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

Christopher Haworth is an Associate Professor in Music with a specialism in twentieth and twentieth-century musics. Prior to arriving at Birmingham he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the universities of McGill, Calgary, Leeds, and Oxford. 

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
• Sam Riley: ‘Late-Soviet Experimentalism’


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

Research

Between 2019-21 I was an AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellow on Music and the Internet: Towards a Digital Sociology of Music. The project examined 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 has been 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. The outcomes of this project will be an edited collection titled The Digital Sociology of Music: Music Studies After the Internet (co-edited with Edward Katrak Spencer and Danielle Sofer), a monograph, and several articles. 

I currently am the PI (researcher: Valentina Bertolani) on the Horizon 2020-funded project Archiving post-1960s experimental music: Exploring the ontology of music beyond the score-performance dichotomy. In late 2022, I begin work as a research on the ERC-funded Music and Artificial Intelligence: Building Interdisciplinary Studies Project (PI: Georgina Born). 

Previously I’ve 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’.

My in-progress monograph examines music, subculture, and education in Britain from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s, looking at the transformations that countercultural musics underwent in the early years of the World Wide Web and what those changes can tell us about the possibility of ‘radical’ musics today. Where American cyberculture was bound up with the attempt by journalists and venture capitalists to bed down a remediated sense of American settler colonialism on the web (‘the electornic frontier’, ‘virtual homesteading’), British cyberculture took influence from the left-libertarian musical and artistic subcultures of the 1970s and 80s. As such, it has been celebrated for harbouring a more nihilistic (and thus contemporary) vision of modern communications and their capacity for disinformation, one that emphasises disinformation, conspiracies, surveillance, and control (cf Noys 2021). In the monograph I use a variety of interpretive and digital methods to analyse these associations. Chapters explore the echoes between libertarian industrial music zines from the 1980s and the the American Alt-Right of the post-2010s; the declining relevance of the Parisian Situationist International group in relation to British popular musics, and where ‘radical’ musics went after that; and the epistemological shock that the rave moment posed across subcultural and academic worlds. 

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.

I am interested in hearing from research students with interests aligned to mine. I currently supervise PhD students who work across post-1945 music history, practice-based research, electroacoustic composition, sound art, popular music studies, music and media, and digital musicology (with an emphasis on social and cultural approaches). 

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

Danieli, L, Witek, M & Haworth, C 2021, 'Space, sonic trajectories and the perception of cadence in electroacoustic music', Journal of New Music Research . https://doi.org/10.1080/09298215.2021.1927116

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 2021, Musical affect, autobiographical memory, and collective individuation in Thomas Bernhard's Correction. in L Judith, M Eduardo & S Decatur Smith (eds), Sound and Affect: Voice, Music, World. Chicago University Press, pp. 224-238. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226758152.003.0010

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.

Editorial

Haworth, C 2021, 'Music and cybernetics in historical perspective: introduction to the special issue edited by Christopher Haworth and Eric Drott', Resonance: The Journal of Sound and Culture, vol. 2, no. 4, 1, pp. 461-474. https://doi.org/10.1525/res.2021.2.4.461

Other contribution

Haworth, C, Sofer, D & Spencer, E 2021, Information Overload: Music Studies in the Age of Abundance.. <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/music/events/2021/information-overload-music-history-in-the-age-of-abundance.aspx>

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