iii, 1985, 37-43.

The Fiddle Tradition of the Shetland Isles, (book and cassette) Cambridge Studies in Ethnomusicology, Cambridge, 1986. 158pp, 60 music transcriptions and 34 recordings.

"The Pibroch tradition and staff notation", in The Oral and the Literate in Music, ed; Tokumaru Yoshihiko and Yamaguti Osamu, (Academia Music ltd. ) Tokyo, 1986 pp 400-413.

Joint Editor (with Ian Gould) - Red Rowans and Wild Honey by Betsy Whyte. Sequel to The Yellow on the Broom. Canongate (1990, hb) , Corgi (1991, pb), Birlinn Limited (2000-2004, pb).

"Tak a tune oot o da fiddle", The Strad, December 1991, p 1108-1114.

"Obituary - Tom Anderson", Folk Music Journal, 1992 vi/3, 414-416.

IN THE PRESS:  Several reviews of recent CDs for World of Music


Review article of:-   Musical Healing in Cultural Contexts,  ed: P. Gouk (Ashgate, 2000) and Music as Medicine - the History of Music Therapy since Antiquity,  ed: P. Horden (Ashgate, 2000) for Yearbook for Traditional Music, 2006.

“The Music of Scottish Travellers”, for A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology,  (John Donald, Edinburgh, 2006).