Music

Publications

Our academic staff regularly publish monographs, contribute to journals, edit research collections and contribute to anthologies. You can see some of these publications below:

Sounding wild spaces: inclusive mapmaking through multispecies listening across scales

Alice Eldridge, Jonathan Carruthers-Jones and Roger Norum (2020) In: Bull, Michael and Cobussen, Marcel (eds.) The Bloomsbury handbook of sonic methodologies. Bloomsbury Handbooks . Bloomsbury academic, New YorkBook cover for 'Bloomsbury handbook of sonic methodologies'

Might listening across scales help us understand, map and protect wild spaces? This chapter considers the potential for listening methods to integrate ethnographic, cartographic, geological and ecological perspectives toward more inclusive map-making. Effective conservation policy and planning must be evidence-based and represent the needs of all species living, working, playing and otherwise becoming in wild spaces. However traditionally methods and frameworks are selected which intrinsically prioritise one perspective over another: satellite imagery maps macro vegetation and structures of the built environment; site-based ecological surveys for flora and fauna give some detail of which organisms dwell at particular sites; and participatory walking methods are increasingly being used to access the knowledge, perception and values of various human stakeholders. These methods stem from diverse disciplines between which there is little interaction or methodological integration, meaning perspectives are de facto incomplete. We need new ways to create maps which integrate empirical, ecological and geophysical data at scale, with personal, particular existences, experiences and knowledges of the myriad non-human and human species which both sustain and depend upon wild spaces. This chapter takes as its point of departure the multi-disciplinary project WILDSENS, which places the acoustic environment (or soundscape) as the locus of interaction of human and non-human actors and processes, biotic and abiotic processes. Set in the Arctic Lapland – one of Europe's largest remaining wildernesses – the project explores methods of listening at and across different scales as a means to integrate empirical and experiential methods, big and small data in the creation of maps of wilderness spaces, and participatory engagement in wild spaces. We describe the impetus, experience and initial insights from recent pilot field work in Abisko on the edge of Europe's largest remaining wilderness, in northern Swedish Lapland. With multi-disciplinary backgrounds in cultural anthropology, soundscape ecology, human geography and the environmental humanities, we carried out ethnographic and ecological methods to engage with the local landscape, wildlife and key local actors from the tourism sector, urban planning, climate research and communication. By figuring the soundscape as the locus of interaction, we consider possible ways to bring both social and ecological matters of concern into earshot for future generations.

Syncphonia: understanding the value of participatory design in developing music technology to support musical ensembles that use notation

Ed Hughes, Alice Eldridge and Chris Kiefer (2020) Journal of Music, Technology and Education, 13 (1)

The benefits of ensemble performance are well recognized; notation supports group performance, but cuts in music education and changing musical cultures mean that notation is increasingly perceived as a barrier to entry. In an extended participatory design (PD) project, we co-designed and developed a software system for networked notation called Syncphonia with the aim of enhancing access to and experience of notation-based ensemble performance. In previous work, our formal evaluation and informal observations and feedback revealed a wide range of benefits. In this article, we are concerned with articulating the knowledge generated and insights gained through this extended PD process. To do so, we employ a framework for systematic reflection that has been designed to support investigation into the tacit knowledge generated in participatory design. Through this method, we focus inward and share three insights into the value of networked notation in contemporary musical cultures; we also look outward and articulate five approaches to PD with musical ensembles that might benefit others adopting this rich research method. A pluralistic and inclusive vision of notation is espoused and speculation is submitted that a dynamic, networked notation might ameliorate the boundaries between composing, improvising and performing to the benefit of all three.

What is post-punk?: Genre and identity in avant-garde popular music, 1977-82

Mimi Haddon (2020) Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Press, MichiganCover for What is Post punk book

Popular music in the US and UK during the late 1970s and early 1980s was wildly eclectic and experimental. “Post-punk,” as it was retroactively labeled, could include electro-pop melodies, distorted guitars, avant-garde industrial sounds, and reggae beats, and thus is not an easily definable musical category.

What Is Post-Punk? combines a close reading of the late-1970s music press discourse with musical analyses and theories of identity to unpack post-punk’s status as a genre. Mimi Haddon traces the discursive foundations of post-punk across publications such as Sounds, ZigZag, Melody Maker, the Village Voice, and the NME, and presents case studies of bands including Wire, PiL, Joy Division, the Raincoats, and Pere Ubu. By positioning post-punk in relation to genres such as punk, new wave, dub, and disco, Haddon explores the boundaries of post-punk, and reveals it as a community of tastes and predilections rather than a stylistically unified whole. Haddon diversifies the discourse around post-punk, exploring both its gender and racial dynamics and its proto-industrial aesthetics to restore the historical complexity surrounding the genre’s terms and origins.

Sonic writing: technologies of material, symbolic, and signal inscriptions

Thor Magnusson (2019)  Bloomsbury Academic, New YorkBook cover for 'Sonic Writing'

Sonic Writing explores how contemporary music technologies trace their ancestry to previous forms of instruments and media. Studying the domains of instrument design, musical notation, and sound recording under the rubrics of material, symbolic, and signal inscriptions of sound, the book describes how these historical techniques of sonic writing are implemented in new digital music technologies. With a scope ranging from ancient Greek music theory, medieval notation, early modern scientific instrumentation to contemporary multimedia and artificial intelligence, it provides a theoretical grounding for further study and development of technologies of musical expression. The book draws a bespoke affinity and similarity between current musical practices and those from before the advent of notation and recording, stressing the importance of instrument design in the study of new music and projecting how new computational technologies, including machine learning, will transform our musical practices.

Sonic Writing offers a richly illustrated study of contemporary musical media, where interactivity, artificial intelligence, and networked devices disclose new possibilities for musical expression. Thor Magnusson provides a conceptual framework for the creation and analysis of this new musical work, arguing that contemporary sonic writing becomes a new form of material and symbolic design--one that is bound to be ephemeral, a system of fluid objects where technologies are continually redesigned in a fast cycle of innovation.

New REFRAME website: Composing the Historical from Ed Hughes


REFRAME - the School's open access, multi-media publishing platform - is delighted to introduce a new website and project, Composing the Historical: Historical Texts in Music of Today. The project was devised, curated and edited by Ed HughesMimi Haddon and Evelyn Ficarra, and features interviews with Evelyn Ficarra, Roxanna Panufnik, Shirley Thompson OBE, Judith Weir CBE, Rowland Sutherland, Kerry Andrew, Martin Butler, Tom Armstrong and Ed Hughes. Through these interviews, this project asks why and how some of their work engages with pre-existing texts.
 
Does this work imply nuanced affinities with historical methods and practices that enrich musical language today with perspectives and ‘voices’ from other times? Does this work speak to tensions between modernist and post-modernist perspectives in composition? And how does transformation work in their music, tracing studies in compositional models into novel and original expression offering new musical experiences for today’s audiences?
 
Visit the website to check out the interviews as well as Ed Hughes’ fascinating Introduction to the site.

Biologically inspired and agent-based algorithms for music

Alice Eldridge and Oliver Bown (2018) Biologically inspired and agent-based algorithms for music. In: Dean, Roger T and McLean, Alex (eds.) The Oxford handbook of algorithmic music. Oxford University Press, New YorkBook cover for The Oxford Handbook of Algorithmic Music'

For all of humankind’s creative achievements, we in turn were made by a more powerful creative force: biological evolution. Since Darwin and Wallace’s great revelation (Darwin, 1861), it has become widely accepted that the astonishingly beautiful and complex structure and behaviours of the living world have taken shape through a remarkable process that is mechanical, blind and purposeless. This sublime beauty has inspired art since its primitive beginnings, but whereas we have always incorporated natural form in our paintings, sculpture and music, artists working with code now draw upon processes of the natural world.
The arrival of general purpose computers in the middle of the last century transformed not only science, but compositional practice in ways that are documented throughout this book. Of importance to this chapter, it enabled us to harness behaviours inspired by natural systems, formalised by biologists and computer scientists into algorithms, in order to develop, perform and compose with software instruments. We now borrow from the designs of specific biological organisms, and the properties and processes of complex natural systems, as well as from the creative mechanism of evolution itself.

In this chapter we examine a range of approaches to algorithmic music making inspired by biological systems. In doing so we cover topics that are located at the intersection of contemporary music and computer science and the study of creativity: optimisation and problem-solving using evolutionary methods; emergence, self-organisation and complexity; adaptive behaviour; and autonomy and self-determination. Section 1.1 provides a brief historical context of the core intellectual, musical and social movements which influence contemporary creative practice. Section 1.2 provides a primer in the concepts and tools developed for the study of systems which are foundational to the specific approaches described in the following sections.
Endeavours in this field are often hybrid and idiosyncratic and cannot be neatly categorised. Nevertheless we organise an overview of the key musical motivations, concepts and computational methods of the field under four themes which map the topics above. Section 2, Evolutionary Search, outlines the application of evolutionary computation to design issues and opportunities associated with algorithmic music. In Section 3, Multi-Agent Compositions, we look at the ways in which agent-based modelling has been used to compose emergent, self-organising music. Section 4, considers how the study of adaptive behaviour has inspired the design and realisation of Adaptive Collaborators – interactive software systems which begin to enable active electro-acoustic partnerships. Many of these ideas come together in Section 5, which describes the development of Creative Ecosystems inspired by ecological principles. We end with a discussion of some of the critical themes for future work.

Proceedings of the 2016 International Conference on Live Interfaces

Thor Magnusson, Chris Kiefer, Sam Duffy (2016) Proceedings of the 2016 International Conference on Live Interfaces. Live Interfaces, 3 . Emute Lab + REFRAME Books, Brighton

The proceedings of the Live Interfaces conference are the outcome of a five-day gathering at the University of Sussex's Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts in June 2016. The biennial ICLI conference is interdisciplinary and practice-based, unique in that it focuses on the role of performance interfaces across all of the performing arts. This year it became clear that ICLI has become an established platform for people operating in diverse sections of the arts to meet and discuss the embodied use of technology in live performance. With a focus on practice, the conference emphasised the role of performances, workshops and installations as well as papers and posters.

With submissions from musicians, dancers, roboticists, brain scientists, visual artists, philosophers, animators, sculpturists, and more, the proceedings illustrate the range of activities encompassed by this lively platform for knowledge exchange and new performance practices. The proceedings were peer reviewed and include long and short papers, doctoral colloquium papers, performance installation and workshop descriptions, as well as some documentation of the event itself.

Beckett and musicality

Sara Jane Bailes and Nicholas Till, eds. (2014) Beckett and musicality. Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey, England/Burlington, US

Discussion concerning the ’musicality’ of Samuel Beckett’s writing now constitutes a familiar critical trope in Beckett Studies, one that continues to be informed by the still-emerging evidence of Beckett’s engagement with music throughout his personal and literary life, and by the ongoing interest of musicians in Beckett’s work. In Beckett’s drama and prose writings, the relationship with music plays out in implicit and explicit ways. Several of his works incorporate canonical music by composers such as Schubert and Beethoven. Other works integrate music as a compositional element, in dialogue or tension with text and image, while others adopt rhythm, repetition and pause to the extent that the texts themselves appear to be ’scored’. But what, precisely, does it mean to say that a piece of prose or writing for theatre, radio or screen, is ’musical’? The essays included in this book explore a number of ways in which Beckett’s writings engage with and are engaged by musicality, discussing familiar and less familiar works by Beckett in detail. Ranging from the scholarly to the personal in their respective modes of response, and informed by approaches from performance and musicology, literary studies, philosophy, musical composition and creative practice, these essays provide a critical examination of the ways we might comprehend musicality as a definitive and often overlooked attribute throughout Beckett’s work.

The Cambridge Companion to Opera Studies

Nicholas Till  2012, The Cambridge Companion to Opera Studies, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 

Dysphoric States: Stravinsky's topics - huntsmen, soldiers and shepherds

 Nicholas Mckay 2012, in Music Semiotics: a network of significations in honour and memory of Raymond Monelle, Ashgate

original soundtracks to filmsThe Student Comedies

Ed Hughes 2012. Hughes, Ed. Original soundtracks to four silent films: ‘Days of Youth’ (1929), ‘I Flunked, But...’ (1930), ‘The Lady and the Beard’ (1931), ‘Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth’ (1932) in ‘The Student Comedies’ DVD. BFIVD927. (London: British Film Institute, 2012)

 

 

Original soundtrackThree Melodramas

Ed Hughes 2012. Hughes, Ed. Original soundtrack to silent film ‘Woman of Tokyo’ (Ozu, Japan, 1933) in ‘Three Melodramas’. DVD. BFIVD950. (London: British Film Institute, 2012)

 

Music CDDark Formations

Ed Hughes 2012.
Hughes, Ed. 'Quartet', 'Chamber Concerto', 'Dark Formations', 'Strike!', 'Light Cuts Through Dark Skies', 'Orchids',
'A Buried Flame' in  Dark Formations. CD. Metier MSV28530 2 CD set. Brandon, Vermont, USA: Divine Art Ltd, 2012.

Dark Formations

 

Orpheus Conquistadoropera indigene

Nicholas Till 2011 in: Opera Indigene: Re/Presenting First Nations and Indigenous Culture, Ashagate 

Hearing Voices - Transcriptions of the Phonogram of a Schizophrenic: Music Theatre for Performer and Audio-Visual Media

 

Hearing Voices - Transcriptions of the Phonogram of a Schizophrenic: Music Theatre for Performer and Audio-Visual Media

Nicholas Till 2011.
In: Matthias Rebstock, David Roesner ed. Composed Theatre: Aesthetics, Practices, Processes
Intellect Books, chapter 9

Composed Theatre

Registi all'opera

 

Registi All'Opera

Francesco Ceraolo, ‘Per un teatro post-operistico: Adorno, Badiou, Till’ and Nicholas Till e l'(anti)manifesto' 
In: Francesco Ceraolo Registi All’Opera: Note sull’etstetica della regia operistica (Bulzoni, Rome), 2011.  

Bulzoni  Editore

Auditorium: Sophy Rickett and Ed Hughes

 

Auditorium

Nicholas Till, "Auditorium"
In: "Auditorium: A film by Sophie Rickett with music by Ed Hughes", editors John Gill and David Chandler
Brighton: Photoworks

Auditorium

 

Oh, to make boardes to speak!theatre and performance

Nicholas Till 2010 in:  Theatre and Performance Design: A Reader in Scenography , Routledge 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Idomeneo

Idomeneo and the background of the Enlightenment

Nicholas Till 2010.
In: Gary Kahn ed. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Idomeneo
Oneworld Classics

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Idomeneo.

 

Fado and the Place of Longing: loss, memory and the city

Richard Elliott 2010 Fado and the Place for Longing: loss, memory and the city, Ashgate

 

Ethnic Cleansing, anxious influence and secrete codes: a semiotician's guide to Stravinsky's musicological afterlife and its archeological contrafactumbefore and after music

Nicholas McKay 2010 in Before and After Music: Proceedings of the 10th International Congress on
Musical Signification
, Umweb

 

Stefano Gervasoni - Pas Si

Nicholas Till 2009 in Pour une Scene Actuelle, L'Harmatton

The Opera Quarterly

Review: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Così fan tutte

Nicholas Till 2009
The Opera Quarterly 25(1-2)
Oxford Journals

The Opera Quarterly