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Dr Brona Martin BA, H Dip (Hons) Music, MA (Hons), PhD

Research Fellow in Music

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Dr Brona Martin is a Research Fellow in Music at the University of Southampton.

I am a composer and a passionate teacher of creative music technology.

I have previously taught undergraduate modules in music technology and composition. These modules explore different aspects of technology such as recording, sound design and composition discovering new ways of listening and generating musical ideas. Students can then take these skills forward and apply them to their own creative projects. 

I am originally from Ireland and studied music at the Universities of Cork and Limerick. During my Master’s in Music Technology in Limerick I discovered Electroacoustic Music. The fact that I could use any sound in the world to make music blew my mind. Electroacoustic Music is about listening to sound as an object, sculpting and designing sound, sound analysis, sound in space (multi-channel, 3D sound, sound diffusion) and composition.  The technology facilitates both the study of sound in detail and the creation of a new sonic experience for the listener.  It is a constant voyage of discovery; recording new sounds, working with new software and using these materials to compose a new work.

I completed a PhD in Electroacoustic Composition at the University of Manchester supervised by professor David Berezan. During this time my research explored soundscape composition, a form of Electroacoustic Music. My compositions explore the soundscapes of particular places using recognisable field recordings. The aim of these works is to draw the listeners attention to sounds that are not always the focus of listening, sounds that sometimes get masked by noise pollution or lost within a complex soundscape. My compositional approach involves soundwalking, field recording, sound analysis, sound processing and spatialisation. Most of my multi-channel works are performed in concert on a loudspeaker diffusion system such as BEAST (Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre) and MANTIS (Manchester Theatre in Sound) to create an immersive sonic experience.

My music has been performed at international festivals and conferences such as EMS (New York), ACMC (Australia), ICMC (Australia), NYCEMF (New York), CMMR (São Paulo), ISSTA (Ireland), ZKM (Germany), BEAST (UK), Balance/Unbalance (UK), L’Espace Du Son, (Brussels), NAISA (Canada) and MANTIS (UK). I have been guest composer at EMS, Stockholm and Associate Artist in Residence at Atlantic Centre for the Arts, Florida.

I am currently working on a research project led by Dr. Tom Irvine, titled "Jazz as Social Machine". This project explores some of the issues between AI and Jazz improvisation. "Music is data. AI researchers are beginning to use this data to create machines that make music. This project takes jazz improvisation as a (thorny) example of a problem that haunts AI-generated art: what happens to the human? The answers to this question will be in the form of scholarly and creative reflection." For this project I will create an artistic response to some of the questions raised during the project in the form of a sound installation. This project is funded by the Alan Turing Institute.

As part of this project I am building an interactive multi-media installation in Unity which tells the story about the origins of Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning beginning with the story of Ada Lovelace. The user will navigate through the virtual space which is a series of rooms to experience the story which is told through the creation of past soundscapes, images, video and narration


Appointments held

Research interests

  • Studio Composition
  • Spatial/3D audio
  • Sound diffusion and concert performance
  • Soundscape studies
  • Women and music technology
  • Community engagement
  • Domestic Sound
  • Virtual Reality Platforms
  • Game Design

Research group

Composition and Music Technology

Research project(s)

Jazz as Social Machine

The project takes the idea of the "social machine" as its point of departure. Jazz is made on the basis of "operations" (interactive improvisation) performed on "data" (song structures, rhythmic conventions etc). The project argues that jazz as a global practice is a "social machine" (e.g. Wikipedia). It aggregates the "energy" of networked participants - their data - and converts this via interaction into meaning.

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Creative Media and Artefacts

I have previously taught on the following modules:

  • 1st Year: Introduction to Music Technology
  • 2nd Year: Studio Techniques
  • 2nd Year: Composition Workshop
  • 3rd Year: Composition Portfolio
Dr Brona Martin

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