Posts in Category: Research

NoiseFloor 2019 Call for Works and Proposals

We are pleased to announce that NoiseFloor will once again be hosted by the Music and Sound department in our Cadman Studio Complex at Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK.

  • Dates: May 7th and 8th 2019
  • Deadline for abstract submission: 18th January 2019
  • Deadline for Registration: 15th March 2019

NoiseFloor is an interdisciplinary event with a focus on experimental composition. This year we are pleased to announce our KEYNOTE PRESENTATION from SIMON EMMERSON, professor in Music, Technology and Innovation at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Our theme this year is Engagement.

“Who cares if you listen” is the title of an article from 1958, famously misattributed to the American composer Milton Babbitt. (Babbitt wrote the article, but the title was imposed by an editor).

60 years after Babbitt’s article, experimental or contemporary music is still often perceived as being “difficult”, “irrelevant”, or “out of touch”. To what extent are these conceptions and stereotypes merited? Should we as practitioners make more effort to engage with wider communities? Can this be achieved without diluting our work? Or is there an argument that our work should be governed by purely academic or aesthetic concerns? More generally, how can “challenging” art works or academic outputs reach wider audiences while still retaining their integrity? To what extent should our work engage with our social and environmental surroundings?

Works (compositions and performances) and proposals (for papers, lectures/recitals, panel discussions, workshops and other ideas) addressing this theme are particularly welcome. Of course, proposals for other relevant topics will also be considered. Submissions are invited from composers, academics, practitioners, individual researchers, postgraduates and any other interested parties.

Submissions should fall into one of the following categories:

  • 20-minute paper presentation (with 5 minutes for questions)
  • Fixed acousmatic works (up to 8 channel)
  • Acoustic instruments and electronics
  • Popular music and interactive systems (2 channel audio with video)
  • Fixed audio visual music (2 channel audio with video)
  • Workshop
  • Panel discussion

Please submit details of your composition, performance or proposal in the form of an abstract of between 250-300 words, together with brief biography (150 words), programme notes, and, where relevant, any links to audio/video examples of your work to our online submission form at:

Registration: The fees are £60 for presenters and for attendees, £35 for students. Concessions will be available for students of Staffordshire University. There is no submission fee.

Please note that you will need to provide your own performers and instruments and that contributors will be required to attend the event. More information is available at or by contacting a member of the organizing committee.

Hue Music

The paper accompanying this page is available here: Hue Music

Associating Hue with Timbre

Initially 8 different hues were associated with a recorded timbre each. The images and audio clips below show this. Click on the colour names to hear the associated timbre.

White – No Sound

Mixing Different Timbres Together

A virtual audio mixer is then used to combine the sounds dependent on the quantity of each hue in the analysed image. The simple split blue-yellow image below creates a histogram of values showing equal quantities of blue and yellow pixels. This information is used to drive an 8 channel stereo audio mixer. This particular picture produces a sound that has equal amplitudes of the blue and yellow associated timbres.

Blue Yellow Matrix

Blue Yellow Histogram

Quantising Hue Values from Real Pictures

If a regular picture is used with non-standard hues then the image has to be quantised to a series of closest value hues. This process has 2 stages, first splitting the image into a 8x8 matrix of smaller submatrices. Then each submatrix is analysed to find the average hue value which is then quantised to one of the 8 chosen hue values.

Original Picture

8×8 Image Matrix

Matrix of Quantised Hue Values

The complete mixed audio result is given here.

Probing the Picture

The program also allows a probing scan to occur which allows a user to zoom into an area of the picture. This emphasises different sounds depending on the focus of the probe. The audio file above was recorded while probing into several different areas of the image. Most notably the timbre for cyan can be heard clearly around 12 seconds into the music.

More Music

To demonstrate the process further some more 'rendered' compositions are presented below.

Wedding – This picture produces a similar soundtrack as the aquarium one due to the similar colour content

Bark – The bark quantises to produce a lot of white space. The resulting audio is therefore quieter

Flowers – In this picture green and yellow dominate and can be clearly heard in the music

Noisefloor 2018 Call for Works

Noisefloor 2018: Call for works

We are delighted to announce the return of the Noisefloor festival. Noisefloor is an experimental sound and image festival showcasing the work of local, national and international artists.

Concerts and screenings will take place during the period 7th – 11th May 2018. This year we will also be hosting 20-minute paper sessions for composers and artists to discuss their work. The diverse nature of the festival will provide opportunities for artists to explore the fluidity between the five themed concerts. The Noisefloor festival would like to invite submissions for the following events:

  • Fixed acousmatic (non-AV) concert – curated by Doug Rouxel
  • Popular music and interactive systems concert – curated by Si Waite
  • Fixed media visual music concert – curated by Dave Payling
  • Acoustic instruments with electronics concert – curated by Marc Estibeiro
  • Experimental film screening – curated by Daniel Hopkins
  • 20 minute Paper Presentations – Curated by Dave Payling and Marc Estibeiro

Venue: Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DE

Festival Dates: 7th – 11th May 2018
Deadline for submissions: 2nd February 2018
Notification of acceptance: 9th March 2018

Please submit your contact details, artist bio, programme notes and links to audio / video to our online form at: Submission Portal

Film, Media and Music PhD – FAQ

If you’re interested in studying for a PhD at Staffordshire University we can offer film and music related PhDs. Here’s a list of questions I’m frequently asked that can hopefully get you started. Please comment or message Dave at if you have more questions and I’ll update the post with more info.

Why should I study for a PhD?

It’s an excellent stepping stone to working in the HE sector but has lots of transferable skills and benefits such as time and project management, public speaking and presentation, publication etc. You will present your work in the university and potentially at international  conferences and that’s a great way of meeting other researchers, making contacts and networking. With more students studying for masters degrees a PhD is another way of making your profile more distinct. You’ll be studying a subject you love and contributing new knowledge in the subject area!

How long will it take?

  • Full time: minimum 30 months, maximum 48 months
  • Part Time: minimum 60 months, maximum 96 months

What are the staff’s research interests and current projects?

The following list is not exhaustive. If you have an idea you think we’ll be interested get in touch and we can arrange to discuss.

  • Writing music for acoustic instruments and electronics
  • Visual music and audio-visuals.
  • Electronic music and dance music
  • Experimental Sound and Sound Installation,
  • Interactive live performance and popular music

Links to staff profiles and web pages

Who will be in my supervision team and what are the expectations of me?

You will have a main supervisor, who is usually a subject specialist and the first point of contact and a second supervisor who has additional experience in supervising PhD projects. You can also have additional advisors and are free to ask any member of staff for advice.

You need to maintain regular contact with your supervisors, but apart from the workshops described below, your time is your own and a PhD is very self managed.

What stages and reviews are there during the PhD?

  1. Apply – Complete the online form linked below
  2. Enrol – this is when the clock starts ticking
  3. Annual Progress check – complete a form with a brief update on your progress so far
  4. Early stage review – within 12 months when studying full time. A more thorough check of your progress to date
  5. Late stage review – within 24 months if studying full time. A thorough review of progress and check you’re on schedule for the examination
  6. Submission. When all parties are happy that your PhD is ready for examination
  7. Viva – Interview and examination of your thesis and any creative works

Do I need to undertake any research training?

Full time students are expected to attend 6 sessions of research training per year. Current workshops are co-ordinated by our graduate school and listed here:

What Facilities are available?

  • Our world class music studios and other facilities in film and computing.
  • Library and online journal access and other e-Resources
  • A dedicated PhD study room equipped with computers for research students.

What is the Word Count for the thesis?

Usually between 30,000-50,00 words depending on the balance between any practise based outputs. There is a maximum word count of 80,000 words

Do I have to teach?

This is not a requirement or expectation but if it would be beneficial to your studies it can be discussed with the supervision team and management

What are the Entry Requirements?

Upper second class or better undergraduate degree or a masters degree in a relevant subject area.

Occasionally we advertise scholarships that are open to graduates with a 1st class honours degree or Masters qualification. Follow this link for more information:

Where can I apply?

Complete the appropriate online form here:

Full Time: 

Part Time:

What are the current fees?

Full Time

  • Home and EU students: £4,195 per year of study
  • International students: £12,000 per year of study

Part Time

  • Home and EU students: £2097.50 per year of study
  • International students: £6,000 per year of study

More info

Our Research Information Page:

Link to the University’s current PhD regulations:


Sound Image Colloquium 2016

Had a great weekend of November 12th and 13th 2016 at Greenwich University attending the Sound Image Colloquium organised by Andrew Hill and team. The main focus was on a series of talks and presentations and these were accompanied by installations, audio visual screenings, acousmatic concert and live performance programmes. The engaging series of talks examined the relationships between sound and image from many diverse perspectives ranging from interactive sonic sculptures to fixed media electroacoustc video music.

All the events took place in the University’s Stockwell Street Academic building, centred primarily in a lecture theatre with other spaces used for installations and the music concert. As well as the formal concerts and presentations it was a great idea to have the fixed media works available for viewing in the concourse area of the building on plasma screens with headphones for those who missed or unable to attend the screening sessions.

The attendees, all experts in their field, were very inquisitive and keen to share thoughts and ideas about their own theory and practice. One key discussion point was that, as an artistic discipline, visual music is coming of age. The imprecision of this umbrella term may no longer be adequate to describe the diversity of sub-disciplines which themselves have had several decades to mature. Visual music is still, however, a vibrant artistic practice much-loved by an enthusiastic forward thinking community.

The full programme of events can be found here: programme_soundimage2016

Understanding Visual Music (UVM) 2015 Conference Diary

I was very fortunate to attend this conference at the University of Brasilia, Brazil, between 10th-12th June 2015 and tried to keep a brief diary. Here's what I got with some added videos, photos and links...

This is a snapshot of my experiences and is not a full account of the conference! More details can be found on the official website:  Full proceedings are available here: UVM Proceedings

Sunday 7th - Tuesday 9th June. Travel and Initial Thoughts
Catch train to Manchester Piccadilly.  Dreadful night sleeping at Lisbon airport. Very few soft benches and noisy all night. Long flight but arrived Monday 8th June before sundown. Easy transit through customs, case in tact 🙂 Take taxi to hotel , about 20 mins and 50 Brazilian Reals. Quick shower then early night about 7:30 local time. (4 hours behind UK time)

Tuesday 9th June. Slept ok. Awake just after 5, go for breakfast at 6.15. Good selection but couldn't find any black tea. Oh no need tea in a morning! Decided to try burn off the jet lag by going for a run, which included Parque da Cidade. Wasn't sure how far it would be or how easy but it was fairly easy in the end. Went around 6.5 miles of mainly open space, but had to negotiate a few wide busy roads.

After getting back did a bit of emergency shopping, especially to find a power adapter. Plugged it in and got a shock! Second set of protruding prongs were live when plugged it in. Oh well. Nice buffet dinner at the mall, but opted for a not so good pizza later.  Really like the buffet meals option, which is charged by weight. It means you get what you want but can be difficult to figure out which foods are vegetarian.

Wednesday 10th June
Had a short run around the park again. Did a quick loop over the lake bridge. Breakfast then off to conference. Held at Beijordormo, Darcy Memorial building.

Busy schedule all the way through, from 10.30 start until 9.10 back at the hotel after the cinema. Good introduction talk from Ricardo dal Farra and other talks you can find on the official schedule at the website above.

Artistic Program

A bus was laid on for our transport to the Cultural Centre, CCBB, where the video music was to be screened. Lots of great videos, many created via computer animation a selection below...

Et Ignis Involvens


Ivan Penov “Entropy Swing”


Thursday 11th June
Very tired this morning, and it's the day I give a talk. Had breakfast then a short walk to try tire me out and managed to get half hour's sleep or so, so felt revived. Coffee and dinner at the mall then taxi to UnB. It was very difficult for the taxi to find Beijodromo, the campus is huge, but got here in plenty of time to catch the presentations.

Gave my talk entitled 'Visually Inspired Visual Music from a Musicians Perspective'. It was based around my PhD thesis with some software and video examples. Photos courtesy of Antenor Ferreira

Seemed to go pretty well and the slides are available on here: Lots of other good talks again during the academic sessions...

Artistic Program

An excellent artistic program tonight including:

Speech 1


Cloud Chamber

Strong entries all round and got lots of positive feedback on my piece, Diffraction, which was also on the bill. Afterwards there was a brief performance by Wilton Azevedo ( then back to the hotel bed!

Friday 12th June
Early jog around the park again. Went for it this time and managed to get a decent time on a Strava segment. Info here if you're into Strava stats! . Joe Hyde gave an excellent key note speech containing lots of historical references entitled 'The audiovisual contract: Towards a phenomenological approach to sound/image Relationships'. The academic activities ended with a brief discussion about this and future UVM conferences where, among other things, peer review of creative works was suggested.

During the discussion Jo Hyde also recommended this Facebook group that discusses all matters related to electronic video:

Artistic Program

Cinema: challenging program tonight exploring the boundaries of what can be considered as visual music.. This topic was addressed by Ricardo Dal Farra in his closing talk at the academic conference earlier and has been a recurring theme throughout the history of UVM. The Stand out piece was Jean Piche's work.

Horizons [Fractured, Folded, Revealed]

The laptop orchestra of Brasilia (BSBLOrk) performed afterwards and once they got into their improvisational flow created an excellent sonic conclusion to the proceedings. A snippet of the performance is shown in this video.

BSBLOrk @ UVM-Understanding Visual Music closure

Personally thought they reminded me of experimental early pink Floyd with processed live instrumentation set against delayed layers of synthetic improvisations.

After much discussion (it took ages!) most went to the restaurant for food (forgot the name). I was introduced to the Brazilian spirit Cachaça . A Whisky like drink but a bit sweeter.

Saturday 12th June
Pack everything away in my bags and cases, ready for a noon checkout, and walk to two Oscar Niemeyer buildings, the National Museum and the Cathedral of Brasilia ( Below is a selection of the photographs I took on route.

Long flight home but managed a few hours sleep and the journey soon passed. Back to the English weather but nice to be home after such a brilliant experience!