Photo by Christina Marx (chords, melodies 2019)


Composition Catalogue







All Instruments
Violin
Viola
Cello
Keyboard
Guitar
Harp
Percussion
Flute
Clarinet
Saxophone
Bassoon
Horn
Accordion
Voice
Electronics
Open

Research, Resources & Publications

Relations of tone as an analogy for relations of colour (2020)  • 

The 'helmholtz-ellis-ji-notation' package  • 
LaTeX package for typesetting in-line HEJI accidentals, archived on CTAN (Version 2.5 2020-05-19)

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

The Intoning Voice: Two microtonal case studies in compositions of Harry Partch and Catherine Lamb
analyses of Dark Brother and parallaxis forma; discussion of extended just intonation practices
(Masters Thesis, UdK Berlin, 2019–)

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

Nodal positions along a string for harmonics 1° through 19° (2019)  • 
121 positions to play any harmonic < 19° notated along the contrabass’ D string (with distances in mm)

Irreducible divisions of a string (2019)  • 
nodal positions for partials 1° through 36° as mediants between nodes of lower harmonics (Farey tree) with corresponding stopped pitches defining a 31-limit harmonic space

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  • 

About

I was born in Fredericton, Canada in 1995. In addition to music and interdisciplinary artistic experiments, I find myself guided by many practices from a wide range of fields and periods — these include mathematics, typography, graphic design, Renaissance artwork, and web development. I studied composition with Christopher Butterfield and piano with Arthur Rowe at the University of Victoria (Canada). In 2017, I moved to Berlin to study at the Universität der Künste with Marc Sabat, whom I assisted in teaching intonation theory. Since its inception in 2019, I have been a core member of the Harmonic Space Orchestra, a Berlin-based ensemble of performer-composers focusing on music in just intonation.

My compositions since 2014 have examined the interaction between counterpoint (melodies), harmony (chords), and the unique gradations of spectral fusion evoked through microtonal just intonation (auditory perception). I compose primarily for smaller settings of musicians and occasionally collaborate on film and installation. I am actively researching as well as developing tools and methods for navigating the practical challenges of realising microtonal music on acoustic instruments — strings, in particular. My awards and honours include prizes from the SOCAN Foundation for my compositions MOTTE and ABOUT (2017) as well as SOCAN’s John Weinzweig Grand Prize (2017), the DAAD Prize from the Universität der Künste Berlin (2018), and a feature in CBC Music’s 30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30 (2018).

Photo by Rafal Rawicki (2018)





www.plainsound.org

Download my CV and work list



Thomas Nicholson
thomas (at) thomasnicholson (dot) ca
Zähringerstraße 29, 10707 Berlin, Germany

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