James Buhler

James Buhler Headshot

Professor of Theory Director of Graduate Studies

Director, Center for American Music

James Buhler received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996. His research interests include the history and theory of the sound track, the aesthetics and philosophy of virtual instruments, and critical theory. He is author of Theories of the Soundtrack (Oxford University Press, 2019) and along with David Neumeyer, Hearing the Movies (2015), now in its second edition. Along with David Neumeyer and Caryl Flinn, Professor Buhler edited Music and Cinema, a collection of essays on film music for Wesleyan University Press (2000). He is currently editing with Hannah Lewis Voicing the Cinema (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming) and with Mark Durrand Sounds Like Action!: Music in the Action Film (Routledge University Press, forthcoming). The working title of his next book project is Toward a Vococentric Cinema, which examines the role the sound track played in establishing the classical Hollywood style.

Toward a Vococentric Cinema (in preparation)

Theories of the Soundtrack. Oxford University Press, 2019 (release date: October 2018)

Hearing the Movies. Second Edition. With David Neumeyer. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Edited Collections
Music in Action Film: Sounds Like Action!. Routledge. With Mark Durrand (in preparation)

Voicing the Cinema. University of Illinois Press. With Hannah Lewis (in preparation)

Music and Cinema. Wesleyan University Press, 2000. With Caryl Flinn and David Neumeyer.
Selected Articles
“Blank Music: The Marketing of Music Production Software.” In Oxford Handbook on Music and Advertising, edited by James Deaville, Ron Rodman, Siu-Lan Tan. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

“The End(s) of Vococentrism.” In Voicing the Cinema, edited by James Buhler and Hannah Lewis. Illinois University Press, forthcoming.

“Cinematic Listening and the Early Talkie.” In The Oxford Handbook of Cinematic Listening, edited by Carlo Cenciarelli. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

“Silent Film, Music, and Fantasy During the Transition to Sound.” In The Routledge Companion to Global Film Music in the Early Sound Era, edited by Jeremy Barham. New York: Routledge, forthcoming.

“Branding the Franchise: Music, Opening Credits, and the (Corporate) Myth of Origin.” In Epic Music in Film: Spectacular Listening, edited by Stephen Meyer, 3-26. New York: Routledge, 2017.

Contact Information


Campus location
MRH 3.722

Teaching Areas

Music Theory 

Research Areas

History and Theory of the Sound Track 

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Virtual Instruments

Critical Theory

Areas of Assistance

Graduate Advising


Doctor of Philosophy
University of Pennsylvania