What did we want to learn?
So what did we want to learn?
- We wanted to know how the same technologies would be used differently in a much larger group
- We wanted to find out if people playing felt they could create music with each other
- We wanted to find out if people preffered to use the iRing, the touchscreen or a keyboard to make music with
What did we use?
- Kinnect (the Kinnect refused to work in the first experiment, this time it controlled choices of rhythmic patterns)
- Tether (more pleasant sound to control, with more obvious changes)
- Leap Motion (we had another attempt at getting this to work using thr contol of a bass sound)
- IK Multimedia iRing (this time we configured the iRing to be able to control musical pitches, not just playing back rhythms)
Who was involved?
How did it work?
We had two setups.
One setup combined the Tether, the Kinnect and the Leap Motion. It worked like a kind of band, one person could control the beats, one could control a synth sound and one could control the beats. The sound from all three devices was mixed together and could be heard in the room - fairly loudly, at least loud enough to dance to!
The other setup was a table of five iPads each with their own headphones. Each iPad was using the ThumbJam app most of the time. It is a great sound source and can get quite expressive. On one iPad we used the iRings to control ThumbJam. The player could move up and down with the iRing to control the pitch of an instrument. On another iPad ThumbJam was being controlled by a small midi keyboard. On the other three we ThumbJam was being controlled by the players swiping their fingers on the iPad's touchscreen.
What did we learn?
We learned that working with a large group over a much longer time is really different to the short workshop sessions. We realised that for these experiments to really work well we need to pay attention to a few things:
- Make sure everyone knows what the SoundLab is, how it works and how everyone can get involved from the start
- Break the the time into smaller sessions
- Vary the musical styles and sound through the day more
We also started to learn some useful things in response to the questions we set ourselves.
- We could start to see that people making music together at the same time, like a band, is something that the people at Allsorts were interested in. For it to really work well we need to make everything more obvious, it needs to be clear what you are making, and it should be clear what everyone else is making. This is as much to do with carefully choosing the right sounds as it is about the technology.
- The Leap Motion should be a tool that is really easy to use. When people see it they get excited by the possibilities. But so far we have really struggled to make it provide an enjoyable experience. It moves around a bit too much, it requires very steady hands and people seem to get tired arms using it quite quickly.
- We used the Kinnect to trigger drum patterns and this was really succesful. Many different people wanted to have a go and it seemed to encourage dancing as a way to get into the music and do the triggering at the same time. This is definitely an area we need to explore more. One thing we learnt quite quickly is that visual feedback is very important for the Kinnect experience. If a player can see their body motions on a screen, they begin to understand how the music is being triggered by their own movements, without too much explanation.