Associate Professor Denis Collins

Deputy Head of School

School of Music
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 53512


Denis Collins is a world authority on the history of compositional techniques, especially counterpoint, in Western art music from the late Middle Ages to the time of J.S. Bach. He is also an expert on the history of music theory, including the legacy of the Russian composer and theorist Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev. Denis's research draws upon digital applications to music, musical iconography, and music perception and cognition. He has been Lead Chief Investigator on two Discovery Projects awarded by the Australian Research Council: "Canonic techniques and musical change from c.1330 to c.1530" (2015-17) and "The art and science of canon in the music of early 17th-century Rome" (2018-20). He was an Associate Investigator at the ARC's Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions in Europe, 1100-1800. He has published extensively in Australian and international music journals and edited volumes and he presents the results of his research regularly at international conferences and symposia. He is Editor-in-Chief of Musicology Australia, the official journal of the Musicological Society of Australia.

Research Interests

  • Musicology
  • Music Theory
  • Counterpoint in Medieval and Early Modern music
  • Music of J.S. Bach
  • Digital applications to music research
  • Music and visual culture
  • Music and the history of emotions

Research Impacts

Denis is deeply committed to the success of musicological research in Australia and to highlighting its many positive contributions to the cultural life of the nation. Through collaboration with scholars and music organisations nationally and internationally, he positions the results of his research for the broader community. Activities include workshops and performances by choral and instrumental groups of historical repertoire studied as part of his projects. Denis is the co-founder of the Canons Database ( which serves as the foremost online resource for musical canons and is aimed at a very broad community of music enthusiasts from scholars and performers to general audiences worldwide.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University
  • Masters (Coursework), Stanford University
  • Bachelor of Music, University College Dublin
  • Bachelor of Arts, University College Dublin


View all Publications


Featured Publications


Book Chapter

  • Collins, Denis (2023). Crosses, circles and shared identities in riddle canons by Elway Bevin and Giovanni Maria Nanino. Belonging, detachment and the representation of musical identities in visual culture. (pp. 177-196) edited by Antonio Baldassarre and Arabella Teniswood-Harvey. Vienna, Austria: Hollitzer. doi: 10.2307/jj.5211766.10

  • Hooper, Graham (original author) and Collins, Denis (2023). Bevin, Elway. Grove music online. (pp. 1-4) Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.02990

  • Stoessel, Jason and Collins, Denis (2022). 'La grandezza del numero sonoro': canonic techniques, combinatorics, and early scientific thought in seventeenth-century Rome. Music and science from Leonardo to Galileo. (pp. 155-186) edited by Rudolf Rasch. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols.

  • Collins, Denis (2019). Dürer, Music, and Melencolia I. The Persistence of Melancholia in Arts and Culture. (pp. 49-67) edited by Andrea Bubenik . New York, NY United States: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780429468469-4

  • Collins, Denis (2019). Emotion and communities of musical expression in the high renaissance. Musica movet: affectus, ludus, corpus. (pp. 91-101) edited by Milena Medić. Belgrade, Serbia: Faculty of Music, University of Arts.

  • Collins, Denis and Nevile, Jennifer (2019). Music and dance. A Cultural History of the Emotions in the Late Medieval, Reformation and Renaissance Age. (pp. 49-67) edited by Andrew Lynch and Susan Broomhall. London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Academic.

  • Collins, Denis, Murphy, Kerry and Owens, Samantha (2018). Appendix 1. J.S. Bach in Australia: studies in Reception and performance. (pp. 218-221) edited by Denis Collins, Kerry Murphy and Samantha Owens. Melbourne, Australia: Lyrebird Press.

  • Collins, Denis (2018). Canon in Baroque Italy: Paolo Agostini's collections of masses, motets and counterpoints from 1627. Music preferred: Essays in musicology, cultural history and analysis in honour of Harry White. (pp. 117-140) edited by Lorraine Byrne Bodley. Vienna, Austria: Hollitzer Wissenschaftsverlag.

  • Collins, Denis, Murphy, Kerry and Owens, Samantha (2018). Introduction. J.S. Bach in Australia: studies in Reception and performance. (pp. 1-7) edited by Denis Collins, Kerry Murphy and Samantha Owens. Melbourne, Australia: Lyrebird Press.

  • Collins, Denis and Stoessel, Jason (2018). Music as symbolic image: Christological narratives in the Agnus Dei sections of renaissance masses. Music/image: transpositions, translations, transformations. (pp. 60-71) edited by Mirjana Veselinovic-Hofman, Vesna Mikic, Tijana Popovic-Mladjenovic and Ivana Perkovic. Belgrade: Faculty of Music, University of Arts in Belgrade.

  • Collins, Denis (2016). Continuity and discontinuity in contrapuntal techniques ca. 1500. Music: transitions/continuities. (pp. 120-132) edited by Mirjana Veselinovic-Hofman, Vesna Mikic, Tijana Popovic Mladenovic and Ivana Perkovic. Belgrade, Serbia: Faculty of Music, University of Arts in Belgrade.

  • Collins, Denis (2014). Creative collaborative thought and puzzle canons in renaissance music. Collaborative creative thought and practice in music. (pp. 111-126) edited by Margaret Barrett. Farnham, Surrey, United Kingdom: Ashgate.

  • Collins, Denis (2013). John Bull's "Art of Canon" and plainsong-based counterpoint in the late renaissance. Music Theory and its Methods: Structures, Challenges, Directions. (pp. 99-127) edited by Denis Collins. Frankfurt Am Main, Germany: Peter Lang.

  • Collins, Denis (2013). Palestrina's Missa Sacerdotes Domini and analytical approaches to renaissance counterpoint. Histories and Narratives of Music Analysis. (pp. 120-134) edited by Miloš Zatkalik, Milena Medić and Denis Collins. Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

  • Collins, Denis (2013). Preface. Music Theory and its Methods: Structures, Challenges, Directions . (pp. VII-VIII) edited by Collins, D.. Berlin, Germany: Peter Lang. doi: 10.3726/978-3-653-02906-2

  • Collins, D. B. (2004). Approaches to invertible canonic composition in late sixteenth-century theory and practice.. Music Research: New Directions for a New Century. (pp. 368-375) edited by M. Ewans, R. Halton and J. Phillips. London: Cambridge Scholars Press.

  • Collins, D. B. (2003). The vocal canons of Fernando Sor. Estudios Sobre Fernando Sor/Sor Studies. (pp. 305-312) edited by Luis Gasser. Madrid, Spain: Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales.

  • Collins, Denis (1993). Fugue, Canon and Double Counterpoint in Nicola Vicentino's L'antica musica. Music and the Church. (pp. 276-301) edited by Harry White and Gerard Gillen. Dublin, Ireland: Four Courts Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision