WoNoMute: Natasha Barrett

Composer-researcher Natasha Barrett talks about "Composing Tangible Sounds in Space".

Natasha Barrett

Natasha Barrett


Space as a musical element underpins many of my compositions, installations and multi-media works. Over the years, more advanced computing resources have allowed me to realise ideas that originally existed only in theory, as well as provide a means to continue the research and application of new approaches to spatio-musical composition.

In this presentation, I will focus on my work with electroacoustic music in higher-order ambisonics. I’m interest in ‘sound in space’, and in creating sound images that draw on real-world features, even if the actual sound is abstract in terms of its identity.

One obstacle to composing spatial images concerns ambisonics tools which encourage a ‘point in space’ approach. Real-world sound images consist of complex directivity patterns. They also project their size and spatial behaviour as dynamic information. I will discuss my musical and technical approaches to creating images in space and what I describe as ‘tangible sound’. A second feature of the real-world sound scape is its complexity. When composing music and sound-art that use environmental recordings, we are interested in many features of the original environment. Our normal recording methods, and opportunities for the musical development of this material, are limited. I will show how I spatially decompose ambisonics recordings as a way to explore the content of complex landscapes within a composition. The presentation will include real-time examples from my recent work.


Natasha Barrett is a composer of acousmatic and live electroacoustic concert works, sound and multi-media installations, and interactive music. She is a leading voice in the new wave of artists working with ambisonics, 3-D sound, and its contemporary music context.

Her inspiration comes from the immediate sounding matter of the world around us, as well as the way it behaves, the way it is generated, and by systems and the traces that those systems reveal. These interests have lead her into worlds of cutting-edge audio technologies, geoscience, sonification, motion tracking and some exciting collaborations leading into the unknown – involving performers and chamber ensembles, visual artists, architects and scientists.

Her work is commissioned, performed and broadcast throughout the world. Active in performance, education and research, she is co-director of the Norwegian spatial-music performance ensemble EAU (Electric Audio Unit) and founder of 3DA (the Norwegian society for 3-D sound-art). She currently holds a professorship at the Norwegian Academy for Music, Oslo.


WoNoMute, NTNU and UiO
Published Sep. 16, 2019 6:50 PM - Last modified Sep. 18, 2019 9:30 AM