Tom Hall is a UK-based Australian composer, performer and writer on music, notation and music technology with interests in both acoustic and live electronic music. Much of his music combines composed, algorithmic and improvisatory elements often using multichannel sound or individually experienced mobile sound. Recent collaborative and practice-based research performances and installations share some form of digital notations with the audiences and involve the notion of slowness. His music involving voice has often engaged with the work of the writer Gerald Murnane.
Tom Hall's musicological interests include early tape, electronic and UK computer music (including that of Peter Zinovieff and his collaborations with Harrison Birtwistle). A current area of research is around the music of Morton Feldman in relation to notation and technology.
Areas of specialism
University roles and responsibilities
- BMus (Creative Music Technology) Programme Director
Postgraduate research supervision
Music-making and composition involving music technology, including in the area of spatial audio is a current area of supervision. I have more interest in potentially non-linear and text-based computer music software environments over sequencers and traditional DAWs.
I am interested in supervising projects that consider alternatives to the usual fixed-media two-channel presentation and performance of music involving technology, especially as mediated by mobile sound and/or new approaches to notation via technology. Historical works involving notations for electronic music are also of interest.
A list of current opportunities for competitive PhD scholarships is maintained by the Surrey Doctoral College.
2020-09-20. Performance: Birtwistle, H., Zinovieff, P., Hall, T., 2020. 'Four Interludes For a Tragedy', with newly restored tape part (Zinovieff / Hall). Soloists of Elision Ensemble, perf. Carl Rosman (clarinet). KM28, Berlin, Germany.
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.
Part of Atmospheres, The third annual Practice Research Symposium at the University of Surrey. Ivy Arts Centre, University of Surrey, Guildford.
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
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.
A constant within the arts that involve performance is the notion of sharing with an audience. In what follows, I will discuss this idea in connection with two electronic music performances that opened the Visualise ‘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 show an audience aspects of the music’s structure that may otherwise remain unseen and unheard, as it being performed?
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