Mr Malte Kobel

Research project: A musicology of the singing voice


I aim to develop a musicological and philosophical theory of the singing voice. Most theories of voice merely focus on speaking, as various studies in philosophy, psychoanalysis, literary theory, media and sound studies have shown. However, singing as a musical mode of voicing is often neglected. Singing differs from speaking: it is a musical power that exceeds the voice that speaks. The proposed theory of singing highlights the voice's musicking ability and critiques essentialist notions of voice that tie it to either language, expression, the body or the human. The questions this project poses are: How can singing be theorised? What is the specific musical force of singing?


I am doctoral student at the Music Department at Kingston University, with a project on the singing voice which is supervised by Isabella van Elferen and Scott Wilson.

My work cuts across areas of musicology, sound and media culture. I have studied musicology at the University of Vienna, Cardiff University and Humboldt University of Berlin and have written mostly on new (BA on the music of Beat Furrer) and electronic music and music's entanglement with media culture (MA on techno-strategic modes of listening). Apart from academic work I am co-running the record label Hyperdelia and am co-responsible for the collective/network/platform BLATT 3000 from Berlin.

Areas of research interest

  • Musicology
  • Sound Studies
  • Media Theory
  • Phonography
  • Voice
  • Singing
  • Pop Music Studies


  • BA Musicology, University Vienna
  • MA Musicology, Humboldt University Berlin

Funding or awards received

  • AHRC TECHNE funded doctoral student
  • Kingston University Studentship


Kobel, M. (2020) '"Just a man singing": on Scott Walker and the Voice of Another', Journal for Cultural Research. ISSN (print) 1479-7585 (Epub Ahead of Print).

Kobel, M. (2020) 'Dispositive des Hörens: Formationen von Emotionen und Klang in der Hi-Fi-Kultur der späten 1950er Jahre am Beispiel des Genres „Exotica"', in Herzfeld-Schild, M. L. (ed.) Musik und Emotionen. Kulturhistorische Perspektiven (= Studien zu Musik und Gender Bd. 1). Stuttgart: Metzler.

Kobel, M. (2019) 'The drum machine's ear: XLN Audio's drum sequencer XO and algorithmic listening', Sound Studies, 5(2), pp. 201-204.

Kobel, M. (2016) 'Beat Furrer und das Visuelle. Perspektiven komponieren oder Bild-Werden der Musik', in Tadday, U. (ed.) Musik-Konzepte Band 172/173, Beat Furrer. München: edition text+kritik.

Conference papers

Kobel, M. (2019) '"Just a man singing": on Scott Walker and the musicking (of) voice, at: The Work and Legacy of Scott Walker with Peter Walsh, 23 November, Kingston University London, Kingston.

Kobel, M. (2019) 'Singing caesuras: phonography's generating of otherwise times', at: Sonologia. International Conference on Sound Studies, 9-12 April, São Paulo, Brazil. 

Kobel, M. (2018) 'Voice as becoming (-monstrous)', at: Graduate Students in Music Conference: Voice, Listening, Aurality, 23-24 March, CUNY, New York City, USA.

Kobel, M. (2018) 'Monstrosities of voice', at: International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA), 14-17 March, Orlando, USA.

Kobel, M. (2017) 'How to engineer a Krautrock listener', at: Research Networking Day, CTM Festival 2017: Fear Anger Love, Berlin, Germany.

Kobel, M. (2016) '>Simple Headphone Mind< – Listening environments around the skull', at: International Exploratory Workshop: Sounding Out the Anthropocene. Critical Media Lab Basel, FHNW Basel, Switzerland.