Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Dr Dave Ireland

Lecturer in Music Psychology; Assessment Lead and Academic Integrity Officer

0113 343 8216

School of Music, Room 2.02

Office hours: Monday 9-10am, Thursday 9-10am


Dave Ireland is a lecturer in Music Psychology. His research and teaching activities primarily address the areas of music psychology and film music and the intersection between the two fields.


Dave Ireland completed his BA and MMus at the University of Leeds before undertaking doctoral study which resulted in the completion of his thesis in 2012. His research seeks to theorise the idea of incongruent or mismatched film music and to consider the impact of this type of film-music relationship on the perception of meaning and susequent emotional response. The project reflects an interdisciplinary approach which draws extensively on research in the fields of music psychology and film music studies.

Prior to his current role, Dave previously worked in the School of Music as a Visiting Lecturer and Teaching Fellow, and is currently the School’s Assessment Lead and Academic Integrity Officer. In addition to his role in Music, Dave currently works as an Academic Staff Development Officer in the learning and  teaching team in Organisational Development & Professional Learning (formerly the University’s Staff and Departmental Development Unit), and is the holder of a developmental University Student Education Fellowship.

In addition to his academic interests Dave is a keen pianist and acts as a rehearsal accompanist for amateur dramatics groups in the Bradford and Leeds area.

Research Interests

Perceived emotional meaning in music

Music psychology

Film music and the role of music in audiovisual media

Musical semiotics

Interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity


Current modules:
MUSS1824 – Film Music: From text to interpretation*
MUSS1920 – Introduction to the Psychology of Music*
MUSS2920 – The Psychology of Listening and Performance
MUSS3140 – Dissertation*
MUSS3940 – Music Psychology
MUSS5030M – Professional Studies

MUSS5931M – Case Studies in the Applied Psychology of Music*
PECI1710 – Performance, Theatre and Music: Interdisciplinary approaches

* = Module leader


Previous modules:
MUSS1030 – Music in History and Culture
MUSS1110 – Music Research Skills
MUSS1520 – Introduction to the Sciences of Music*
MUSS1813 – The Best of Broadway*
MUSS2020 – Interpreting Music
MUSS2320 – Performance
MUSS2325 – Studies in Musical Performance
MUSS3130 – Independent Project
MUSS3325 – Applied Project
MUSS5162M – Dissertation
MUSS5165M – Music and Management Project*
MUSI5932M – Research Techniques in the Applied Psychology of Music


Assessment Lead & Academic Integrity Officer

Ensemble Performance co-ordinator (2015/16-2016/17)

MA Applied Psychology of Music programme leader (2014/15)


Journal articles

  • Ireland DI (2017) “Great Expectations? The Changing Role of Audiovisual Incongruence in Contemporary Multimedia”, Music and the Moving Image. 10.3: 21-35.
    DOI: 10.5406/musimoviimag.10.3.0021, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/115828/

  • Ireland DI (2015) “Deconstructing incongruence: A psycho-semiotic approach towards difference in the film-music relationship”, Music and the Moving Image. 8.2: 48-57.
    DOI: 10.5406/musimoviimag.8.2.0048, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/114062/

    This article summarizes the incongruent perspective, a psycho-semiotic approach towards the study of film-music difference that is contextualized by poststructuralist thought. Examples are cited from empirical research conducted alongside the initial theoretical deconstruction to demonstrate: how the perspective theorizes various levels of film-music difference, and their impact upon perceiver experience and response; and the ways in which empirical studies can facilitate inter- and multidisciplinary conceptual deconstruction.

  • Ireland DI (2015) “Book review - 'Music and Familiarity: Listening, Musicology and Performance' edited by Elaine King and Helen M. Prior”, British Journal of Music Education. 32.2: 239-242.

  • Ireland DI (2014) “Singin' over Rainbows: The incongruent film song and extra-filmic reception”, The Soundtrack. 7.2: 119-132.


  • Ireland DI (2018) “'Today I'm hearing with new ears': John Williams's use of audiovisual incongruence to convey character perspective in Munich and Spielberg's historical films”, In: Audissino E (eds.) John Williams: Music for films, television, and the concert stage. Turnhout: Brepolis. 309-325

  • Ireland DI (2012) “'It's a sin [...] using Ludwig van like that. He did no harm to anyone, Beethoven just wrote music': The role of the incongruent soundtrack in the representation of the cinematic criminal”, In: Gregoriou C (eds.) Constructing Crime: Discourse and cultural representations of crime and 'deviance'. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. 97-111

Conference papers

  • Ireland DI (2016) Great expectations? The changing role of audiovisual incongruence in contemporary multimedia. Music for Audiovisual Media II, University of Leeds

  • Ireland DI, Windsor WL (2016) Exploring incongruence: Shared semantic properties and judgments of appropriateness in film-music pairings. 14th International Conference for Music Perception and Cognition, San Francisco

  • Ireland DI (2016) Great Expectations? The changing role of audiovisual incongruence in contemporary multimedia. Music and the Moving Image XI, NYU Steinhardt

  • Ireland DI (2015) A mixed-methods deconstruction of audiovisual (in)congruence in the opening sequence of 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'. Music and the Moving Image X, NYU Steinhardt

  • Ireland DI, Windsor WL (2015) Measuring and modeling perceived emotion and audiovisual incongruence between film and music. International Conference on the Multimodal Experience of Music, University of Sheffield

  • Ireland DI (2014) Interpreting incongruence: Audio-visual difference, identification, and a sense of location in 'L4yer Cake'. Music and the Moving Image IX, NYU Steinhardt

  • Ireland DI (2014) Interpreting incongruence: Audio-visual difference (and similarity) in Marvin Hamlisch's score for 'The Informant!'. Music and Screen Media Conference, University of Liverpool

  • Ireland DI (2013) Audiovisual incongruence within the opening battle sequence from 'Gladiator'. Music and the Moving Image VIII, NYU Steinhardt

  • Ireland DI (2013) Deconstructing incongruence: A psycho-semiotic approach towards difference in the film-music relationship. Symposium on Film Music and Experimental Methods: How does film music mean? Lund University

  • Ireland DI (2012) Deconstructing incongruence: An exploration of the relationship between the dimensions on which audio-visual fit can be judged and of their impact on perception and response. Music and the Moving Image VII, NYU Steinhardt

  • Ireland DI (2012) The incongruent film song and extra-filmic reception. The afterlife of the film song symposium, University of Western England, Bristol

  • Ireland DI (2011) 'Here's where it makes the most sense': Mozart, harmonics and incongruence in 'The Shawshank Redemption'. Film Music Conference, University of Leeds

  • Ireland DI, Redhead L (2011) 'A tune perhaps not readily recognisable, even by it's own composer': Reading collaboration and signification in 'The Draughtsman's Contract' after Derrida. Film Music Conference, University of Leeds

  • Ireland DI (2011) The incongruent soundtrack as narrative strategy. Music, Film, Narrativity - RMA Study Day, University of Hull

  • Ireland DI (2011) Incongruence as perspective: A psycho-semiotic approach to perceived meaning and audience interaction with incongruent film music. Music and the Moving Image VI, NYU Steinhardt

  • Ireland DI (2010) Identifying incongruence: Re-examining the film soundtrack. Music and the Moving Image V, NYU Steinhardt

  • Ireland DI (2010) 'It's a sin [...] Using Ludwig van like that! He did no harm to anyone. Beethoven just wrote music': The role of the incongruent soundtrack in the representation of the cinematic criminal. Constructing Crime: Discourse and Cultural Representations of Crime and Deviance, University of Leeds

  • Ireland DI (2009) The Word is not Enough: Leitmotif re-contextualised through analysis of the evolution of the 'James Bond theme' in 'Casino Royale'. Film Music Conference, University of Leeds

Research Projects & Grants

(2008-2011): University of Leeds University Research Scholarship for PhD study

(2010): RMA/SMI student grant towards presenting a paper at the Music and the Moving Image V conference at New York University.

PhD Thesis

The influence of incongruence on perceived emotional meaning within the film soundtrack.
Funded by a University Research Scholarship.
Supervised by Dr Luke Windsor and Prof. David Cooper

The terms ‘congruence’ and ‘incongruence’ recur throughout a body of experiments designed to investigate the perception of film music. These studies suggest that congruent film-music relationships result in joint encoding of auditory and visual information. Conversely, incongruent relationships can result in independent encoding processes which direct attention to the component parts of a scene: this may influence the perception of meaning and emotional response. Accordingly, certain incongruent film-music combinations can be highly emotive and memorable whilst others may be significantly less so. However, the terms are not explicitly defined within the literature and whilst congruence implies fit, incongruence can connote inappropriate or misfitting elements within a relationship. Similarities can be identified with terms used to describe the film-music relationship, such as ‘parallel’ and ‘counterpoint’, which have also become dichotomies that do not reflect the levels on which such combinations can be judged: in reality, these judgements are multidimensional, context-dependent and highly subjective.


Multi- and interdisciplinary study provides an effective approach which can facilitate greater understanding of the potential impact of film-music (in)congruence. This thesis seeks to reconcile information that can be obtained when incongruence is studied on perceptual and analytical levels. It is suggested that incongruence can be more holistically represented when (re)defined as ‘a lack of shared dimensions’ and when the various contextual influences and dimensions on which this audiovisual difference can be judged are considered from a psycho-semiotic perspective. This perspective incorporates: experimental work; analytical case-studies; and conceptual study which draws upon poststructuralist philosophy, semiotic approaches, and the history and aesthetics of film music. The incongruent perspective demonstrates how various methodologies can contextualise and complement each other to provide insight into subjective judgements, exposing dichotomies and hegemonic influences, in order to reflect the various contextual and subjective influences which can affect a perceiver’s interactions with film.

© Copyright Leeds 2018