Sam Erpelding - Composition

Ecoacoustic research and its expression through ecological sonic-visual art

Species extinction in natural spaces and ecoacoustic composition strategies

This artistic-scholarly dissertation deals with ecological sound art, electroacoustic composition and multimedia installation and investigates the relationship between soundscape diversity and biodiversity with regard to urgent ecological issues. The objective is to measure and compare the presence of  anthrophonies and biodiversity in two Austrian national parks with adjacent human-altered landscapes. The aim is to make auditory and non-auditory patterns and ecological issues of a landscape scientifically and artistically presentable.

There is a lack of effective communication of ecological findings to the public. The main intention of this dissertation is the artistic approach to process ecoacoustic findings in a sonic-visual artwork and to gain new perspectives on musical properties in composition inspired by ecological artistic research. Results are thereby mapped via specific sound signatures, fluctuations, temporal identifiability, localisation, dynamics, etc.

How can habitat ambience, biodiversity quality and soundscape quality be represented through sonic-visual art? How can artistic multimedia strategies represent seasonal acoustic dynamics and species-specific distribution ? To what extent can the relationship between species calls and landscape patterns be represented through sonic-visual art ?

It will be necessary to develop ecoacoustic composition strategies based on environmental and acoustic monitoring, ecoacoustic analysis, electroacoustic composition and multimedia installation.  The written work will clarify the interpretation of the ecoacoustic data and justify the artistic strategy of the final ecological multimedia composition.

First supervisor: Ao Prof. Mag. Andreas Weixler, ABPU
Second supervisor: Associate Prof. Dr. Jana Petermann, University of Salzburg


Sam Erpelding (*1992, Luxembourg) is a sound engineer, composer, sound artist, field recordist and soundscaper and builds his own acoustic elements and experimental musical instruments. As an electric guitarist he performs in various formations, including the trio "ARGON", with whom he has toured Central Europe. Under the pseudonym "Dankwart" Sam publishes his compositions mostly by himself, but also on various labels. He works as a freelance sound engineer and produces sound recordings and concerts in the fields of classical music, jazz, rock and electroacoustics.

Erpelding completed his studies in sound engineering at SAE Vienna with distinction and produced a sound documentary about the nature reserve "Prënzebierg" in Luxembourg. Furthermore, he studied music theory and basic harmonic research with Kurt Haider in Vienna. In 2018 he completed the course in Computer Music and Electronic Media at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. In 2019, he completed the master's programme in Digital Media Technologies at the University of Applied Sciences St. Pölten and conducted an Ambisonic Soundscape investigation in the Donau-Auen National Park as part of his master's thesis.

In 2018, he was artist in residence at the Kunsthalle Groß-Siegharts in Lower Austria and published his sound installation "Prënzebierg". In 2020, he won the ORF Art Radio Art Competition together with the language artist Elif San. He is co-founder of the Luxembourgish art collective "D'Kréiennascht" and since 2021 member of the radio art network of the Greater Region "Radiôme". He is currently doing his doctorate at the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz, Austria.