Musical musings


My phD research is coming along well at the moment, and I thought it might be nice to share some ideas here that are arising from it. I suppose generally speaking at the moment I’m looking at how I define the ideas that underpin what I do…composing music.

So,what is…




The apprehension of vibration and its effects by the body. The traditional assumption is that this occurs only through the ears, but this could/should be extended to include any other organs sensitive to vibration or to its effects; the skin, proprioceptive apparatus, the eyes.


Attentiveness to vibration and its effects.

An interpretive act relating vibration based stimuli to memory and knowledge of physical phenomena, methods and means of communication, context, sense of time, etc.


The cognitive result of listening.


The act of shaping or contextualising sounds.

Pre-emptive listening, based on a knowledge of vibration based stimuli, their effects and associations for the listener.

The Location of Music?

The body of the listener.

The specifics of how I describe each of these ideas to myself varies every day, however the general theme stays the same, that notions of hearing/listening are traditionally over-focussed on the ear and exclude much of what goes on in situations where people engage with music. My aim, for the moment at least, is to address the question of how to explore composing for this “expanded listening”.

I’m aware that these definitions are very broad, but I have a hunch they need to be in the present world. For instance language could easily come under my definition of music, which I don’t think is such a bad thing, there have been lots of attempts to wrestle music into linguistic theoretical frameworks and it doesn’t fit, it’s too vague. Whereas I think there’s a good chance language could be a music, or at least it can’t hurt to think of it in that way.

Stay tuned…


My Honours Dissertation On Jack Ellitt


I’ve been umming and aahing about what to do with this for a while, and as it’s been a year and I haven’t gotten around to trying to get the sucker published, I feel like I should share it here, just so that anyone interested can glean what they can from it.

PDF ahoy…   Light and Rhythm


This dissertation examines the creative output of Jack Ellitt, a unique Australian
composer and extraordinary musical thinker and experimentalist who has been largely
forgotten by Australian history.

The circumstances of Jack Ellitt’s life are described and events in it crucial to the
development of his craft and aesthetic traced, providing a context for analysis of three
landmark works of Ellitt’s career: Light Rhythms (1930), Journey #1 (c.1930), and
Homage to Rachel Carson (part 2) (1983).

The Govett-Brewster Contemporary Art Museum in New Zealand holds a copy in their growing Len Lye research collection.