Dr Dai Griffiths

Senior Lecturer in Music


Born in Ammanford, South Wales, with English as second language, Dai Griffiths read Music at Cambridge before going on to postgraduate degrees at King’s College London, where his doctoral dissertation (1993) was on the songs of Anton Webern. Trained as a schoolteacher, he taught for two years in Leicestershire before arriving at Brookes in 1990. He was a founder member of the Critical Musicology group in Britain, which has met regularly from 1992 to the present. He has been External Examiner for music courses at Thames Valley University, Bangor, Cardiff, Newcastle, the Open University and the University of York. His publications cover aspects of music analysis and critical musicology, historical and theoretical topics in popular music, and several studies of single songwriters and songs; he also makes up and occasionally performs his own songs. Fellow of the Mannes Institute in 2008, Dai is currently on the editorial board of Music Analysis and Popular Music.

Undergraduate Teaching

  • U66005 Notation and Harmony
  • U66028 Music Analysis

Postgraduate Teaching

  • P66004: Approaches to Popular Music


Dr Dai Griffiths has published in the areas of critical musicology and popular music. His publications cover aspects of music analysis and critical musicology, historical and theoretical topics in popular music, Welsh popular music, and several studies of single songwriters and songs.

Research Interests

  • Popular music and popular song
  • Words in song
  • Critical musicology


Editorial Boards: Radical Musicology, Music Analysis, Popular Music

Membership of Professional Bodies

International Association for the Study of Popular Music

Society for Music Analysis

Oxford Contemporary Music (Board member 2003-13 and Chair of Board, 2006-11)

Matrix Music and Arts Centre, Sutton Courtenay (Board member 2003-)


Radiohead: OK Computer (Continuum, 2004)

Elvis Costello (Equniox, 2007)


‘Talking about License to Kill’, in Elizabeth Thomson and David Gutman (eds.), The Dylan Companion (Macmillan, 1990), pp.260-66

‘Public Schoolboy Music: Debating Radiohead’, in Joseph Tate (ed.), The Music and Art of Radiohead (Ashgate, 2005)

‘So Who Are You? Webern’s Op. 3 No. 1’, in Craig Ayrey and Mark Everist (eds.), Analytical Strategies and Musical Interpretation: Essays on Nineteenth- and Twentieth-century Music (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 301-14

‘Kelly, Cerys, and James Dean Bradfield’, in Trevor Herbert and Peter Stead, Hymns and Arias: Great Welsh Voices (Cardiff, 2001), pp. 209-21

‘Cover Versions and the Sound of Identity in Motion’, in David Hesmondhalgh and Keith Negus (eds.), Popular Music Studies (Arnold, 2002), pp.51-64

‘From Lyric to Anti-Lyric: Analysing the Words in Popular Song’, in Allan F. Moore (ed.), Analysing Popular Music (Cambridge, 2003), pp.39-59

‘History and class consciousness: pop music towards 2000’, in Nicholas Cook and Anthony Pople (eds.), Cambridge History of Twentieth Century Music (Cambridge, 2004), pp.557-83

‘Postcolonial Music in Contemporary Wales: Hybridities and Weird Geographies’ (with Sarah Hill), in Jane Aaron and Christopher Williams, eds., Postcolonial Wales (University of Wales Press, 2005)

‘Grammar Schoolboy Music’ (1995), reprinted in Derek B. Scott (ed.), Music, Culture, and Society: a Reader (Oxford, 2000), pp.143-5

‘Memorable music, forgettable words? Dilemmas of song in British progressive rock, c. 1972’, for conference, Composition and Experiment in British Rock 1966-76, Cremona 2005

Journal Articles

‘Three Tributaries of The River’, Popular Music, 7/1 (1987-8), 27-34; reprinted in Richard Middleton (ed.), Reading Pop (Oxford, 1997), pp.192-202

 ‘In Praise of “Anchorage”’, in Rossana Dalmonte and Mario Baroni (eds.), Secondo Convegno Europeo di Anilisi Musicale (Trento, 1992), pp.351-58

 ‘Was Will der Mann: Gwrywdod ar y Groesffordd’, tu chwith 9 (1998), pp.29-33

‘“Home is Living Like a Man on the Run”: John Cale’s Welsh Atlantic’, in Sally Harper (ed.), Welsh Music History (2000), 159-185, Welsh translation, 186-211, reprinted in Martin Stokes and Philip V. Bohlman (eds.), Celtic Modern: Music at the Global Fringe (Scarecrow Press, 2003), pp.171-99

‘Internal rhyme in ‘The Boy with a Moon and Star on His Head’, Cat Stevens, 1972’, Popular Music, 31/3 (2011), pp. 383-400

‘Words to songs and the internet: a comparative study of transcriptions of words to the song ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’, recorded by Gladys Knight and the Pips in 1973’, Popular Music and Society, 36/2 (2013), pp. 234-73


Review of Anthony Pople (ed.), Analysis, Theory, and Meaning in Music (Cambridge, 1994) Music Analysis, 15/2-3 (1996), pp.381-93

Review of Anne Shreffler, Webern and the Lyric Impulse (Oxford, 1994) Music Analysis 16/1 (1997), pp.144-54

Review of Simon Frith, Performing Rites: Evaluating Popular Music (Oxford, 1998), Music and Letters (2000), pp.343-6

Review-Article, ‘The High Analysis of Low Music’, Music Analysis, 18.3 (1999), pp.389-435

Review of Words for the Dying (DVD, 2009) and John Cale (DVD 2006), Journal of the Society for American Music (2010) 4/3, pp. 390-2

Review of Carys Wyn Jones, The Rock Canon: Canonical Values in the Reception of Rock Albums (Ashgate, 2008), Music and Letters (2010) 91/3, pp. 471-473

Review of Kyle Gann, Music Downtown: Writings from the Village Voice (2006), Twentieth-century Music (University of California Press, 2011), 7/1, pp. 127-30

Review-article ‘After Relativism: Recent Directions in the High Analysis of Low Music’, Music Analysis, 31/3 (2012), pp. 381-413

Reference Articles

New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Macmillan, 2000), entries on Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Lyrics (2).

Cydymaith I Gerddoriaeth Cymru (Bangor University, 2013): entry on John Cale


Devised a series of playlists for Napster: December 2006

Expert witness in the case of Clive Edwards v 19 Music Limited, BMG Music Publishing Limited, Universal Music Publishing Limited and Rondor Music (London) Limited (June 2006)

Dai Griffiths


School of Arts

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP




Radiohead's OK Computer (33 1/3) (33 1/3)

Dai Griffiths

Published by: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. on September 2004


The Music and Art of "Radiohead" (Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series)

Joseph Tate

Published by: Ashgate Publishing Limited on January 2005