Dr Dave Payling

Associate Professor

School of Digital, Technologies and Arts

Dave is an audio-visual artist who holds a PhD in composition. His sonification composition, Listen (Awakening) was performed at the Sydney Opera House in 2004. His recent work involves composition for visual music. He is section editor for Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture. 

Dave is an audio-visual artist who originates from Sheffield and now teaches electronic music, audio mastering, sound synthesis and visual music at Staffordshire University. He holds a PhD in Visual Music composition, completed in 2014. His earlier research centred on sonification and auditory display, while recent interests focus on composition using sound and image.

As well as his research outputs Dave also produces mainstream electronic music mostly in the house and techno genres, but infuses this with elements of electric guitar, a skill he picked up when playing in several bands during his formative years in Sheffield. He has a small home studio with a modest set up of hardware synths and sequenced instruments. Most his music is produced ‘in the box’ using DAWs including Ableton Live, Steinberg Nuendo, Logic and Native Instruments Komplete.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Academic qualifications

  • PhD (Film, Media and Music) Staffordshire University. Visual Music Composition with Electronic Sound and Video
  • MSc (Music Technology) York University.
  • PGCE (Design and Technology) Sheffield Hallam University.
  • BEng (Hons) First Class Honours in Electronic Systems and Control Engineering. Sheffield Hallam University.


  • Visual music
  • audio-visual composition
  • electronic music composition
  • sound synthesis
  • music software

Research interests

  • Visual Music
  • Electronic Dance Music
  • Audio-visuals

I supervise PhD research projects and invite applications for those interested in: visual music, electronic music, audio-visual performance and related disciplines.


  • Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant (2019). Heatwork Audio-visual Performance and the Potteries. ACPG-00169024. £11,400.



  • Sound mixing
  • Audio mastering
  • Music composition
  • Individual Projects


  • Research methods
  • Audio visual composition and performance
  • Mastering and surround
  • Master projects


Electronic Visual Music: the Elements of Audiovisual Creativity (2023) Routledge. https://routledge.pub/Electronic-Visual-Music (Book)

Approaches to Composition in Visual Music: An Artist’s Reflection on Three Original Pieces. (2019) Leonardo Music Journal. The MIT Press. (Journal Article)

Lumia and Visual Music. Using Thomas Wilfred’s Lumia Factors to Inform Audiovisual Composition. (2017) eContact! Online Journal for Electroacoustic Practices. (Journal Article)

The DiY Free Party Collective. (2016) Dancecult Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture. (Journal Article)

Biphase – Audio visual performance with James Dooley

6th July. ICMC, Limerick Ireland

Sunset – Electroacoustic composition

25th July 2021. ICMC, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

Neon Vibration – Visual Music Composition

23rd March 2018. SeeingSound Bath Spa University

1st December 2017. Synchresis, Program 28. Granada Spain. XXIV Festival Internacional de Arte Sonoro y Música Electroacústica Punto de encuentro

4th November 2017. Visual Music Full Dome Festival. Morelos Mexico.

External profiles

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021