Department of Art History, Visual Arts and Musicology

Dr TM Pooley

College of Human Sciences
School of Arts
Department: Art History, Visual Arts and Musicology
Senior Lecturer
Tel: 012 481 2830


  • PhD – University of Pennsylvania
  • MA – University of Pennsylvania
  • MMus (distinction) – University of the Witwatersrand
  • BA Honours (summa cum laude) – University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • BA Music – University of KwaZulu-Natal 

Fields of academic interests

  • Ethnomusicology
  • Historical Musicology
  • Music Perception and Cognition

Research interests

  • African Music
  • Zulu music and dance
  • Prosody in Music
  • Ethics
  • Music Education in Africa
  • Music and Apartheid
  • Piano Music


Book chapters:

  • 2019 (forthcoming). Pooley, T.M. ‘Songs of Gender and Generation: Ethnographic perspectives on initiation songs and well-being in Southern Africa.’ In R. Heydon & A. Cohen (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Interdisciplinary Studies in Singing, Volume 3: Well-being. New York: Routledge.
  • ‘Dismantling Music’: 2013. Pooley, T.M. "Dismantling Music": Reductionist models and evolutionary explanations in music cognition, 43-48. In Leroy, J.-L (dir.). Actualités des Universaux en Musique/Topics in Universals in Music. Paris, France: Edition des Archives Contemporaines. 

Journal articles

  • 2016. Pooley, T.M. ‘Umaskandi izibongo’: Semantic, prosodic, and musical dimensions of voice in Zulu popular praises. African Music, Vol. 10 (2), pp. 7-34.
  • 2016. Pooley, T.M. ‘Extracurricular arts’: Poverty, inequality and musical arts education in post-apartheid South Africa. Critical Arts, Vol. 30 (3), pp. 639-654.
  • 2013. Pooley, T.M. "Afrika-Voorstellings": Stefans Grové se Liedere en Danse van Afrika as fiksies. Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe. 53 (2): 170-182.
  • 2010/2011. Pooley, T.M. "Never the twain shall meet": Africanist art music and the end of Apartheid. South African Music Studies. 30/31: 45-69.
  • 2008. Pooley, T.M. Organic Unity in Hendrik Hofmeyr’s Piano Music. Musicus, 35 (2): 72-82. Accredited Article.  

Paper presentations

  • Tonal categories and combinatoriality: Prosody in Zulu Song. School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 24 October 2017. (Public Seminar to the Departments of Music and Linguistics.)
  • White Supremacy and Black Choralism: Apartheid’s Parallel Praxis. Expressive Arts and the Political Space. University of Johannesburg. 18-19 September 2017.
  • The phenomenology of collapsing worlds: Isishameni Zulu Dance in Johannesburg and Rural KwaZulu-Natal. 7th European Conference on African Studies. University of Basel, Switzerland. 30 June, 2017.
  • ‘Collaborative eLearning in Music and the Arts.’ Research and Innovation Week. University of South Africa. March 6, 2015.
  • ‘Music education after apartheid.’ University of Jyväskylä, Finland. 6 October, 2014.
  • ‘Melody is a Complex Adaptive System: A Case Study of Zulu Song.’ BKN25. McGill University, Montreal, Canada. 7-8 July, 2014.
  • ‘Beyond Semantics’: Continuities and Discontinuities in Maskandi Izibongo. Third International Conference on Analytical Approaches to World Music. School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 1-4 July, 2014. 

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

  • Booth Ferris Fellowship
  • Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania
  • Penfield Research Award, University of Pennsylvania
  • National Research Foundation Prestigious Masters Scholarship 
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal Special Honours Scholarship
  • Cecil Renaud Undergraduate Scholarship, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal Undergraduate Piano Scholarship


  • Melody as Prosody: Toward a Usage-Based Theory of Music.
  • Art Music and Apartheid.
  • Zulu Song: isicathamiya, maskandi, and genres of dance.