A portfolio of original Compositions

  • Harry Ovington

Student thesis: Phd


This PhD examines the combined practices of field recording and data sonification in a portfolio of original works that seek to explore new perspectives on the soundscapes we inhabit. Throughout the portfolio, numerical datasets depicting environmental change, and detriment, have been used to manipulate and transform field recordings. The research produced a compositional methodology that considers the composer’s role in environmental activism and re-contextualises it as active stages in the compositional process. Each of the five portfolio pieces are site-specific and site-responsive, meaning that they examine the ecological welfare of a given location and how this might be perceived by its inhabitants. The five pieces explore a variety of landscapes and environmental narratives, all of which are re-contextualised utilising electroacoustic musical languages. The Eutrophication of Cumbrian Water. An exploration of gesture, linking human musical gesture to human-environmental impacts on water systems. Quality Check: Utopolis Manchester. A study of air pollution in Manchester. Juxtaposed with soundscape materials portraying contributing factors to air pollution, and also its con- sequences. A Path to Shore. An exploration of footpaths, the composer’s role in the soundscape, and physically collaborating with the landscape during field recording. Perspective- U. An examination of the environmental consequences of harvesting wind en- ergy (a severe increase in bat mortality rates). A Year in Blue Space. A year-long composition project exploring how blue spaces can con- tribute to improved mental health, and how this can be portrayed within a composition pro- cess.
Date of Award31 Dec 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRupert Cox (Supervisor) & Ricardo Climent (Supervisor)


  • Earth works
  • Land art
  • Modular synthesis
  • Rewilding
  • Soundscape
  • Environmental sound art
  • Acoustic ecology
  • Data sonification
  • Field recording
  • Electroacoustic

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