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  • Artistic research on popular music performance
  • Research on creative processes and and the dissemination of such knowledge to our students in popular music performance on all levels from Bachelor to PhD. 
  • Popular music education (education of musicians and educators) is an important academic field at the University of Agder, where we are well ahead both nationally and internationally.

Read news and info about UiA's Popular Music Research Unit

Selected Recordings

Bernt Moen/Fredrik Sahlander/Tobias Solbakk (2019). Dualistic [CD] Losen Records, LOS 214-2



Bernt Moen. (2014). Solopiano Vol. 3. [CD] Norway: BAM Records. 4714BAM01


Fredrik Sahlander - SAH! (2015) Present Future [CD]. BAM Records, BAMR007


Performance Projects

Lind, Nilsen, Fuentes & Holm

Project Leader: Askil Holm, Senior Lecturer

Lind, Nilsen, Fuentes, Holm is the musical collaboration between the Norwegian Grammy Awards winners Espen Lind, Kurt Nilsen, Alejandro Fuentes and Askil Holm. Their two first albums “Hallelujah Live Vol. 1” and “Hallelujah Live Vol. 2” is one of the bestselling album all time.  Askil Holm is Senior Lecteur and teacher at the songwriter and artist study at UiA Rytmisk. This year they are playing 50 concerts and events all across Norway for almost 150 000 people, and they start their tour with two sold out shows in Oslo Spectrum. Askil Holm is contributing as songwriter, artist, vocalist and he is focusing on vocalarrangements and band-production in the production process.

PhD Projects

Groove Based Music Subdivided in Quintuplets 

PhD Project.  

Jan Inge Nilsen, PhD Research Fellow

Groove Based Music Subdivided in Quintuplets, is based on my Master- project where I explored the possibilities composing and playing popular music subdivided in five. I ́m currently working on these subjects in rhythmically sophisticated music and investigating the opportunities that these subdivisions provide in terms of polyrhythms and rhythmic lines crossing the main pulse. Also regarding to improvisation. The aim is achieving more extensive knowledge, know-how and practical knowledge in terms of skills and expertise in this subject.

Competencies for the future in higher electronic music education

PhD Project.  

Eirik Sørbø, PhD Research Fellow

Today we see changes that are suggested to have vast impacts on which competencies will be valued in the future, and education needs to prepare students for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, and to solve problems that have not yet been anticipated. How should we align the education of electronic musicians in higher education with 21st century competencies? This thesis aims to discuss the advantages, pitfalls, potentials and quagmires electronic music pedagogy meets when facing this question.


This research group is the largest group of academic staff at the unit where the focus is artistic research and performance practice at highest international level. This activity is an important prerequisite for the offer popular music education we give the department characterized by a through study program in popular music from Bachelor to PhD with emphasis on artistic performance. Several of the staff both have been and still are active professional musicians nationally and internationally with several albums, tours, media appearances etc. behind them. Research on artistic creative processes and the dissemination of such knowledge to our students at all levels of study is an important area for this group. Two of our research fellows are linked to this group.

Popular music education (education of musicians and educators) is an important academic field at the University of Agder, where we are well ahead both nationally and internationally.

Research Projects

Music Theory 2.0

Project Leaders: Erik Gunvaldsen, Professor. Tore Bråthen, Associate Professor

Participants: Eirik Sørbø, PhD Researc Fellow

The development of modern music goes fast. Much due to technological solutions in various stages of music production such as composing and arranging. Earlier, working as a composer or arranger ment that you also had knowledge about the instruments, different harmonic solutions, and were able to communicate your music to other musicians through sheets. Technology has now taken over several of these features. One can skip some introduction and speed up to the creative work working with music.

More people therefor ask questions about the music theory curriculum used today. What is needed from the previous syllabus in the subject. What can be removed and in what order should it be presented. What didactic thoughts should one do and which methodological solutions one should choose to best utilize the many possibilities that exist. Much of the music played now also has other harmonic focus areas than the traditional music theory uses. Here too, one must rethink the subject.

The Music Theory 2.0 project looks at the needs of the new musicians in relation to this and how to adapt the curriculum, didactics and methodology of the musictheoretical subjects in order to provide a relevant and timely music theory teaching.

UKM – Ung Kultur Møtes / The Norwegian Youth Festivals of Art

Project Leaders: Askil Holm, Senior Lecturer 

UKM / The Norwegian Youth Festivals of Art, is a cultural initiative for children and youngsters from the age of 10 to 20. The objective of the initiative is to stimulate young people to be creative and active, and to develop and make their cultural activity visible.

Senior Lecteur and teacher Askil Holm at UiARytmisk are working as mentor and bandplay-teacher, and the students are co-writers, mentors and backing band for the young artists and songwriters.

The UKM is one of the Government’s most important priority area on the field of youth culture and the festivals has been an annual event since 1987. There has been a tremendous growth in participation over these years and in 2002, more than 26 000 young people took part in all the local Youth Festivals of Art. As from the autumn of 2002, the young may register online. The UKM has an ambition to form a part of the development of the cultural expressions of young people.

Selected Publications

Leader of group

External website

Popular Music Research Unit


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