Portrait of Dr  Steven Jan Dr Steven Jan

s.b.jan@hud.ac.uk | 01484 472143


Steven Jan studied music at the University of Leeds and went on to complete a PhD there, entitled 'Aspects of Mozart 's Music in G Minor: Toward the Identification of Common Structural and Compositional Characteristics’, under the supervision of Professor Julian Rushton. The dissertation was published by Garland in 1995 in their Outstanding Dissertations in Music from British Universities series. Before joining the Music Department at Huddersfield in January 2001 he taught at the University of East Anglia and in the School of Academic Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. He is currently Senior Lecturer and Music Subject Area Leader.

Research & Scholarship

Steven Jan works on the application to music of theoretical and analytical perspectives drawn from evolutionary theory, particularly the 'meme ' paradigm first expounded in Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene (Oxford, 1976). His monograph The Memetics of Music: A Neo-Darwinian View of Musical Structure and Culture (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007) is the first full-scale formal exposition of the theory of musical memetics. A related research interest is the use of computer resources in evolutionary musicology, music theory and music analysis and he is currently planning an extended research project in this area with Dr Marcelo Gimenes and Dr Jonathan Wakefield. His other research interests include the music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Jan, S (2012) ‘‘The Heavens are Telling’: Memetic- Calvinian Readings of a Haydn Chord ProgressionInterdisciplinary Science Reviews , 37 (2), pp. 113-130. ISSN 0308-0188


Jan, S (2011) ‘A Memetic Analysis of a Phrase by Beethoven: Calvinian Perspectives on Segmentation, Similarity and Lexicon-Abstraction’. In: 7th European Music Analysis Conference, 29th September - 2nd October 2011, Rome, Italy

Jan, S (2011) ‘Replication, Parataxis, and Evolution: Meme Journeys through the First Movement of a Mozart Sonata’. In: A-Life for Music: Music and Computer Models of Living Systems. : A-R Editions. pp. 217-260. ISBN 9780895796738

Jan, S (2011) ‘Music, Memory, and Memes in the Light of Calvinian NeuroscienceMusic Theory Online , 17 (2), pp. 3-50. ISSN 1067-3040


Jan, S (2010) ‘Memesatz contra Ursatz: Memetic perspectives on the aetiology and evolution of musical structureMusicae Scientiae: the journal of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music , 14 (1), pp. 3-50. ISSN 1029-8649


Jan, S (2009) ‘Evolutionary Thought in Music Theory and Analysis: A Corrective to ‘Babelization’?’. In: L'analyse Musicale aujord'hui: crise ou (R)evolution?/Music Analysis Today: Crisis or (R)evolution? International Conference 2009, 19th - 21st November 2009, Strasbourg, France


Jan, S (2007) The Memetics of Music: A Neo-Darwinian View of Musical Structure and Culture . Aldershot: Ashgate . ISBN 978-0-7546-5594-7

Jan, S (2007) ‘Memetic Perspectives on the Evolution of Tonal Systems’. In: Evolutionary Musicology Conference, 22nd - 23rd June 2007, Durham, UK


Jan, S (2006) ‘Selfish Memes in the Priests’ Marches from Idomeneo and Die Zauberflöte’. In: "such people come into the world only once in a 100 years" - Mozart in the 21st Century, 3rd February 2006, Dublin, Ireland


Jan, S (2005) ‘What’s in a Meme? Aspects of Particulateness, Coindexation, Segmentation, and Perceptual-Cognitive Salience in Replicated Musical Units’. In: Dublin International Conference on Music Analysis, 23rd - 25th June 2005, Dublin, Ireland

Jan, S (2005) ‘The Illusory Mozart: Selfish Memes in the Priests’ Marches from Idomeneo and Die ZauberflöteGoldberg Forum .


Jan, S (2004) ‘Meme Hunting with the Humdrum Toolkit: Principles, Problems, and ProspectsComputer Music Journal , 28 (4), pp. 68-84. ISSN 0148-9267


Jan, S (2003) ‘Meme hunting with the Humdrum Toolkit: principles, problems, and prospects ’. In: Hull University Music Analysis Conference (HUMAC) 2003, 10th - 13th July 2003, University of Hull, UK

Jan, S (2003) ‘Meme Hunting with the Humdrum Toolkit: Principles, Problems, and Prospects’. In: Hull University Music Analysis Conference (HUMAC), 10th - 13th July 2003, Hull, UK

Jan, S (2003) ‘The Evolution of a 'Memeplex' in Late Mozart: Replicated Structures in Pamina's 'Ach ich fuhl's'Journal of the Royal Musical Association , 128 (1), pp. 30-70. ISSN 02690403


Jan, S (2002) ‘The Evolution of a “Memeplex” in Late Mozart: Replicated Structures in Pamina’s “Ach ich fühl’s”’. In: 17th Congress of the International Musicological Society, 1st - 7th August 2002, Leuven, Belgium


Jan, S (2000) ‘The Memetics of Music and its implications for Psychology’. In: 6th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition(ICMPC) , 5th - 10th August 2000, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK

Jan, S (2000) ‘Replicating Sonorities: Towards a Memetics of MusicJournal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission , 4 (1). ISSN 1366-4786


Jan, S (1999) ‘The selfish meme: Particularity, replication, and evolution in musical styleInternational Journal of Musicology , 8, pp. 9-76. ISSN 0941-9535


Jan, S (1996) ‘Ave Verum Corpus: reminiscences in Mozart's late styleChoir and Organ , 4 (2), pp. 20-25. ISSN 0968-7262


Jan, S (1995) Aspects of Mozart's music in G minor: toward the identification of common structural and compositional characteristics . Outstanding Dissertations in Music from British Universities. : Garland . ISBN 0185318928


Jan, S (1992) ‘X Marks the Spot: Schenkerian Perspectives on the Minor-Key Classical Development Section Music Analysis , 11 (1), pp. 37-53. ISSN 0262-5245

Research Degree Supervision

Steven Jan is happy to supervise research students (MA by Research, MPhil, PhD) on topics in the following areas of investigation:

  • Music and memetics
  • Music and evolutionary thought
  • Music theory and analysis
  • Computer-aided musicology, music theory and music analysis.
  • Musicological research on Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven
  • Current PhD students include:

    • Andrew Hawkett: An Empirical Investigation into the Concept of Musical Memes in Western Classical Music using Data-Mining Techniques on MusicXML Documents.
    • Ahmed al-Badr: The Musical Characteristics of the Folk Songs of Southern Iraq.
    • Steven’s recent supervisions include an MMus dissertation on the application of analytical methodologies to Haydn string quartet development sections.

Last updated Thursday 6 March 2014
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