Musicological Topic with Performance and Production: Sound Performance: Theories, Histories, Practices, Technologies

Course content

Sound performances are at the core of sound art and experimental approaches to music.

In some sound performances the body or the voice of the artist is at its center; in others the sound production with state of the art technology plays a crucial role.

Some sound performances set out to turn texts or images into sounds; and others layer and process existing sound footage, tape loops or recorded everyday sounds.

In this two part course the students will discuss in the theory section the history and presence of sound performances, the underlying artistic and cultural theories as well current issues being debated;

in the practice section they will explore and learn how to use selected examples or skills and technologies that play a crucial role within sound performance.

This separation into two sections - following the course format - will, however, be continuously broken up and subverted:

practical exercises will be part of the theory section - and theoretical discussions will be part of the practice section.

We will focus in this course on the following approaches to sound performance:

- Pauline Oliveros: Deep Listening (co-teacher: Jenny Gräf Sheppard)

- Sound productions with Ambisonics' 3D Sound (co-teacher: Jenny Gräf Sheppard & the Ambisonics Studio at the Royal Academy of the Art)

- Converting text or images into sound (co-teacher: Giada Dalla Bontà)

- Layering and Processing of Sound Footage (co-teacher: Giada Dalla Bontà)

- Building and Playing the Theremin (co-teacher: Giada Dalla Bontà)




4 hours weekly discussion of research texts and artistic accounts + 2 hours weekly performance practice & experiments

Literature & links to start with:

Aït-Touati, Frédérique, "Thinking the Cosmos in the Seventeenth Century: Fiction, Hypothesis and Astronomy from Kepler to Huygens", in: Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales Volume 65, Issue 2, 2010, pp. 325-344



Cage, John, 4'33". Performed by William Marx

Cage, John & Gann, Kyle, Silence: Lectures and Writings, 50th Anniversary Edition. Wesleyan, 2011.

Groth, Sanne Krogh & Schulze, Holger (eds.), The Bloomsbury Handbook of Sound Art, New York: Bloomsbury Acacdemic 2020.

Grotowski, Jerzy, Towards a Poor Theatre (ed by Eugenio Barba), pp. 166, 184-185, 228-231.

Kreichi, Stanislav. The ANS Synthesizer: Composing on a Photoelectronic Instrument.”

Oliveros, Pauline, “Quantum Listening: From Practice to Theory to Practice Practice”, MusicWorks #75, Fall 2000.

Oliveros, Pauline, Deep Listening. A Composer's Sound Practice. New York: iUniverse, Inc. 2005


Oliveros, Pauline. Sounding the Margins: Collected Writings 1992 - 2009, Deep Listening Publications, 2010.


Roads, Curtis, Microsound, Cambridge: MIT Press


Schulze, Holger, Sonic Fiction, New York: Bloomsbury Acacdemic 2020.


Schulze, Holger (ed.), The Bloomsbury Handbook of theAnthropology of Sound, New York: Bloomsbury Acacdemic 2021.


Smirnov, Andrey, "The ANS Synthesizer", in “Sound in Z - Experiments in sound and electronic music in early 20th century Russia", pp. 228-237.

Smirnov, Andrey. "Theremin”, in "Sound in Z - Experiments in sound and electronic music in early 20th century Russia", pp. 43-61.

Truax, Barry, Granular Synthesis, in:

Voegelin, Salomé, Chapter 3: Silence, in Voegelin, Salomé, "Listening to Noise and Silence: Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art", pp. 77-120. Bloomsbury Academic 2010.


University of Washington: Resources on Ambisonics. Online:


Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Oral examination
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 294
  • Exam
  • 84
  • English
  • 420


Course number
Programme level
Master’s minor subject

1 semester

See link....
Study board of Arts and Cultural Studies
Contracting department
  • Department of Arts and Cultural Studies
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinators
  • Holger Schulze   (7-7a6a6f7c73816c476f7c7435727c356b72)
  • Jenny-Ann Graf Sheppard   (3-6d6476436b7870316e7831676e)

Holger Schulze
Jenny-Ann Gräf Sheppard
Giada Dalla Bontá

Saved on the 13-01-2022

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