Portrait of Dr Scott Mclaughlin Dr Scott Mclaughlin

s.mclaughlin@hud.ac.uk | 01484 473066


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).

His music is concerned with relationships between minimal processes of transformation and proliferation: ideas of recursion, hysteresis, difference, cluster-microtonality, chaos/complexity theory, interactivity. Scott is also an improviser (cello or live electronics), and plays in the pop/alt-folk duo Phantom Dog Beneath the Moon. Recent performances have been given by Sebastian Berweck, Jonathan Sage, Ann Evans, Metapraxis Ensemble, Crash Ensemble, Trio Scordatura, and the public attendees at Analogous Projects’ ICMC 2010 event in New York.

Research and Scholarship

Scott’s research is built around his compositional practice, and is informed especially by scientific work in chaos theory and networks. Current research project examines the application of Chaos Theory as a model for experimental composition and performance via indeterminacy. The methodology includes the composition of open-form music using a bounded-improvisation model. Through examination of the phenomena in Chaos Theory, the mechanism of the phenomena can be reduced to actors and forces and applied as an algorithmic score for musical performance, making the performance and the piece itself a dynamical system with variable outputs and a dependency on initial materials. As an extension of this research Scott is also interested generally in the intersections between dynamical systems and music. Scott is also very interested in examining boundary conditions in performance and composition, several of his works focus on the inherent instability of certain sounds, such as woodwind multiphonics, and exploits this instability as an indeterminate element in the music, with structural consequences arising from the non-linear interactions.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Lycett, R. and McLaughlin, S.(2011) untitled {2011}. Robert Lycett (Unpublished).


McLaughlin, S. and Tremblay, P. (2010) ‘SpectralConway: Cellular Automata Off The GridInternational Computer Music Conference Proceedings , 2010, pp. 68-71. ISSN 2223-3881


Tremblay, P. and McLaughlin, S. (2009) ‘Thinking Inside the Box: A New Integrated Approach to Mixed Music Composition and PerformanceInternational Computer Music Conference Proceedings , 2009, pp. 379-386. ISSN 2223-3881

McLaughlin, S (2009) ‘Composition Research’. In: University of Huddersfield Research Festival, 23rd March - 2nd April 2009, University of Huddersfield

McLaughlin, S (2009) Strange Attractors: A Commentary on Applications of Indeterminacy in my Recent Music Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Research Degree Supervision

Scott is especially interested in supervising work related to composition, from both a technical perspective and a more theoretical perspective that affords consideration of social/philosophical/aesthetical input. Work in the area of experimental music, including (but not limited to) text scores, open-forms, algorithmic music, process-based music, minimalism and reductionist aesthetics is welcome. Scott’s own research project is in the application of Chaos Theory and Dynamical Systems Theory as compositional models for open-form works, and music generally as a dynamical system, he especially welcomes research that would complement this.

• Experimental composition

• Dynamical systems in music

• Indeterminacy in music