Tobias Pontara


Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 200
405 30 Göteborg

About Tobias Pontara


My research lies at the intersection between cultural theory, philosophical aesthetics, and audiovisual studies. In my earlier research project Creativity and Justification: The Epistemology and Methodology of Critical Interpretation in Musical Research I focused on issues of methodology, epistemology and interpretation in relation to three disciplinary fields: historical musicology, film music studies and the philosophy of music. In the recently completed research project Tarkovsky’s Soundtracks: The Significance of Music and Sound in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Cinema (funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond) I examined the role and function of music and sound in the films of Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. The project issued in the monograph Andrei Tarkovsky’s Sounding Cinema: Music and Meaning from Solaris to The Sacrifice (Routledge, 2020).

My ongoing research is concerned with questions of how traditional ideas and beliefs about classical music are reproduced, challenged and subverted in contemporary screen media fictions. I am also the project leader for the research project Classical Music for a Mediatized World: Visual and Audiovisual Representations of Western Art Music in Contemporary Media and Society (funded by the Swedish Research Council 2018-2023):

In 2023 I will start on a new research project titled Conspiracy soundtracks: The role of music and sound in audiovisually mediated conspiracy theoretical discourse (funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, 2023-2026). The purpose of the project is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the roles played by soundtrack elements – sound effects, music, voice, silence – in audiovisually mediated conspiracy- theoretical discourse. The overall research question is: to what extent and in what ways can the sonic dimension be regarded as central for effective communication and persuasion in the spreading of conspiracy theoretical content?


My teaching covers most areas of musicology: music history, music theory and analysis, popular music, film music, contemporary composition techniques, music and cultural theory, the aesthetics and philosophy of music, feminist perspectives in musicology, music and media theory, opera and ethnomusicology. I havesupervised a number of student essays on all levels and has also functioned as supervisor for several doctoral theses. I have a special interest in pedagogical questions that concern how musicological teaching can be more research-oriented, problem-focused and student-active.