The Oxford Seminar in Music Theory and Analysis: Professor Joe Bennett (Berklee College, Boston)

Free to attend, no registration required. Join us in person or watch live on YouTube.

Forensic musicology is the practice of analysing music to investigate whether a song is copied from a previous song. It is used in music copyright infringement disputes to establish the extent of plagiarism, and in film, radio and TV to ensure that new music is not too derivative of older music. Two main methods are used – musical comparison with prior art research, and audio sample authentication. In this session, Professor Bennett will provide an overview of the field, with live demonstrations of the techniques that Forensic Musicologists use to answer the often difficult and contentious question ‘how similar is too similar?’. The session will include examples from copyright infringement lawsuits in the United States, including the notable ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Stairway To Heaven’ cases of recent years.

Professor Joe Bennett is a musicologist, writer and researcher, specialising in popular music and songwriting. He teaches songwriting, music copyright and song analysis at Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA. As an expert witness forensic musicologist, he advises lawyers, publishers, artists and songwriters on matters of musical similarity. He blogs about songwriting copyright on his website.

OSiMTA Season 5 (2022–23)

We are delighted to announce that the theme for Season 5 is:


Our speakers will be examining this theme from a broad range of analytical and repertorial perspectives. Full details will be posted here soon.

We are also delighted to announce that the majority of seminars will one again take place in person, in the Committee Room of the Oxford Faculty of Music, on selected Wednesdays beginning at 16.30 UK time. We shall also be streaming all sessions via YouTube so that you can watch and join in the discussion online from wherever you are. Details of how to log in will be available shortly. For the most up-to-date information, please visit our dedicated OSiMTA pages.