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Keith Chapin  BA and MMus (Yale), PhD (Stanford)

Dr Keith Chapin

BA and MMus (Yale), PhD (Stanford)

Senior Lecturer

Welsh speaking
Media commentator


I research on issues of aesthetics and analysis in eighteenth-through-twentieth century France and Germany, focusing on changing conceptions of sublimity and their different musical manifestations, the relationship between music and literature, and the aesthetics of counterpoint.

Through this work, I seek to articulate how musicians and listeners channel music towards various social ends. I also have a strong interest in performance studies, and perform on the viola. I have served as co-editor of Eighteenth-Century Music and associate editor of 19th-Century Music. I also sit on the committee of readers of the Revue de musicologie.

I am from Fairbanks, Alaska, USA originally and have worked previously in San Francisco, New York City, and Welligton (New Zealand), . Since coming to Cardiff, I have learned Welsh and have integrated my engagement with the language into my musical activities at Cardiff University and the community at large.



  • Chapin, K. 2022. 'Heinrich Christoph Koch: Musikalisches Lexikon'. In: Wörner, F. and Wald-Fuhrmann, M. eds. Lexikon Schriften über Musik. Band 2: Musikästhetik in Europa und Nordamerika. Kassel and Berlin: Bärenreiter/Metzler, pp. 444-447.















Book sections



I am currently working on a book on different conceptions of sublimity in the long eighteenth century and their musical manifestations. It recuperates the diversity of approaches to the concept, long obscured by the shadows of Burke and Kant, as well as the variety of ways that musicians sought to achieve transport.

Other research examines 17th-century French literary classicism’s transmission to and adaptation by 18th-century German musicians. Recently, I have directed my interest in the emphatic experiences towards contexts of ecocriticism and ecomuciology, for example, in an essay on Beethoven's relationship with nature in Beethoven Studies 4, a volume co-edited with my colleague David Wyn Jones. Most generally, I am interested in those powerful musical expressions that crystalize the confrontation of individual agency (or self) with super-individual forces, whether they be 'nature', musical tradition, or other pressures of politics or society.


My classes address the various ways that societies channel their musical activities according to various aesthetic, political, and other ideological systems. I help students to understand how these issues manifest themselves musically, and how they can acquire the analytical skills to read musical works.

Postgraduate teaching examines fine points of ideological systems by looking at changes in key concepts (sublimity, classicism, etc.) and considering their musical manifestations.

In performance coaching, I seek to help students to realize musically the aesthetic sensibility behind different styles and genres.