From Mozart to Marsalis –
From Baroque to Bebop –
Mini-Music 2006





Mini-Music  Q & A

What Is CIRMMT?  
A Place Where Music, Science and Technology Thrive
Prof. Stephen McAdams
Prof. Sean Ferguson
Prof. Marcelo Wanderley

1 – Is there a correlation between a musician's movements and the audience's reaction?

The main answer is a resounding "Yes!" It has been shown that the perceived musical tension in a performance is a combination of hearing the performer and seeing them move expressively. The main component is the auditory input, but the visual input can inflect the auditory-based musical tension, making it momentarily greater or lesser depending on how the performer sways as they are playing. Our experience in designing gestural controllers for new digital musical instruments has also shown us that there needs to be a correlation between the types of gestures used and the audible result. One important factor is that there should be a relationship in the audience's mind between changes in sound and gesture. When gestures don't seem to result in any change in the sound, or when changes in sound don't seem to be accompanied by a deliberate gesture, audiences tend to feel confused and the effectiveness of the instrument for concert use is diminished.

2 – Would you please define multi-channel audio?

Multi-channel audio is the diffusion of sound over more than one loudspeaker. Stereo is two-channel audio. The popular Dolby 5.1 system that accompanies many DVD players today is six-channel audio, with one speaker straight aheadm two in front to the left and right, two in the rear to the left and right, and an additional low-frequency woofer for vibrations. In concerts at the Schulich School of Music, sound systems that do not correspond to these commercial formats are often used. The number of speakers and their placement in the hall can change from piece to piece, depending on the composer's wishes. In a recent performance of a piece for eight discrete channels of sound, one of the speakers was even located offstage in the wings! In an upcoming research project of which we are all members, a system to diffuse twenty-four channels of audio in live performance under the gestural control of performers is being developed. A new piece will be performed using this system in the spring of 2008.

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