Mr Salvatore Morra

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Personal profile


“Liuto Magico”, Iuppiter Edizioni, 2011.

“Funzione e Interpretazione della Ninna Nanna nel Vicino Oriente Arabo: un caso Tunisino.” In Civiltà Musicale, 2016.


“Authenticity and Innovation: Analysing Tunisian ʻūd Improvisation”. Analysis, Cognition and Ethnomusicology, Annual Conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology and The Third International Conference on Analytical Approaches to World Music. Centre for Music and Science (University of Cambridge) and The Society for Music Analysis. 1-4 July 2014 , at the Institute of Musical Research (IMR), School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) , University of London.

 “The Tunisian ʻūd Soundscape”. Encontro Científico Internacional para Estudos sobre Som e Instrumentos Musicais, International Scientific Meeting for Sound and Musical Instrument Studies, 19&20 July 2014, Museu Nogueira da Silva, Braga, Portugal.

"Authenticity and innovation: conceptualizing a "Tunisian school" of ud performance in the twentieth century".IDENTITIES AN INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH International Graduate Student Conference Istanbul Technical University Macka Campus, Istanbul, 23-­ 25 October 2014. International Musicological Society (IMS).

“Authenticity and Innovation: Conceptualising a “Tunisian School” of ʻūd Performance in the Twentieth Century”. Symposium on «Musical Traditions in North Africa». Centre of Arab And Mediterranean Music, SIdi Bou Said, Tunisia, 8-10 December 2014.

“Funzione ed Interpretazione della "Ninna Nanna" nell'Oriente Arabo”. Convegno “Ninna Nanna nasce una mamma: dalla culla alla relazione”. Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali dell’Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II e Conservatorio di musica di Napoli S.Pietro a Majella. 7-8 Maggio 2015.

"The Tunisia ‘ūd of the Horniman Collection London". Centre National de Recherches Préhistoriques, Antropologiques et Historiques, Sixième édition du colloque international d’anthropologie et musique, Savoir-faire et transmission dans les musiques de tradition orale et le Malouf constantinois, Costantine Algeria, 23-25 November 2015.

Rachel Beckles Willson and Salvatore Morra joint paper: ‘Al Kindi,Villoteau and the North African oud: The Case of the Horniman Museum in London". Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum. Music Department, City University London (in conjunction with the Institute of Musical Research). 27th November 2015. London UK. 

"Modal transformations in Tunisian istikhbār". Musicians in the Mediterranean:Narratives of Movement. Joint meeting of the ICTM Study Group “Mediterranean Music Studies” and the International Musicological Society, in association with ISMEO - International Association for Mediterranean and Oriental Studies. Hosted By the Conservatorio San Pietro a Majella and the Università degli studi di Napoli "L'Orientale". Napoli 21-26 June 2016.  


Thalman Award, CHESS - University of Cambridge 2013

Crossland Scholarship, Royal Holloway University of London 2014

Tullia Magrini Award, Università di Bologna, Italy 2016

Royal Holloway Travel Award 2016/2017, Fieldwork Tunisia 2017

William E. Gribbon Student Travel Award, AMIS/Galpin Joint Conference 2017


Fluent: Italian, English, Arabic

Proficient: French

Reading knowledge: Spanish


My research explores the cultural and social meanings of the Tunisian ʻūd (plucked instrument) named ʻūd ʻarbī, in the emergence of its local and global scenes. Ideas about identity and nostalgia pervade understanding of this instrument's construction, performance and sound. My work traces the development of these ideas amongst ʻūd players makers and audiences in Tunisia and Europe, where the histories and geographies associated with ʻūd are open to distinctly contemporary reinterpretation. This ʻūd will be a launch pad for reflections on material culture (Miller 2005, Bennett and Dawe 2001, Bates 2012), cultural intimacy (Herzfeld 1997), collective memory (Erll & Nünning 2008), and nostalgia (Boym 2001). By exploring these themes, I will highlight the diverse ways in which identity of the instrument is heard, felt and understood: in discourses that root the ʻūd both inside and outside mālūf (Andalusian genre); in music that incorporates melancholic sounds alongside the ʻūd; in the power and agency of audiences for this traditional Tunisian ʻūd; and in changes to the materials, sounds and forms of the instrument itself.


Born in Naples, Salvatore Morra completed his BMus in guitar performance at the music college "Nicola Sala" in Benevento studying with A. Desiderio and S. Aruta. He also holds a degree in language and culture (Arabic/English) at the University "Orientale" of Naples. He has recorded guitar music for the Adoro-records (2004) and Draf-records (2013), performed in several venues around Europe and published a book in Italian on the Arab ʻūd for the Iuppiter Edizioni titled "Liuto Magico" (2011). He holds a MMus in music studies at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Dr Ruth F. Davis. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate at the Royal Holloway - University of London, under the supervision of Professor Rachel Beckles Willson - undertaking a project that examines musical instruments as "objects existing at the intersection of material, social and cultural worlds, socially and culturally constructed, and as active in the shaping of social and cultural life" (Dawe, 2001), with particular focus on the Tunisian ʿūd.

Educational background

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, WOLFSON COLLEGE                                           Cambridge, UK

Mphil Music Studies, Faculty of Music                                                                  2012/2013

Dissertation Title:Authenticity and Innovation: Conceptualising a “Tunisian School” of ʿūd Performance in the Twentieth Century”


UNIVERSITY OF NAPLES, L'ORIENTALE”                                                 

Naples, IT 2010

BA, Laurea in Lingue e Culture Comparate (Inglese/Arabo), Facoltà di Lettere      


CONSERVATORIO DI MUSICA “NICOLA SALA”                                             

Benevento, IT 2005


ID: 22888960