Networked_Music_Review

“Glimmer” by Jason Freeman

glimmer.gif

Scores of Light

: Glimmer, by Jason Freeman, engages the concert audience as musical collaborators who do not just listen to the performance but actively shape it. Each audience member is given a battery-operated light stick which he or she turns on and off over the course of the piece. Computer software analyzes live video of the audience and sends instructions to each musician via multi-colored lights mounted on each player’s stand. The piece draws from a long history of interactive music, art, and cinema, but it also engages in current issues regarding the use of technology within orchestral concerts. Many orchestras are currently experimenting with interactive handheld devices and large video displays which attempt to explain the music being performed. But many such devices ultimately create barriers to engaged listening. Glimmer challenges audiences to become active collaborators in the live performance, rather than reinforcing their traditionally passive role. The American Composers Orchestra will perform Glimmer in its world premiere on Friday, January 21st, 2005, 7:30 p.m. at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall (New York).

The audience is divided into seven groups, each of which is linked to a group of three or four musicians in the orchestra. The percentage of audience members in a group with their light sticks turned on directly affects the dynamics, timbre, and tempo of the corresponding group of musicians. Additionally, a comparative analysis of audience groups regulates pitch choices, texture, and the overall prominence of each group within the orchestra. The more an audience group changes its lights, the more varied and prominent the music played by the corresponding musicians.

Musicians do not perform from a linear score in conventional musical notation. Instead, they respond to the light on their stand according to a series of instructions printed in their part. Different color families indicate which notes to play, the brightness of those colors indicate dynamics, and pulsations and flashes indicate rhythm and accents. Each player’s light is independently controlled directly by computer software. There is no conductor.

Glimmer is realized using off-the-shelf video equipment, DMX-controlled LED lighting, novelty battery-operated light sticks, and custom computer software written for Cycling �74�s Max/MSP/Jitter environment.

Glimmer was commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, Steven Sloane, music director, Robert Beaser, artistic director, Dennis Russell Davies, conductor laureate.


Oct 12, 2004

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Networked_Music_Review (NMR) is a research blog that focuses on emerging networked musical explorations.

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