Ralph is writing a dissertation entitled "'A Light in Sound, a Sound-like Power in Light': Light and/as Visual Music," supervised by Prof. George Lewis. In this work, he considers the intersection between music and historical theories of color, the history of the musical instruments for light production ("color organs"), and music's importance to early twentieth-century light artists. He has presented his research on color organs and music's influence on light art at national and international conferences and has guest lectured on "visual music" in the Visual and Environmental Studies Department at Harvard University. He has also presented papers on the early history of sound recording, music and silent film, and Richard Strauss's American reception.
He regularly teaches the Core Curriculum "Masterpieces of Western Music" course at Columbia. In Spring 2018, he taught a class he designed on the history and theory of Hollywood film music as a GSAS Teaching Scholar. He is a member of the editorial board for Current Musicology and has chaired the Columbia Music Scholarship Conference.
Ralph began his education in the state sector in Scotland and at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where he studied double bass, piano, and composition. He went on to receive a first-class bachelor's degree and master's degree with distinction from King's College, London, where he worked with Prof. Roger Parker on film music. Before beginning his PhD at Columbia, Ralph spent a year as a commissioning editor at legal publisher, LexisNexis.