Research Output
City Narratives in Music: Creating musical works that reflect urban realities relating to Valletta
  This dissertation presents a series of musical works built on city narratives, following a four-year-long research process into the city of Valletta, capital city of Malta. It looks at the city’s many narratives, including personal, communal, and historical. The city is examined not simply as a collection of spaces but as the sum of its narratives, and through the creative process of musical
composition these are preserved, investigated, and extended.

The works form part of a broader discourse relating to cities and communities, and the challenges being faced. As more people move into cities, a lot of stories risks being eradicated through gentrification, demographic displacements, property speculation, and a host of other issues; issues which are strongly felt in Valletta. Thus Valletta’s microcosm becomes a concentration of a wider set of challenges that are affecting communities all around the world, with the issues tackled in this research being relevant outside of Valletta’s direct geographical and cultural spheres of influence.

The research combines a diverse approach to narrative extracted from documentary sources, interviews, and fieldwork. The result is a portfolio with three different works that look at Valletta’s narratives from different perspectives. The Piano Concerto No. 2 (scored for piano and wind band) takes the physical city space as its starting point, and explores the way in which that space is both the result and the catalyst for the myriad of human activity that constitutes the city. Sinfonija Beltija (A Valletta Symphony) looks beyond Valletta’s physical space and brings together diverse elements from identity, community ritual, football, folklore, and much more. The third work is Antifonarju Belti (Valletta Antiphonary) which uses the festa antiphon (a sacred musical form which is particular to Malta) as a means of exploring the spiritual dimension of Valletta.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    03 July 2019

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    M1 Music

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    780 Music

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Vella Gregory, A. City Narratives in Music: Creating musical works that reflect urban realities relating to Valletta. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



cities; Valletta; narratives; communities; music; identity

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