Dr Tom Hall


Senior Lecturer in Creative Music Technology
DPhil, MA, BA (Hons)

Academic and research departments

Department of Music and Media.

Biography

Areas of specialism

experimental music; computer music; sound art; music notations; live electronic improvisation; computer-assisted composition; mobile audio; spatial audio; Morton Feldman; John Cage; Peter Zinovieff; Gerald Murnane

University roles and responsibilities

  • BMus (Creative Music Technology) Programme Director

Supervision

Postgraduate research supervision

Courses I teach on

Undergraduate

Postgraduate taught

My publications

Highlights

2017-09-10. Performance. Private Papers (2017), for choir, instruments and electronics. Commissioned by the Astra Chamber Music Society. Performed by the Astra Choir conducted by John McCaughey, with guest instrumentalists and sound diffusion by the composer. Concert 3f of festival NOW AND THEN, A mini-multi-celebration of voices & electronics from past & present. Church of All Nations, cnr. Palmerston & Drummond Streets, Carlton, Melbourne, Australia

Rohrhuber, J., Hall, T. and de Campo, A., 2011. Dialects, Constraints and Systems within Systems. In: N. Collins, D. M. Cottle, and S. Wilson, eds. 2011. The SuperCollider Book. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Publications

Tom Hall and Drew Milne (2018). Lichen Beacons (concert version)
Hall, T (2016). Pitchcircle3D: A Case Study in Live Notation for Interactive Music Performance
View abstract View full publication
Recent decades have seen the establishment of computer software live notations intended as music scores, affording new modes of interaction between composers, improvis- ers, performers and audience. This paper presents a live notations project situated within the research domains of al- gorithmic music composition, improvisation, performance and software interaction design. The software enables the presentation of live animated scores which display 2D and 3D pitch-space representations of note collections including a spiral helix and pitch-class clock. The software has been specifically engineered within an existing sound synthesis environment, SuperCollider, to produce tight integration be- tween sound synthesis and live notation. In a performance context, the live notation is usually presented as both music score and visualisation to the performers and audience re- spectively. The case study considers the performances of two of the author’s contrasting compositions utilising the software. The results thus far from the project demonstrate the ways in which the software can afford different models of algorithmic and improvised interaction between the com- poser, performers and the music itself. Also included is a summary of feedback from musicians who have used the software in public music performances over a number of years
Hall, T (2015). The Mask: Birtwistle’s electronic music collaborations with Peter Zinovieff
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Harrison Birtwistle’s involvement with electronic music is best known through The Mask of Orpheus (1973–5, 1981–3). Its important role within the opera was mapped out in the early stages by its librettist, Peter Zinovieff, an early pioneer of computer music. Following Orpheus Birtwistle effectively abandoned his interest in electronic music. Yet prior to the 1970s he had been one of only a handful of British composers working with the medium. From this time, Chronometer (1971–2), realized for tape playback by Zinovieff, has received some scholarly attention; however, the details and significance of Birtwistle’s collaborations with Zinovieff to date have not been sufficiently documented. This chapter explores the origins of the Birtwistle–Zinovieff partnership and provides an overview of their pioneering work. Chronometer is examined as a case study of this collaborative work, and Zinovieff’s plans for electronic music in The Mask of Orpheus are outlined, illustrating how they formed the basis of the electronic music later realized for the opera by Barry Anderson. The Birtwistle–Zinovieff partnership, it will be argued, produced richly connotative microcosms of compositional approaches that Birtwistle developed further elsewhere.
Hall, T. (2013). Sharing Electronic Music Performance
View abstract View full publication
A constant within the arts that involve performance is the notion of  with an audience. In what follows, I will discuss this idea in connection with two electronic music performances that opened the  ‘Poetry, Language, Code’ Summer Exhibition at the Ruskin Gallery (2012–06–21). Both took different though related approaches to this notion of sharing, involving visualisation and ‘live coding’ of electronic music. What motivates electronic musicians to share and  an audience aspects of the music’s structure that may otherwise remain unseen and unheard, as it being performed?
sharingVisualiseshow
Hall, T. (2013). Peter Zinovieff and Cultures of Electronic Music
Hall, T. (2007). Vague relations?: bar groupings and notational image in the late music of Morton Feldman
View abstract View full publication
Analysis of conventionally notated Western music typically ignores how a score looks on the page. This article is about the precise visual appearance of the late period manuscripts of Morton Feldman (1926–198), and how this appearance relates to processes and transformations that occur in other musical domains within the pieces, presenting challenges, dilemmas and opportunities for the analyst, performer and publisher. The notational techniques employed by Feldman underwent many changes in the 1950s and 60s, in sympathy with his later belief of “the almost hierarchical prominence I attribute to the notation’s effect on composition.” These techniques ranged from conventional notation, graphic notation, to a more standard notation where either the note durations or pitches were not specified. With a few exceptions, from 1969 Feldman employed entirely conventional notation,4 but on closer inspection this notation is often less conventional than it at first appears, and is our starting point here