The University of Melbourne
3 files

A Book of Hours

posted on 2024-06-25, 04:45 authored by KATE NEALKATE NEAL, Sal Cooper, Rubiks Collective, Gerard Van Dyck

A Book of Hours integrates music, sound, performance, movement, and visual media to explore the mysteries of time and the different ways we spend our days.

The sonic world fuses amplified traditional instruments (harpsichord, gongs, cello, piano, flute) with household objects (alarm clocks, wind-up toys, toothbrushes) as well as glitchy electronics and samples drawn from the 15 remaining speaking clocks in the world. Additionally, a range of musical genres are explored and abtsracted – spectral, riff-based electronica, neo-classical, fusion, early baroque, minimalism, and complexity – in a tightly notated and scripted field that includes gestures and non- or extra-musical elements. As such, the score is able to alternatingly converse with, challenge, or seamlessly integrate itself within the other disciplinary components of the work.

The music echoes and refracts the visual experiences of movement provided by the manipulated film (stop motion, fast motion, composited slow motion), the live-action footage of the performance, and the various movements and interactions of the four live musicians themselves as they interact with live and pre-filmed material. Moreover, intricate gestures and subtle manipulations of bodily movement are included in the score and are embedded in the musicians’ actions, resulting in multiple levels of heard and unheard sound actuation. From the audience perspective, complex, cross-modal relationships feedback and feedforward into each other, creating an evolving counterpoint of screen-based motion, live movement, and sonic-musical phenomena.


Besen Foundation;Philanthropic - Arts;

Creative Victoria;New Work;

Australia Council;New Work;


Add to Elements

  • Yes

NTRO Output Type

  • Original Creative Work

NTRO Output Category

  • Original Creative Work : Other


Melbourne, Australia



NTRO Publisher


Start Date


End Date



Visual-Music, Contemporary Music, Performance, Visual Media, Screen-dance, Animation, Movement

Research Statement

A Book of Hours reflects a growing body of large-scale performative works that seek to explore, through notation and script, the boundaries between sound, performance, movement, sight and visual media. Scored gesture and intricate and subtle manipulations of physical action are notated and embedded in the musicians, resulting in multiple levels of heard, unheard and perceived sound actuation. This field of research explores the convergence of various artistic disciplines. It goes beyond traditional boundaries of music composition, embracing new forms of expression and collaboration. Terms like "expanded field," "new discipline," "post-instrumental practice," "visual music," and "music-theatre" are often used interchangeably or in relation to specific aspects within this broader interdisciplinary context. A Book of Hours contributes to this “expanded field” of contemporary music practice with a specificity on notation, syntax and script. How do we perceive the movement of music? Can notation aid in creating formal scaffolding for in-depth collaborative practice? Incorporating forms of filmed manipulation of movement including stop motion, fast motion, composited slow motion and live action footage, four live musicians interact with live pre-filmed material, creating a counterpoint of screen-based motion and live movement. “Call it dance or art music or just live performance. Whatever it is – A Book of Hours is the best kind of puzzle.” — Review - Andrew Fuhrmann ★★★★ The Age Associate Professor in Music - Dylan van der Schyff: "Remarkably, these layers of collaborative, multi-modal, and theatrical expression are woven into the score itself. A Book of Hours is a significant new work that makes an outstanding and highly original contribution to current compositional practice. The work also beautifully reflects the inclusive and forward-looking orientation that characterizes the best collaborative cross-disciplinary work in Australia and globally."

Size or Duration of Work

50min score and performance work


Kate Neal, University of Melbourne