Dr Christopher Haworth BA, Mmus, PhD

Photograph of Dr Christopher Haworth

Department of Music
Senior Lecturer in Music (20th / 21st Century Musical Studies)

Contact details

Address
Room 214, Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

My scholarly interests lie in the broad areas of electronic music and sound art, which I research using a mixture of historiographic, philosophical, and ethnographic research methods. I also compose computer music, often incorporating principles from psychoacoustics, music psychology, and cybernetics.

Qualifications

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • PhD Queen’s University Belfast
  • Mmus Goldsmiths, University of London
  • BA Chelsea College of Art, London

Biography

Before arriving at Birmingham I was a Cheney Fellow in Culture at University of Leeds, where I worked on the application and development of computational methods to map and analyse musical-social relations online. I have also undertaken fellowships at University of Oxford, as a researcher on the ‘Music Digitisation Mediation: Towards Interdisciplinary Music Studies’ research programme; at McGill University, as an affiliate of the Improvisation, Community and Social Practice project; and at University of Calgary, as an Eyes High Postdoctoral Scholar in Composition.

Teaching

Modules taught on, convened and in development include:

    •    Experimental Music and Sound Art
    •    The Perception of Sound and Music
    •    Electronic Music Studies (w/ Luis-Manuel Garcia)
    •    Intro to Musicology
    •    Contemporary Music Studies (w/ Ryan Latimer)
    •    Popular and World Musics (w/ Alexander Cannon)
    •    Advanced Studies in Electroacoustic Music

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in hearing from potential PhD students with interests in any of the areas listed under my research and supervision.

• Experimental music, electronic music, media art, sound art
• History and critical theory of music technology
• Digital musicology
• British popular music
• Music and politics
• Practice-based research in above areas

I am currently the lead supervisor for:

• Gary Charles: ‘Composing Infinity: Speculative futures through creative practice in sound and vision’
• Jake Williams: ‘Composition with Digital DJ Technologies’
• Zach Dawson: X for Y Hours: Reimagining Open Duration After the Internet’
• Gabriel Montufar Gangotena: Portfolio of compositions


Find out more - our Music postgraduate study  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

Between 2019-21 I am an AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellow on Music and the Internet: Towards a Digital Sociology of Music. The project examines the changing cultural, aesthetic, social and political implications of the Internet and World Wide Web as they impact on musical and musicological practice from the mid-1990s to the present. A key contention of the project is that the study of culture in the last 30 years necessities new methods as the medial and material nature of historical sources and ethnographic sites are transformed by digitalisation. Addressed to the research objectives, these methods will analyse and visualise social and cultural data alongside more established methods of historical and ethnographic insight.

Right now I am examining the short-lived 'cyber theory' moment that accompanied mid-1990s hype for the internet and World Wide Web in Britain. It was not until the last years of the millennium that the consumer boom in PC sales and internet access took off in Europe and North America, but in 1994-5 the DIY underground was alive with speculative ideas about the changes that this shift would bring. In Britain, the rush of techno and hardcore played an important aesthetic and ideological role in making tangible the cybernetic dematerialisation of the body and the deterritorialisation of space that was supposed to be heralded by ubiquitous computerisation and interconnection. Texts, pamphlets, ‘zines, and forums registered these speculations in a new style of writing, occasionally termed ‘techno theory’, which sought to blur the lines between music-making and music-theorising. I am examining this moment as a conjuncture of broader forces that were in flux in the mid-1990s: the expansion and reform of higher education; changes in the style, ethos and material/medial constitution of the counterculture; the onset of the post-1989 neoliberal ‘consensus’ in European and North American politics; and the Anglophone reception of French postmodern theory.


I’ve also written on such topics as early computer network music, Iannis Xenakis’s late computer music, signification and meaning in computer music, and electronic music and genre. In 2018 I was awarded the Westrup Prize jointly with Georgina Born for our article, ‘From Microsound to Vaporwave: Internet-mediated musics, online methods, and genre’.


In addition to my musicological work, I’m also a composer with interests in computer music, cybernetics and systems art, psychoacoustics and audio spatialisation. Earlier in my career I published widely on psychoacoustic matters in computer music, including the use of 'auditory distortion products' as musical material.

Other activities

In addition to my University duties, I am a board member of the International Computer Music Association and the association’s Research Co-ordinator.

Publications

Recent publications

Article

Haworth, C 2019, 'Protentions and retentions of Xenakis and Cage: nonhuman actors, genre and time in microsound', Contemporary Music Review, vol. 37, no. 5-6, pp. 606-625. https://doi.org/10.1080/07494467.2018.1577639

Born, G & Haworth, C 2018, 'From Microsound to Vaporwave: internet-mediated musics, online methods, and genre', Music and Letters, vol. 98, no. 4, pp. 601–647. https://doi.org/10.1093/ml/gcx095

Haworth, C 2016, ''All the Musics Which Computers Make Possible': Questions of Genre at the Prix Ars Electronica', Organised Sound, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 15-29. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355771815000345

Haworth, C 2015, 'Sound Synthesis Procedures as Texts: An Ontological Politics in Electroacoustic and Computer Music', Computer Music Journal, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 41-58. https://doi.org/10.1162/COMJ_a_00284

Kendall, GS, Haworth, C & Cádiz, RF 2014, 'Sound Synthesis with Auditory Distortion Products', Computer Music Journal, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 5-23. https://doi.org/10.1162/COMJ_a_00265

Haworth, C 2012, 'Ear as Instrument', Leonardo Music Journal, vol. 22, pp. 61-62. https://doi.org/10.1162/lmj_a_00099

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Haworth, C 2018, Technology, Creativity and the Social in Algorithmic Music. in The Oxford Handbook of Algorithmic Music. Oxford Handbooks, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 557-582. <https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-oxford-handbook-of-algorithmic-music-9780190226992?cc=gb&lang=en&#>

Chapter

Haworth, C 2020, Network Music and Digital Utopianism: The rise and fall of the Res Rocket Surfer project, 1994–2003. in R Adlington & E Buch (eds), Finding Democracy in Music. 1st edn, Routledge, London, pp. 144.

Haworth, C 2017, Analysis-Synthesis: Cultural and Environmental Listening in Florian Hecker’s Affordance. in S Gaensheimer, R Mackay & M Wandschneider (eds), Florian Hecker: Formulations. Culturegest, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig, London, pp. 201-219.

Haworth, C & Born, G 2016, Mixing It: Digital Ethnography and Online Research Methods--A Tale of Two Global Digital Music Genres. in L Hjorth, H Horst, A Galloway & G Bell (eds), The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography. Routledge Companions, pp. 70.

Composition

Haworth, C, Vertizontal Hearing (Up & Down, I then II), 2014, Composition.

View all publications in research portal