Graphic Notation – Puppet Whispers

The latest project! This summer I’ve set myself the task of designing a piece of animated music notation software that converts ensemble gestures into data which affects a musical score. The idea was initially to design a performance framework where performers could be separated visually allowing a composer/mediator to control the level of interactivity between each instrumentalist.

Chinese Puppet Whispers

The interaction found in the traditional game of ‘Chinese Whispers‘ or ‘telephone‘ will be used as a central theme for the pieces performed in concert. The transmission of gestural and aural information and its transformation as it is constantly recycled in addition to composed materials.

Each performer will have a computer generated graphic score. I’ve been prototyping the score as a program in Processing which is a great tool for visual/sonic artists who understand programming concepts. I will be using pressure sensitive resistors on the performers’ feet to collect time lapsed data and accelerometers attached to the performer to control the drawn imaged in the ‘shared space’ half of the graphic score.  The software in its current state looks like this.

Puppet Whispers - software by Christopher Chong

I will be keeping this blog updated as the system evolves. The current shadow screens are too small and the pieces to be performed are still being developed. At the moment the software divides the screen into an individual and shared spaces. The individual space presents each performer with different information dependent on the movement gestures captured by an adjacent performer. The shared space allows for communication between all 4 performers simultaneously but as with the other gestural information, its visibility is controlled by a mediator.

Any comments and suggestions are welcome at this early stage of development!!
-Major C

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