Krisztián Hofstädter

sonic art

A 15 credit module where the cohort discussed the theoretical and practical aspects of sonic art and then produced work around these ideas.

time: Jan 2019

tags: teaching, academic, music

module code: MOD000600
module leader: Krisztián Hofstädter

submission examples


syllabus: week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12


This course involves the study of source recording, sonic manipulation and sonic installations. Although the course contains technical components, its focus is strictly aesthetic. A range of techniques will be examined, together with an investigation of current manifestations of Sonic Art in the UK and around the world, including installation art and bioacoustics.

Discussion and analysis of the potential links between sound, light, structure, ecology, location and image will lead to experiments and exercises in the aesthetic and technical creation of acousmatic spaces. Students will be expected to investigate their own performance/demonstration opportunities and compose/arrange/design their creations to take account of the site-specific performance/exhibition space.

Students will provide their collected exercises in a portfolio including a critical evaluation placing the student’s work in the context of current trends in sonic art as well as providing a basis for the students own criteria and judgement. ~ from Canvas


deadline: (week 11) Fri 12 April 2pm

what to submit?

  1. A project documented as a webpage on a GitHub repository.
  2. The webpage needs to succinctly describe your project with some text (between 300 - 500 words) and one short video (between 4 - 5 min).
  3. The repository needs to have a ‘’ file acting as your logbook.
  4. Other supporting material e.g. pictures, videos, sound files, programming code, etc. embedded in the website or hyperlinked from it, or uploaded to the repository.
  5. Please submit the url of your repository on Canvas.

The setup of a GitHub website is explained further in class. If you couldn’t attend this class, please check this tutorial. Planning, purpose and implementation for the project need to be in consultation with your module tutor. Progress needs to be demonstrated weekly with an up to date logbook.


week 1

introduction to the module

week 2


what is sonic art

your progress

class notes

week 3


terminology & categorisation

Let’s brainstorm about the following ideas and use them to come up with a system that we can use to measure the outcomes from previous Sonic Art classes.


week 4

your progress

previous CMT submissions

week 5

your progress

art of coffee


As it’s reading week:


week 6

your progress

The point is…whether in our schools of serious music we shall confine ourselves to finer and still finer degrees of perfection in the “interpretation” of past treasures, whether we shall go on devouring or unconsciously absorbing vibrating frankfurters to the point of melomaniacal satiety at which our appetite vanishes, or whether some few of us will chuck the music school, turn off the radio, and go into the kitchen and cook ourselves a nourishing meal. ~ Harry Partch: Genesis of a Music

Last week’s tasks:

1) refine your keywords;

2) write a good draft for an abstract;

3) use the keywords to look for references, ideas, books, academic papers, in

3.1. google scholar 3.2. the online library 3.3. the university library (the real/physical one with books you can touch and smell)

4) look through all Richard’s material I sent you a few weeks ago.

Add notes from 1-4 to your logbook.

art of coffee

week 7

week 8

A. GitHub Pages, HTML and Markdown Syntax

  1. Understand what a repository in GitHub is.
  2. Understand how to turn a repository into GitHub pages i.e. static website.
  3. Understand the difference between forking, cloning and downloading a repository.
  4. Understand the basics of Markdown and how it relates to HTML.
  5. Understand the relevance of a .css file for an aesthetic layout.
  6. Customise the style and arrangement of their one pager website.

In more detail here.

B. demonstrate your progress

C. most important advice

The assignments should be considered as your own projects, not something you have to do for me or the university. Follow the rules outlined in the module guide, assessment criteria, etc., however, please keep in mind that the outcomes of your assignments can (and should) become part of your professional portfolios, which you later can use for networking, job hunting, etc.

Due to different student experience and expectations, this outline can be subject to change. Detailed notes for each week will be added gradually to this website.

week 9

week 10

week 11

easter break

week 12


Christopher Cox: History of Sound Art

The presentation discusses what ‘Sound Art’ is with examples from Edison onwards. Some brief notes:

other ideas:

The Turner Price (BBC documentary)

Link: BOB

A History of Art in Three Colours (BBC documentary)

Part 3: White

Dr James Fox explores how, in the hands of artists, the colours gold, blue and white have stirred emotions, changed behaviour and even altered the course of history. In the Age of Reason, it was the rediscovery of the white columns and marbles of antiquity that made white the most virtuous of colours. For flamboyant JJ Wickelmann and British genius Josiah Wedgwood, white embodied all the Enlightenment values of justice, equality and reason.

Link: BOB


Carsten Nicolai

Physicist of Sound

Sound and science converge in Carsten Nicolai’s installation work, which perform autonomously to embrace the tension inherent in accidents.

Link: Youtube

Christian Marclay

5-minute documentary

Marclay discusses his interest in unwanted sound, his use of turntables, early examples of his art and more recent pieces too.

… thinking about sound and how it influences us. ~Marclay

Link: Youtube


Scrapheap Orchestra

Is it possible for musicians from the BBC Concert Orchestra to make beautiful sounds out of garbage? For the first time, an entire orchestra of 44 instruments is built from scrap. ~BBC

Links: BOB, Youtube


The Forum: The Real and the Virtual

with Eyal Gever, Robert Kaplan and Edmund de Waal

In this episode of the ideas discussion programme, Bridget Kendall brings together three people whose work takes them close to the dividing line of the tangible and intangible worlds.

Links: BOB, BBC


An Image of Sound

Photography and Sound (BBC4)

Photographer Andrew Heptinstall is embarking on a quest to see whether a photograph can deliver information over and above a pure image; details of the sound of a place that only the photographer could have known at the time of its capture. He spends a day on Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland with blind contemporary photographer Rosita McKenzie and meets Professor Fiona Macpherson, a philosopher from Glasgow University to gain an insight into human senses and perception. His many attempts over 6 months to capture the quality of sound within his /assets/img/ take him on a journey as far as Australia; yet he is only at the beginning of his journey as he continues to search for An Image of Sound. ~BBC4

Link: BOB