Marta Riccardi

Thesis title: Harmonic Language and Triadic Magic in the Last ‘Fantastic’ Operas by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov

University email:

Biography: Marta is a PhD candidate at the University of Liverpool, sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. After having completed a first-class honours BMus at the University of Edinburgh and a MA with distinction in Music Psychology at the University of Sheffield, she moved to Liverpool in 2019 to undertake a PhD. Her research focuses on late nineteenth-century harmonic practices, specifically in the works of Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. She is interested in examining the composer’s non-diatonic harmonic language in his last fantastic operas, exploring his use of symmetrical scales and chords. Her PhD is aimed at developing new analytical tools to elucidate the inner workings of Rimsky-Korsakov’s harmonic techniques.

Teaching and learning:

  • Introduction to Music Psychology (MUSI290)
  • Exploring Form, Rhythm and Musical Time (MUSI380)

Conference papers:

  • 'Exploring the Blending of Hexatonic and Octatonic in Rimsky-Korsakov's Operatic Output’. EuroMAC. 20-24 September 2021.
  • 'Magical Thirds Cycle in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Operatic Output’. Society for Music Analysis Annual Conference (BrumMAC). 28-30 July 2021
  • 'Equal Octave Divisions in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Operatic Output’. Institute for Russian Music Studies Conference. 14-17 July 2021
  • 'Eschewing Teleology: an Alternative Approach to Musical Development’. RMA/BFE Student Conference. 12-14 January 2021.
  • 'Equal Octave Divisions in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Operatic Output’. Gruppo Analisi e Teoria Musicale XVII Convegno. 26-29 November 2020.


  • Russian Music
  • Neo-Riemannian Theory
  • Transformation Theory
  • Music Theory and Analysis

Supervisors: Prof Kenneth Forkert-Smith and Prof Michael Spitzer