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The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities

Composing the landscape

Published: 8 May 2013

Southampton postgraduate composer Benjamin Mawson's geo-located compositions, painting a landscape with sound, are featured in the Spring 2013 issue of Journal of the Landscape Institute.

His virtual performances, using GPS-based software noTours for Android, involve building a musical composition at an unlikely location, blended with an augmented, transformed version of the place itself. One ongoing project, the 'Audio Portrait of a City', which maps the thoughts, memories and hopes of residents and school children of Southampton and combines them with multiple miniature musical compositions, is being gradually spread across the city's many public green spaces. The piece is made of hundreds of linked fragments of speech, song, instrumental music and found sounds, which listeners use noTours to navigate. Each listener constructs their own version of the whole, according to their route. Merged with the landscape itself, the music is different every time you walk inside it.

For more information and to take a landscape-based sound-walk, visit Click here to read a copy of the Spring 2013 issue of Journal of the Landscape Institute.

Benjamin is currently completing his PhD thesis in virtual performance and co-developing 3DBARE, software for listeners to walk inside a piece of music wearing tracked, wireless headsets. Find out more at

Benjamin Mawson
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