Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies
Invited Speaker

Even Ruud

Musical experiences and narratives of identity

Main content

The lecture will depart from by book «Music og identitet» (Ruud, 2013) and especially the last chapter «Music – as a metaphor for identity» (p. 253-268). I will discuss challenges in the interpretations of past musical experiences as raw material in the construction of a personal narrative or a musical identity. Issues of memory (rersearch), interpretation and the role of language will be discussed.

Key Questions

  1. Why may music serve as an important source of biographical information?

  2. How does musical identities relate to our personal identities in general?

  3. How does language and metaphor add to our experiences of a «self-in-context?».

Recommended Reading

  • Even Ruud 2013. Musikk og identitet, Universitetsforlaget, p. 253-269
  • Per-Einar Binder (2018). Hvem er jeg? Om å finne og skape identitet. Fagbokforlaget.


Even Ruud is professor emeritus at the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Academy of Music. Ruud is trained as a piano teacher, musicologist, music therapist, and certified psychologist. His work emphasizes a multidisciplinary perspective that draws on music psychology, the ethnography of music, music therapy, and music education. He has engaged in theoretical research in music education and music therapy, ethnographic research on rock bands, and qualitative studies on music and identity, as well as on health and life quality in the field of music. Ruud is the author of Music Therapy and its Relationship to Current Treatment Theories, Music Therapy: Improvisation, Communication, and Culture, Music Therapy: A Perspective from the Humanities, and, most recently, Toward a Sociology of Music Therapy: Musicking as a Cultural Immunogen. In Norwegian, he has published a textbook in musicology (Musikkvitenskap) and a study of music and identity (Musikk og identitet).