Street Music


This Research Group studies street music in all its forms, historical and contemporary.


Dr Paul Watt, Monash University (Music)


For centuries, the street has been a site for making music. Itinerant musicians, street-vendors, buskers and beggars have played, sung, chanted, whistled, eavesdropped, stolen and improvised music on or near streets. Travel writers, novelists and ethnographers have attempted to capture the music of the street while the police, moral reformers, and governments have sought to control, regulate and sometimes legislate against the noise of streets arising from musical activity.

Work in Progress

Dr Sarah Chaker and Dr Paul Watt will be attending the Vienna Buskers’ Festival on 9–11 September 2017 and plans are underway to hold a conference in Vienna at the same time.

Recent Publications

  • ‘Street Music: Ethnography, Performance, Theory’, special issue of Journal of Musicological Research 35/2 (2016) edited by Dr Paul Watt
  • ‘Street Music: Histories and Historiographies’, special issue of Nineteenth-Century Music Review, edited by Paul Watt (Forthcoming)
  • Julia Quilter and Luke McNamara, ‘”Long May the Buskers Carry On Busking”: Street Music and the Law in Melbourne and Sydney, Melbourne University Law Review, 39/2 (2016): 539–91.

Recent Conferences

Funded by the Monash Research Accelerator Program an International Conference on Street Music was held on 8–9 December 2014.
View the conference program (PDF)