sonorama, 2011

interactive musical installation
dimensions variable
undetermined duration
 

Along with Electronic Gamelan (2007) and Sounding Score (2009), Sonorama (2011) belongs to a series of musical works, by Alba Triana, that use hybridization, technology and interactivity to find new ways of constructing, delivering and experiencing music.

Considering that musical ideas are perceived differently when a person is composing, listening or performing, and that spectators have traditionally played a passive role, these works promote the public’s active participation; not only because visitors put the music together, but most importantly because they engage their musicality, intuition and creativity as they experience the work. Within this interactive model, spectator, machine and composer cooperate in producing a personalized and renewable music, connected by that kind of intangible interface which is musical expressivity.

Whereas Electronic Gamelan and Sounding Score are whole complete pieces, Sonorama consists of a set of malleable musical ideas and behaviors provided for the pubic to play with. Using a simple visual interface, on a touch surface, visitors can activate/deactivate digital buttons and arrows to generate moments, trajectories, even create a piece or simply live the process of manipulating these musical objects.

The music always starts with a motor rhythm (periodic repetition of notes) reiterating a central pitch, which keeps slightly shifting its tuning. Using digital arrows, users can find different ways of getting away from this central pitch, which transforms the texture, unveiling a “high relieve” in which more discernible musical lines can be perceived. Spectators can also play with seven buttons, which activate/deactivate different melodic-like materials. These seven steps progress not only in density and complexity, but also from a more “cantabile” to a more “pointillistic” behavior.

Despite Sonorama’s open form and shapeable materials, the composition can be considered determinate. All steps (buttons, arrows) activate musical behaviors that can be recognized and identified, even though their individual components (notes) are always different. Statistics and probabilities previously established by the composer allow the computer to recalculate musical parameters for each sound it generates; this is how the identity and perceivable characteristics of musical ideas are controlled.

Similarly to Sounding Score, Sonorama’s visual design evokes a score. Musical parameters are graphically represented as the interaction unfolds, in order to stimulate a deeper, yet intuitive, understanding of the music, to support the user’s interpretation.

 

Special thanks: Juan Ricardo Forero, music piece programing. Matthew Ostrowski, visual interface programming.