Stephan Schönlau


Previous education

MA in Musicology (Universität zu Köln, Germany)

Undergraduate degree (‘Diplom’) in Music Theory and Piano (Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln, Germany)

Teaching in higher education

Graduate teaching assistant in Music (for the following courses: ‘Approaches to Musicology’, ‘Music and Its Contexts’, ‘Tonality: Motive and Meaning’, ‘Techniques of Tonal Hamony’) at the University of Manchester (since September 2015)

Lecturer in Music Theory (harmony, counterpoint, aural skills) at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln, Germany (2013/14)

Academic Tutor for Music Theory at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (2012/13)

Thesis title

The Ground Bass in Restoration England


Prof. Rebecca Herissone, Dr Anne Hyland (co-supervisor), Prof. Barry Cooper (internal assessor)

Research details/summary

My research focuses on compositions in music sources of English provenance from about 1675 to about 1705 that use a ground bass – that is, a repeating bass line which is continually reinterpreted by superimposing different material in the upper parts. In analysing these pieces, I am developing a new methodology that has its foundation in compositional theory of the time and that can inform our understanding of Restoration music more deeply than previously used methods. Ultimately, I am trying to uncover similarities and differences in compositional approach between different composers and genres, as well as changes in their use of the ground-bass technique over the 30-year period which I am focusing on.

Research interests

17th- and 18th-century music

Early 20th-century music

Music Theory and Analysis


Stephan Schönlau, ‘Emulating Lully? Generic Features and Personal Traits in the Passacaglia from Henry Purcell’s King Arthur (1691)’, Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale, 2014 (1-2), 119-146.

Stephan Schönlau, Kompositionstechnik in den Studies für Klavier von Charles Ives (Hamburg: Diplomica Verlag, 2012).

Conference Papers

‘…being not perfect in the true Idiom of our Language’: Word setting in two songs from the English Restoration period’, Arts and Humanities Postgraduate Conference, Keele University, 12-13 October 2015

‘Approaches to improvisation and composition in keyboard grounds of the English Restoration period’, BFE/RMA Research Students’ Conference, Bangor University, 6-8 January 2016