Public defence: Spatial sound and landscape

Master Ulf A. S. Holbrook at the Department of Musicology will defend his dissertation Objects and Structures: Aesthetical inquiry and artistic experimentation into the relationships between sound objects and spatial audio for the degree of philosophiae doctor (PhD).

Colored portrait picture of Ulf A. S. Holbrook wearing a dark shirt and black glasses on the left, picture of the logo of Faculty of Humanities on a brick wall on the right.

Multichannel sound has been popular in music and art for the past 60 years. Often the practices with multichannel sound have a clear technical focus, but in this thesis, Ulf A. S. Holbrook explores these methods through theoretical and practical analysis. 

Holbrook demonstrates how the different artistic practices can be explored through relationships like place, site, and landscape, and not merely through technical conditions. The present work is framed in a theory on sound objects, by the French composer and music theorist Pierre Schaeffer. This demonstrates how composers and artists can relate to the surrounding world through listening, analysis, and spatiality, that extends far beyond conventional music theory.

“If we remove the sounds from the surroundings, then they cease to be a living, breathing part of nature and lose most of their depth and become just another picture,” Holbrook says, “without a focus on space, and the landscapes that house the sounds, their context disappears.” The thesis builds on collaborative projects which includes installations, theatre productions, sound programming and VR, among others. 

The defence takes place in Forsamlingssalen, Harald Schelderups hus on 29 April, 12:15 p.m. It will also be possible to follow the proceedings via livestream on RITMO's YouTube channel.

Request a digital copy of the dissertation.

Trial lecture

Designated topic: "How theories developed by Schaeffer and Schafer influence current-day technological application and artistic thought, illustrated through examples from recent artistic work"

Time and place: 29 April, 10:15 a.m., Harald Schjelderups hus, Forsamlingssalen. It will also be possible to follow the trial lecture here.

Watch the live stream

Evaluation committee

Professor Natasha Barrett, Norwegian Academy of Music (first opponent)

Professor Marcel Cobussen, Leiden University (second opponent)

Associate Professor Peter Edwards, University of Oslo (committee administrator)

Chair of the defence

Head of Department Zafer Özgen


Professor Rolf Inge Godøy, University of Oslo

Professor Trond Lossius, The Norwegian Film School

Published Apr. 19, 2022 9:48 AM - Last modified June 29, 2022 10:35 AM