TIME (FALLING), № 32 (2021)
bass flute, contrabass  •  20’

FANCY, № 31 (2021)
string quartet  •  12’

HARMONIUM (Glistening), № 30 (2021)
for any 6 sustaining instruments or voices  •  18’


CHANTER (pour Wolfgang von Schweinitz), № 28 (2020)
cello  •  15’

BERCER, № 21 (2019)
cello  •  11’

JUST (Chords, melodies), № 18 (2019)
piano in Sabat II well-temperament  •  13’


TIME (FALLING), № 32 (2021)
bass flute, contrabass  •  20’

STILL, № 17 (2018)
violin, viola  •  6’

AT LEAST, № 7 (2016)
violin, piano in equal temperament  •  10’

ATLAS, 2012 (just intonation version), № 6b (2019)
viola, acoustic guitar  •  14’

ATLAS, 2012, № 6a (2015)
alto saxophone, electric guitar  •  14’


alto flute, viola, alto trombone  •  7’

CHAMP FLEURI, № 26 (2020)
violin, viola, cello  •  11’

WITHIN (98 Chords Catherine Lamb), № 23 (2020)
viola, suspended cymbal, obliggato instrument  •  10’

BRANCH (Plainsound Trio), № 13 (2018)
any 3 sustaining instruments or voices  •  8’

GRAM, № 14 (2018)
alto recorder, viola, keyboard in Pythagorean split-key tuning  •  15’

number three, № 2 (2014)
mandolin, viola, piano in any tuning  •  9’


FANCY, № 31 (2021)
string quartet  •  12’

WENN, № 25 (2020)
mezzo-soprano, violin, clarinet (A), bass clarinet  •  8’

ANSTATT, № 19 (2019)
clarinet (B-flat), accordion, violin, cello  •  10’

DRIFT, № 16 (2018)
any 4 sustaining instruments or voices  •  3’

Ensemble works

HARMONIUM (Glistening), № 30 (2021)
for any 6 sustaining instruments or voices  •  18’

Tenebrae factae sunt, № 22b (1611/2020 intonation of Gesualdo)
SSATTB voices  •  10’

Sicut cervus desiderat, № 22a (1604/2020 intonation of Palestrina)
SATB voices  •  10’

MOTTE, № 11 (2016–2017)
flute (picc.), alto saxophone (cbcl.), bassoon (cbsn), horn, bells, piano in 13-limit JI, violin, viola  •  40’

ALONG, AROUND, № 8 (2014/2016)
8 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, contrabass, percussion (objects)  •  10’

For Margaret Lingas, № 5 (2015)
10 voices, harmonium  •  6’

Apparitions, № 3 (2014)
flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano in equal temperament  •  10’

Orchestral works

PER, № 27 (2018–20)  •  12’

THAT, WHICH, № 10 (2016)  •  5’

ABOUT, № 9 (2016)  •  17’

Tombeau de souvenirs, № 4 (2014)  •  6’

Trois pièces d’après Kandinsky, № 1 (2012)  •  10’

Electronic works

PORT (Rondo for Marcus Pal), № 24 (2020)
SuperCollider  •  27’

CONE, № 20 (2019)
fixed media [mono]  •  12’

Installations and films

Schwer Abschied nehmen wenn ich Taschentuch sehe, № 15 (2018) with Luisa Ruester
violin, keyboard, SuperCollider / 3 dancers, light and object installation  •  45’

servicemaster, № 12 (2016–2017) with Kim Farris-Manning
film / installation  •  55’

Thomas Nicholson
Photo by Christina Marx (chords, melodies 2019)


A Compact Enharmonically Viable Subset of Harmonic Space (2020) with Marc Sabat
The Stern-Brocot Tree and Some Thoughts About Lattices and Spirals
Published in Živá hudba 2020/11

The Helmholtz-Ellis JI Pitch Notation (2020) with Marc Sabat
revised symbols for primes up to 47; legend and harmonic/subharmonic series

Farey sequences map playable nodes on a string (2019) with Marc Sabat
mathematical model of harmonic nodes; musical applications
Published in TEMPO 74 (291 January 2020)

Microtonal playback in Dorico (2018)
software review with technical examples of Dorico 2’s microtonal just intonation playback capabilities

Fundamental Principles of Just Intonation and Microtonal Composition (2018) with Marc Sabat

Research, resources and software

Surprising Connections in Extended Just Intonation
Investigations and reflections on tonal change
(Masters Thesis, Universität der Künste Berlin, 2021)

Harmonic Series Spiral Synth
in-broswer synthesiser and interactive visualisation of the harmonic series in the form of a logarithmic spiral
based on Erv Wilson’s 1965 publication and Catherine Lamb’s related creative/pedagogical practice

String instrument physical model
SuperCollider synth – useful for generating a “more realistic” string timbre (slight inharmonicitiy, bow attack, bow position, etc.)

example mockup with James Tenney’s KOAN for string quartet

The 'helmholtz-ellis-ji-notation' package
LaTeX package for typesetting HEJI accidentals in text documents, archived on CTAN (Version 1 2020-05-19)

Plainsound Harmonic Space Calculator
in-browser tool for analysis, composition, and performance preparation of music composed in microtonal just intonation
(Version 2.5 2020-05-11)

Thomas Nicholson
Photo by Mareike Yin-Yee Lee (recording Gioseffo Zarlino in Wannsee, 2019)


Originally from Fredericton, Canada (*1995), I studied composition with Christopher Butterfield and piano with Arthur Rowe at the University of Victoria (BMus 2017). In 2017, I relocated to Berlin, Germany to study at the Universität der Künste (MMus 2021) with Marc Sabat, whom I assisted teaching intonation theory. I am currently a member of the Harmonic Space Orchestra, a Berlin-based ensemble of 13 performer-composers specialising in just intonation music.

I find continual inspiration in practices from a wide range of fields, periods, and contexts, including mathematics, graphic design, artwork across many centuries—painting in particular, computational logic, and conversation. Under the influence of microtonal extended just intonation, my compositions since 2014 have engaged with the often mysterious interactions between perceptual independence and dependence: contrapuntal lines and harmonic fields (the spectrum between melodies and harmonies). In particular, I have been exploring the musical consequences of isolating various miniscule, yet remarkably expressive enharmonic connections inherent to extended just intonation. I enjoy composing the most for smaller settings consisting of two to four musicians and occasionally collaborate on film and installation projects. I am actively researching as well as developing tools and methods for navigating the practical challenges of realising microtonal music on acoustic instruments—especially, strings.

Thomas Nicholson
Photo by Hanna Bächer (HSO performing in Cologne, 2021)

Plainsound Music Edition

Thomas Nicholson
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Wönnichstraße 3, 10317 Berlin, Germany

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