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

Room 214, Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

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.


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


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.


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
  • Music and genre
  • Perception of sound and music
  • Practice-based research in above areas 

I am currently the lead supervisor for:

  • Victoria Latko (musicology), ‘The impact of the digital singing voice on vocal identity’ (w/ Maria Witek)
  • Gary Charles (composition), ‘Composing Infinity: Speculative futures through creative practice in sound and vision’ (w/ Annie Mahtani)

I co-supervise the following students:

  • James Davis (musicology), ‘From Eco to Barthes: Waning Radicalism in Luciano Berio’s Musical Engagement’ (w/ Ben Earle)
  • Felipe Garcia Suarez (performance practice), ‘Expression in music performance of serial music’ (w/ Ben Earle)
  • George Yuan (composition), ‘Portfolio of audiovisual compositions’ (w/ Scott Wilson)
  • Spencer Allman (musicology) ‘The legacy of Morton Feldman’s music for the experimental music tradition in the UK. North America and central Europe’ (w/ Ben Earle)

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


My current research focuses on the musical uses of computer networks, including the Internet, from the late 1970s to the present.

One project, an intervention into the burgeoning field of ‘digital musicology’, uses digital social network analysis methods to analyse and map the changing social, communicative, aesthetic and discursive uses of the Internet and World Wide Web that are characteristic of a range of underground electronic music genres whose genesis spans a period from the late 1990s to the present.

The second spans a larger period and looks at the history of ‘the network’ as both a notional concept and technology for the organisation of musical practice. In addition to my musicological work, I’m also a composer with interests in computer music, cybernetics and systems art, psychoacoustics and audio spatialisation. In 2012 I completed a practice and theory based PhD on the creative use of psychoacoustic phenomena in musical practice, and I've published widely on the use of 'auditory distortion products' as musical material in computer music.

Other activities

I am director of postgraduate research for music, and the admissions tutor for postgraduate research. I am module lead for the final year musicology dissertations, and for the widening horizons module ‘Music in Society’.

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



2018      “Protentions and Retentions of Xenakis and Cage: Nonhuman Actors, Genre and Time in Microsound”, Contemporary Music Review, 37(5-6)

2017      “From Microsound to Vaporwave: Internet-mediated musics, online methods, and genre.” Music and Letters, 98(4), pp.601-647, joint-authored with Georgina Born (winner of Westrup Prize for the best article published in the journal annually).

2016      “‘All The Musics Which Computers Make Possible’: Questions of Genre at the Prix Ars Electronica”, Organised Sound, 21(1):15-29.

2015      “Sound Synthesis Procedures as Texts: An Ontological Politics in Electroacoustic and Computer Music”, Computer Music Journal, MIT Press, 39:1, Spring 2015, pp. 41–58.

2014      “Sound Synthesis with Auditory Distortion Products” (co-authored with Gary Kendall and R.F. Cádiz), Computer Music Journal, MIT Press, 38:4, pp. 5–23, doi:10.1162/COMJ_a_00265.

2012      “Ear as Instrument: Sound at the Limits of Audition”, Leonardo Music Journal, Vol. 22, 61–62. (ISSN 0961-1215)

Book section

2018      “Algorithmic Music and the Social” in Alex McLean and Roger Dean (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Algorithmic Music, Oxford University Press, 557-581.

2017      “Mixing It: Digital Ethnography and Online Research Methods––A Tale of Two Global Digital Music Genres” (with Georgina Born), In: Hjorth, L, H. Horst, G. Bell, and A. Galloway (eds), The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography, Routledge.

2017      “Analysis/Synthesis: Cultural and Environmental Listening in Florian Hecker’s Affordance” In: Robin Mackay (ed), FORMULATIONS, Culturegest Vol 6, Walther König, Köln.

2013      “Xenakian Sound Synthesis: Its Aesthetics and Influence on ‘Extreme’ Computer Music” In: Goddard, M, B. Halligan, and N. Spelman, (eds), Resonances: Noise and Contemporary Music, New York: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2013, 183-197 (ISBN 978-1-4411-5937-3).

Selected recordings

2017      “Vertizontal Hearing: Up and Down, I then II”, Sound and Reception, CD curated by Bill Boyer, Leonardo Music Journal 26, MIT Press.

2015      “Dust” on Various, FOREVER NOW, Aphids Contemporary Golden Record.

2013       Optophono #2, Paragraph VII (with Gascia Ouzounian). Limited Edition Box and Digital Download, Optophono publishing

2013    Optophono #1, Long For This World (with Gascia Ouzounian and Julian Stein) Limited Edition Box and Digital Download, Optophono publishing

View all publications in research portal