Find below a link to a short text, an audiofile with interviews with Edwin van der Heide and me, and lots of photos made during the opening ceremony of “Fluisterende Wind”



Whispering Wind (Fluisterende wind) is situated in the new passage that cuts right under the recently renovated P.J. Veth building of Leiden University. With this passage a new pathway between the Leiden Observatory and the Hortus Botanicus has been created. The artwork consists of a wall relief of 12.5 by 2.5 meters and an 8-channel generative sound composition. The composition creates a continuum between noise and human voice which results in moments when wind seems to be whispering.

Whispering Wind was established at the initiative of Marcel Cobussen, professor of Auditory Culture at the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts. Cobussen is also the founder of Phonotonie, a center that wants to draw particular attention to improving the auditory environment in urban areas.

The official opening will be performed by Robert Strijk, alderman of Economic Affairs, Accessibility, Culture and City Center of Leiden, on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 from 4:00 pm.



In today’s RTL Nieuws EditieNL a short interview with me why Q Music‘s radio quiz “Het Geluid” was so difficult. (The text is in Dutch.)

Q Music.jpg

Finally it is there, my e-pub on improvisation and complex systems. And … thanks to Leiden University Press and the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, it is for free as well.

Download for free:

E-PUB: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/52784
E-PDF: http://oapen.org/search?identifier=637220 


The central aim of this e-pub is to present a new approach to “the field of musical improvisation” (FMI), a theory which understands improvisation as a nonlinear dynamic and complex system. The study provocatively argues that during an improvisation more actants are “at work” than musicians alone: space, acoustics, instruments, audience, technicians, musical and socio-cultural backgrounds, technology, and the like all play a significant role. However, not all of these actants determine every improvisation to the same extent; some are more prominent and active than others in certain situations (periods, styles, cultures, as well as more singular circumstances). Therefore, the FMI theory will prove to be more than a theory dealing with improvisation “in general.” Rather, FMI emphasizes singularity: each improvisation thus yields a different network of actants and interactions, a unique configuration or assembly.


It is startlingly original in so much as it brings a philosophical/social understanding to the field of musical improvisation. I’ve not really encountered a work that does this so imaginatively and thoroughly. Indeed – reading the work – I think the whole manuscript is one wonderful set of improvisations – and as such works very well. Michael Bull Professor of Sound Studies at the University of Sussex

Marcel Cobussen offers a concise and compelling account of musical improvisation that spans – and at times transgresses – conventional notions of musical genre and academic discipline. A wonderful approach that leverages the multimodal aspects of improvisation and of learning in general. Bravo! David Borgo Professor of Music at UC San Diego



music and ethics

… more good news … after the launch of “my” MOOC Music & Society a couple of days ago, today I found on my doormat the paperback version of “Music and Ethics”, the book I wrote with Nanette Nielsen. 35 GBP instead of the 95 GBP for the hard cover. IOW, affordable for more people!


I am happy (and a bit proud) to announce that the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) my colleagues and I from Leiden University developed about Music and Society is online! If you are interested in the relation between music and society, philosophy of music, sociology of music or aesthetics, make sure to check it out! https://l.facebook.com/…/https%3A%2F%2Fwww.coursera.org%2Fl…” or directly on the Coursera site: https://www.coursera.org/learn/music-society

My inaugural lecture, “Towards a ‘New’ Sonic Ecology” is now available online.

Please go on this site to “publications” and then to “articles”.


On November 29 and 30 the International Conference The Role and Position of Sound and Sounding Art in Public Urban Environments will take place at Leiden University, The Netherlands. Guest speakers (among many others): Salome Voegelin, Michael Bull, Gascia Ouzounian, Jean-Paul Thibaud, Edwin van der Heide, and Raviv Ganchrow.

Here’s the full program:



09:30 – 10:00: Registration

10:00 – 10:20: Falk Hübner/Maarten Zaagman: “I Will Carry You Over Hard Times”

10:20 – 10:30: Welcome (Marcel Cobussen)


Theme 1: Sound and Urban (Atmo)Spheres (Chair: Vincent Meelberg)

10:30 – 10:50: Miguelangel Clerc: “NS Den Haag-Groningen”

10:50 – 11:10: Jean-Paul Thibaud: “Atmospheric Impregnation”


11:10 – 11:30: Coffee Break + Cathy van Eck: “Für Kopfhörende”


11:30 – 11:50: Rene van Egmond: “Soundscapes in Human Product Interactions”

11:50 – 12:15: Gabriel Paiuk: “Technological conditions and engagement”

12:15 – 12:45: Discussion


Theme 2: Sound Art in Public Spaces (Chair: Jan Nieuwenhuis)

14:30 – 14:50: Salomé Voegelin: “Sound Art as Public Art”

14:50 – 15:10: Raviv Ganchrow: “Latent Aurality of Anechoic Chambers”

15:10 – 15:30: Irene van Kamp: “Understanding perceived soundscapes”

15:30 – 16:00: Discussion


Theme 3: Contemporary Urban Acoustic Experiences (Chair: Sharon Stewart)

16:30 – 16:50: Falk Hübner/Juan Parra: “Jukebox”

16:50 – 17:10: Gascia Ouzounian: “Acoustic Urbanism”

17:10 – 17:30: Tjeerd Andringa: “Experiencing Sound Annoyance”

17:30 – 18:00: Discussion




09:30 – 10:00: Registration

10:00 – 10:20: Justin Bennett: “Hyper-Forum: listening to the social”

10:20 – 10:25: Marcel Cobussen


Theme 4: Towards an Auditory Epistemology (Chair: Marcel Cobussen)

10:25 – 10:45: Edwin van der Heide: “Son-O-House, Spectral Diffractions, and Schwingungen – Schwebungen”

10:45 – 11:05: Michael Bull: “Sirens: From Sonic Myth to Sonic Materiality?”


11:05 – 11:35: Coffee Break + Cathy van Eck: “Für Kopfhörende”


11:35 – 11:55: Paul Craenen: “On sound art and listening time”

11:55 – 12:15: Christopher Williams: “Opening Ears and Selling MorrowSound”

12:15 – 12:25: Michiel Huijsman: “Is place confinement a form of deafness?”

12:25 – 13:00: Discussion


13:00 – 13:25: Cilia Erens: “Moving the Masses” (Soundwalk)