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Paolo Ribaldini

23.9.1986 Mantova, Italy

BA student 2013 - (pop/jazz music), Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
PhD student 2012 - (musicology), University of Helsinki
MA, 2011, music (violin), Mantova Conservatory
MA, 2010, philosophy, Verona University
BA, 2008, philosophy, Verona University

Main lecturer and coordinator, “Heavy Metal music in contemporary history and society” –course, Helsinki Summer School 2015

Research interests: Heavy metal, popular music, music philosophy, music history, music analysis


Black Sabbath and the creation of musical meaning in the Devil’s topos. Proceedings of the international Conference for Music Semiotics, University of Edinburgh, October 2012.
A conference report from the Royal Musical Association Music and Philosophy Study Group 3rd Annual Conference, King’s College (London). Musiikin suunta, 4, 2013.
Classic Heavy Metal and World War I. New Sound, May 2015, ed. prof. Dario Martinelli. University of Belgrade
Heavy Metal vocals. A terminology compendium. Modern Heavy Metal: Markets, Practices and Cultures, ed. Toni-Matti Karjalainen & Kimi Kärki. 2015.

CIMO Finnish Scholarship Government Pool –grant 2013

Photo: Rita Miklán
Written by Paolo Ribaldini (Tiia Niemelä, ed.)

From Italy to Finland

The idea of starting my PhD studies took form at the end of 2011, after a chat with a friend who had just received his acceptance to Oxford. Since the very beginning I wanted to combine my philosophic and musical backgrounds, and right at that time my interests began to rapidly encompass wider views than just classical music. Then I decided: heavy metal it had to be. I sent many tentative e-mails and study plans to universities all over the Nordic Countries and Great Britain. Dr. Esa Lilja from the University of Helsinki clearly showed the strongest enthusiasm for my research plan and my profile. I decided to meet him on a one-week trip here, where I also attended a doctoral seminar and met Professor Eero Tarasti. In May 2012 my research proposal was accepted and I moved to Helsinki at the beginning of the fall.

Curiously enough, I knew little or nothing about Finland except the obvious generalities of the country. Unlike many people whose primary aim was ‘moving to Finland’, I did it just as a side-effect of a different life project. But I’m really happy I did it. Living abroad and being a foreigner is always tough and I have had my share of hardships during the last three years, but I have also experienced some of the most amazing adventures in my life so far. I have met extraordinary people, made music with astounding musicians, discussed and interacted with some of the most brilliant scholars around. I’m aware difficulties never come to an end but I hope I’ll do fine here. My only regret so far is that I haven’t travelled much through Finland, but I suppose the time for that will come at some point as well.

Paolo Ribaldini took part in the tv-show The Voice of Finland in 2015. He was in the team of ex-Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen. Photo © Matti Matikainen


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