Professor Kevin Dahan

Job: Professor of Music Sciences

Faculty: Computing, Engineering and Media

School/department: Leicester Media School

Research group(s): Music, Technology and Innovation - Institute for Sonic Creativity

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: +441162078769




Personal profile

Kevin Dahan is Professor of Music Sciences at De Montfort University, with a focus on computer music and electroacoustic music analysis. He earned his doctorate in 2005 from Université de Paris 8, under the direction of Horacio Vaggione, on the topic Formal Domains and Representations in the Composition and Analysis of Electroacoustic Music. He has diplomas in classical piano and jazz guitar, as well as harmony, counterpoint, electroacoustic composition, and jazz arrangement – reflecting his need to stay in a constant contact with musical practice. He is currently investigating aspects of music cognition, developing tools for analysis and composition, experimenting with Brain-Computer Interfaces, researching archives of Computer Music, composing, and finishing a book on musical time in relation with technology.

Research group affiliations

MTI2 - Music, Technology and Innovation - Institute for Sonic Creativity, De Montfort University

LISAA (CCAMAN), Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée

Publications and outputs

Recent publications:

  • Musings on computer music perennity
    Musings on computer music perennity Dahan, Kevin It should come as no surprise that, at more than sixty years of age, the computer music field starts to ponder its legacy: what started almost as a ‘challenge’ is now a well-established academic practice which has had a profound impact over the whole music and entertainment industries. More often than not, breakthroughs in our field were initially established through pursuing musical or aesthetical, rather than purely technical, goals: this is especially the case in ‘early’ computer music. Clearly, it is now time to reflect on the numerous techniques (many of which make the foundations of current music software) that have been initiated over the years. Perhaps one of the best ways of examining these is through in-depth multimodal analyses of computer music works: this approach would constitute an initial effort towards a critical evaluation of computer music history. open access article Dahan, K.(2020) Musings on computer music perennity. array, - Archiving, International Computer Music Association, San Francisco.
  • Towards Effective Preservation of Electroacoustic Music
    Towards Effective Preservation of Electroacoustic Music Dahan, Kevin Electroacoustic music is inherently transdisciplinary. Crafted in varied environments, in many different styles, using a plethora of techniques, electroacoustic music works present a challenge for the composer, listener and music analyst alike. In part, this is due to the evolution of our technological environment over the past 70 years: analogue has been supplanted by digital, systems have come and gone, medias have deteriorated and increasing ease of communication meant increased awareness and sharing of cultural, technological and musical practices. The abundance of approaches made possible by those factors, and the global availability of relatively cheap digital systems, led to the multiplication of electroacoustic composition workshops away from recognised creation centres, and, consequently, to the dispersion of many electroacoustic compositions. Previous initiatives have demonstrated the difficulty in locating and safekeeping important and pioneering electroacoustic works (IDEAMA 1996) and, since then, the complexities of this task have only grown exponentially. Current initiatives are mostly bound by institutional limitations and greatly depend on the goodwill and time of individuals. In such a context, how to enact effective preservation of electroacoustic music? Several strategies have already been explored, from simple media preservation (which consists of ensuring the storage of the finished composition through media copies), all the way up to reconstruction (which requires access to a sufficient number of sources as well as specialist knowledge). It is clear that, being artefacts of technologies, being able to preserve the plasticity of electroacoustic music is a significant advantage, as it ensures long-term adaptation (and enjoyment) to ever-evolving diffusion norms, protocols and systems. Significant challenges lie ahead to establish the to ensure effective preservation of electroacoustic music. Notably, we have to: a) establish an extensive catalogue of candidate works for preservation; b) classify compositions depending on the information and data available; c) determine the best preservation model; d) actually preserve the composition. We argue that, even though all these steps require a breadth of varied specialist knowledge, musicological and analytical considerations must drive the whole process, so as not to lose the cultural perspective. Dahan, K. (2020) Towards Effective Preservation of Electroacoustic Music. Archiving and Re-Performing Electro-acoustic Music Symposium 2020
  • A temporal framework for electroacoustic music exploration
    A temporal framework for electroacoustic music exploration Dahan, Kevin Many aural analytical methods have been produced for electroacoustic music that focus on the identification of salient morphological features of the sounds. Doing so, they usually overlook the importance of time - a central aspect of music - sometimes by considering it as a simple compositional parameter. Instead, this article proposes a novel theoretical framework for electroacoustic music understanding by putting time and its cognitive representations during perception at the forefront. Two concepts are introduced to propose this alternative approach to electroacoustic music description: temporal directionality, which focuses on the sounds themselves, and temporal distancing, which focuses on the relations between sounds. Throughout the text, several musical examples are given to briefly exemplify how such concepts can be used in an explanatory context. Finally, polychrony is introduced, which aims to describe how electroacoustic composers play with the various cases of temporal directionality and distancing, and, in the process, actually weave time itself. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. Dahan, K. (2020) A temporal framework for electroacoustic music exploration. Organised Sound, 25(2).

 Click here for a full listing of Kevin Dahan's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Computer Music
  • Music Analysis
  • Music Informatics
  • 20th and 21st century Music
  • Electroacoustic Composition
  • Music and the Brain
  • Digital Arts
  • Jazz

Courses taught

MUST1009 - Digital Cultures

MUST2003 - Ideas in Music and Sonic Arts

MUST2008 - Composing with Technology

MUST3000/3024 - Dissertation/Final Project

MUST3021 - Advance Creative Projects

TECH3010 - Technology Project

Honours and awards

Visiting Scholar, Stanford University (USA), 2017-.

Membership of professional associations and societies

Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique (1999-)

International Computer Music Association (2002-)

Society for Music Perception and Cognition (2009-)

Electroacoustic Music Studies Network (2007-)

International Society for the Study of Time (2014-)

Externally funded research grants information

Rediscovering Sounds: investigating the CCRMA archives, British Academy/Leverhulme Trust, 04.2017-03.2019, Principal Investigator.

Internally funded research project information

Research Leave Scheme, 2018/2019.

Listening to timbres, composing with sounds, HEIF, 2016/2017, Principal Investigator.