The Augmented Instrument concert is the first of a series of events that aim at showcasing the technologies we develop to enhance musical performance. The concert was held at The Luminaire in London.
The Augmented Instruments concerts covered by BBC World Service on Digital Planet
Sensor technology can be used to enhance existing instruments in new ways and the aim of the concert is to showcase some of these instruments in action. Rather than creating entirely new instruments, we enhance traditional instruments with sensors. For example we measure movements like the acceleration of your arm as you play a chord, and use those movements to transform the sound produced by the instruments.
By combining electronic music with new technology, we can produce a range of new sounds – both electronic and instrumental – and build on existing practices of traditional instruments.
In addition to the Queen Mary team, the concert also brings together five renowned musicians and three video artists from the University of Newcastle, the University of Paris, and the University of Huddersfield.
Atau Tanaka from Newcastle University creates music using bio-metric information from his body, transforming movement into sound. Otso Lahdeoja from the University of Paris adds sensors to his guitar so that the way it is held affects the sound, e.g. swinging the neck or rotating his torso. Sinan Bokesoy uses a set of accelerometers and infra red sensors to control sonic events and visual effects programmed by the visual artist Daito Manabe. Pierre Alexandre Tremblay plays a 6-string bass plugged into his laptop to transform the sound in real time. Jean-Baptiste Thiebaut, performing with Otso Lahdeoja, creates soundscapes by modifying in real time the sound of the guitar.
Jean-Baptiste Thiebaut and Otso Lahdeoja, Live at the Luminaire
The event was preceded by a workshop where the artists demonstrated their systems and discuss the multiple approaches and aesthetic choices that led them to develop these systems.
Pierre Alexandre Tremblay
Otso Lahdeoja and the Mars Walkers (OAO)
Pictures by Steve Welburn