The Tomb of the Grammarian Lysias: Real-Time Performance and Crowd-Distributed Music Diffusion with Networked Mobile Devices

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Networked and Mobile Sound

Presentation Title:

  • The Tomb of the Grammarian Lysias: Real-Time Performance and Crowd-Distributed Music Diffusion with Networked Mobile Devices

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • (Long paper)

    Keywords: Mobile Apps, Networked Audio, Crowd-Sourced Performance, Granular Synthesis, Algorithmic Systems, Generative Music, Multichannel Sound, Greek Poetry, Microtonality, iOS, Web Audio API.

    “The Tomb of the Grammarian Lysias” is a setting of a poem by Constantine P. Cavafy for voice and audience members’ mobile devices, composed by Ben Houge, based on software developed by Ben Houge and Javier Sánchez. During a performance of the work, a vocal soloist sings the poem in Greek, recording fragments of his or her voice using a custom application; these recordings are distributed wirelessly to the mobile devices of audience members for further processing and deployment, providing the crowd-distributed accompaniment to the soloist, with no other sound reinforcement required. The result is a uniquely portable and scalable performance environment in which the audience enables the work without directly interacting with it, representing an underexplored realm of app-based music performance. This paper presents an overview of the work’s genesis and antecedents, a description of the technology developed to enable the performance, and a discussion of its unique aspects and aesthetic ramifications. In closing we share some of the challenges related to presenting a piece that involves audience members’ mobile devices, including a comparison of the work’s two incarnations: as a native iOS app and as a web app using the Web Audio API.

Related Links:

Category: