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).

Doctoral candidate Ulf A. S. Holbrook, wall with text "det humanistiske fakultet"

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. 

Ulf A. S. Holbrook  successfully defended his dissertation on April 29, 2022.

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"


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. 8, 2022 12:00 PM - Last modified July 19, 2022 11:18 AM