Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Dr Scott Mc Laughlin

Lecturer in Composition and Music Technology

0113 343 2545

1.14 School of Music

Office hours: Tuesday 9-10am, Friday 9-10am,

PhD, BMus

Lecturer in composition and music technology. Experimental Music, open-form/indeterminacy, Spectral Music and microtonality, interaction and live-electronics, liveness/authenticity.


Scott Mc Laughlin was born in Ireland (Co. Clare) in 1975. He played in indie-rock bands until his mid-twenties, then studied music at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown where he gained a BMus degree in 2001. He completed a PhD at the University of Huddersfield with Pierre Alexandre Tremblay and Bryn Harrison in 2009. Scott has attended the Ostrava New Music Days summer school (2005, 2007), and the Irish Composers’ Summer School (1999 – 2001). He has previously lectured at the University of Huddersfield and Brunel University.

Research Interests

  • Materiality, material-agency.
  • Experimental Music, Spectral music, microtonality.
  • Repetition, reductionism, ambiguity/perception.
  • Emergent and self-­organising musical structures.
  • Interactivity and game mechanics in music.

Scott’s research is practice-led and focuses on composition, materiality, and indeterminacy in complex systems. His current research uses different methods to excite resonance in sounding bodies to exploit physical non-linearities to generate musical patterns/structures.


MUSS1220 Composition, MUSS2220 Composition, MUSS3240 Composition

MUSS3640 Music Tech group project

MUSI5231M Composition Studies, MUSI5262M Portfolio of Compositions


Programme Leader for MMus Critical and Experimental Composition


Journal articles

  • Mc Laughlin SG, ‘Intra-Agencies’, CeReNeM Journal 2014, 76-88
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/89346/

  • McLaughlin S, ‘If a tree falls in an empty forest: Problematization of liveness in mixed-music performance’, Journal of Music, Technology & Education, 5 (2012), 17-27

  • Mc Laughlin S, ‘Dynamical Systems, Mimesis, and Analogy in Experimental Music’, Chaotic Modeling and Simulation, 1 (2011), 127-137
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/89345/


  • Mc Laughlin SG, ‘Composers and Chaos: A Survey of Applications of Chaos Theory in Musical Arts and Research’, in Handbook of Applications of Chaos Theory (Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, 2015), 893-912

Conference papers

  • McLaughlin S, Tremblay PA, ‘SpectralConway: Cellular Automata Off The Grid’, in International Computer Music Conference Proceedings (International Computer Music Association, 2010), 2010, 68-71

  • Tremblay PA, McLaughlin S, ‘Thinking inside the box: A new integrated approach to mixed music composition and performance’, in Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference2009, 389 ([n.pub.], 2009), 386


Research Centres & Groups


External Appointments

External examiner, University Centre Doncaster

PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision

Jacob Randell, Composition, deconstructed-organ

Timo Tuhkanen, Composition, touch

Stuart Mellor, Composition, acoustics analysis,

Symeon Yovev, Composition, field recording, urban soundscape

Alex De Little, Composition, acoustics, listening, play


PhD Thesis

“Strange Attractors: A Commentary on Applications of Indeterminacy in my Recent Music” (2009)

This commentary reflects on how indeterminacy has been used in the music I have written over the period of my doctoral studies, 2005-2008. Non-musical ideas play a major role in my compositional language and this is reflected in the use of ‘strange attractors’ as a metaphor for the philosophical and aesthetic stance behind composing with indeterminacy. After a brief introduction chapter, the links between strange attractors—and chaos theory in general—and indeterminate music are discussed. And applications of indeterminacy to pitch organisation techniques such as spectral modelling and frequency modulation are examined as part of a frequency-based harmonic continuum. Different methods of generating ambiguous pitch percepts that sit at the boundaries of the harmony/timbre duality are considered In pieces with text processes.


Professional Practice

For recent/upcoming performances, please see here.

Selected Previous Performances:

  • Surfaces of Emergence, metastable collective (6 electric guitars), HCMF, 23/11/13
  • histories have been replaced by maps, LSTwo, Leeds Contemporary Music Weekend, 19/4/13
  • at least two things, Trio Scordatura, Hamburg, Koln, 1 & 8/2/13
  • a metastable harmony  –  Bozzini  Quartet,  HCMF,  26/11/12
  • Resonant  Systems  –  BEAM,  Brunel  University,  22/06/12; ISSTC Cork School of Music, 01/08/12
  • a metastable harmony –  Bozzini  Quartet,  Chapelle  historique  du  Bon-­‐Pasteur,  Montreal,  28/04/12
  • There  are  neither  wholes  nor  parts  III  –  Duo  Hevans  (Henri  Bok,  Ann  Evans),  North   American  Saxophone  Alliance  Conference,  Arizona  State  University,  USA,  15/03/12
  • Bifurcations  in a Continuous  System  –  Sebastian  Berweck,  Huddersfield,  27/11/11
  • action  at  a  distance  –  Sarah  O’  Halloran,  SUNY  Stony  Brook,  New  York,  15/04/11
  • At  least  two  things  –  Trio  Scordatura,  UK  tour  04-­‐08/03/11;  also  BEAM  Festival   26/06/11
  • music  in  two  dimensions  no.3  –  Duo  Contour,  UK  Microfest  4,  London,  07/03/11;  also   Freiburg  17/05/2011
  • Nano  –  Ann  Evans,  Huddersfield  01/12/11,  ‘InTime’  Symposium,  Coventry,  25/10/11
  • action  at  a  distance  –  Peyee  Chen,  GEMdays  festival,  Huddersfield,  27/02/11
  • neither  wholes  nor  parts  II  –  Jonathan  Sage,  Huddersfield,  12/02/11
  • neither  wholes  nor  parts  I  –  Iain  Harrison,  ‘November  Music’  s-­‐Hertogenbosch,   Holland,  13/11/10:  also  Berlin  (dec.  2010)  and  Huddersfield  (Jan  2011).
  • Whitewater  –  Marko  Karlovcec,  Earzoom  Festival,  Ljubljana,  05/10/10
  • Primes  –  Marja  Gaynor,  Octophonies  Festival,  Dublin,  23/10/10
  • Shoals  –  ICMC,  Devotion  Gallery,  New  York.  05/06/10
  • We  do  the  same  things,  but  I’m  always  different  –  Process  Festival,  Berlin.  20/03/10
  • Marionettes  –  Crash  Ensemble,  Dublin.  05/03/10
  • Whitewater  –  Franziska  Schroeder,  ICMC,  Belfast,  21/08/08:  also  Eric  Honour,  9-­‐date   tour  incl.  USA,  Italy,  Austria,  UK.  23-­‐29/03/09
  • Penumbra  –  Luxembourg  Sinfonietta,  ISCM  World  Music  Days,  Bangkok,  2007



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