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Piece for Tape

WAITE, Si (2017) Piece for Tape. [Composition]

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Abstract or description

Short Abstract

Piece for Tape explores how creating and using an interactive system for popular songwriting based on an audio-visual metaphor impacts the composition process and the liveness of performances. Composing the piece was central to the research process (Candy and Edmonds, 2018) which involved a cyclical, iterative process of literature review, system-building/composing and reflection.
While common in experimental styles, the use of interactive music systems in popular music is limited (Marchini et al, 2017). Several studies have demonstrated the potential of using real-world metaphors as a design strategy for interactive systems (Johnston et al, 2009) to facilitate audience understanding and focus the compositional process. The cassette tape’s simple functioning and status as an aesthetic object of nostalgia make it a suitable metaphor as the basis for the interactive system and elements of the composition.
Piece for Tape demonstrates how an interactive system can be used to develop an initial song idea into a full composition in a highly-structured popular music context. This composition can then be recreated live in performances that demonstrate high levels of several aspects of liveness (Sanden, 2013).
Findings have been shared with international academic and professional audiences at Innovations in Music 2017 (London); Tracking the Creative Process in Music 2017 (Huddersfield) and Loop 2017 (Berlin). Recordings of the piece and accompanying commentary have been published online and the piece has been performed at MTI concerts (De Montfort University) and NoiseFloor 2017 (Staffordshire University). Software for the piece is available for free download.

Extended Abstract

‘Piece for Tape’ is a live performance featuring guitar, vocal and interactive audio-visual system. The system functions as a collaborator in composition and performance (Prior, 2009). It can be thought of as augmenting both the songwriting process (through the inclusion of software building and use of visuals) and the performance of the finished piece (through additional channels of communication with the audience).

The system is afforded significant influence over the composition, both in real-time through ‘performative agency’ and in non-real-time through ‘memetic agency’ (Bown et al, 2014). The piece therefore balances fixed and indeterminate features so that while no two performances are ever quite the same, the identifying aspects of the song are preserved. Furthermore, the act of creating the system becomes part of the songwriting process (Richards, 2008).

In order to engage audiences, the system is designed to demonstrate the quality of ‘transparency’ (Fels et al, 2002; Bin et al, 2016), which can be thought of as a ‘network of liveness’ (Sanden, 2013). Extending previous notions of transparency, Piece for Tape demonstrates 'spatio-temporal liveness', 'corporeal liveness', 'interactive liveness' (Sanden, 2013) and 'aesthetic liveness' (Croft, 2007) . This is achieved through the use of the cassette tape as an audio-visual metaphor which informs the development of both the system and the composition. This both reveals the workings of the system and enforces the compositional theme of memory and nostalgia, providing a point of shared understanding between performer/composer and audience from which more complex processes unfold.

'Piece for Tape' complements and builds on ideas explored in 'Church Belles' (Waite, 2016) through the creation of additional software, the use of live recording, increased system agency and a higher degree of transparency.

'Piece for Tape' has been performed at:
- MTI concert series, De Montfort University (2017)
- Noisefloor Festival, Staffordshire University (2017)

Related papers:
• Waite, S. (2017) Interactivity and Liveness in Popular Music. Innovations in Music, London, UK.
• Waite, S. (2017) The Use of Metaphor in Interactive Systems for Singer-Songwriters. Tracking the Creative Process in Music, Huddersfield, UK.

And is available online:
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Lne3h2Qhms
- Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/215530031

References:
Bin, S.A., Bryan-Kinns, N. & McPherson, A. (2016). Skip the Pre-Concert Demo: How Technical Familiarity and Musical Style Affect Audience Response. In: Proceedings of NIME 2016. [Online]. 2016, Brisbane, Australia. Available from: http://www.academia.edu/26910541/Skip_the_Pre-Concert_Demo_How_Technical_Familiarity_and_Musical_Style_Affect_Audience_Response. [Accessed: 26 June 2017].
Croft, J. (2007). Theses on Liveness. Org. Sound. 12 (1). p.pp. 59–66.
Fels, S., Gadd, A. & Mulder, A. (2002). Mapping Transparency Through Metaphor: Towards More Expressive Musical Instruments. Organised Sound. 7 (2). p.pp. 109–126.
Prior, N. (2009). Software Sequencers and Cyborg Singers: Popular Music in the Digital Hypermodern. New Formations. 66 (1). p.pp. 81–99.
Richards, J. (2008). Getting the Hands Dirty. Leonardo Music Journal. 18. p.pp. 25–31.
Sanden, P. (2013). Liveness in Modern Music: Musicians, Technology, and the Perception of Performance. New York: Routledge.
Waite, S. (2016). Church Belles: An Interactive System and Composition Using Real-World Metaphors. In: [Online]. 11 July 2016, Brisbane, Australia, pp. 265–270. Available from: http://www.nime.org/proceedings/2016/nime2016_paper0052.pdf. [Accessed: 15 December 2016].

Item Type: Composition
Additional Information: Piece for Tape explores how creating and using an interactive system for popular songwriting based on an audio-visual metaphor impacts the composition process and the liveness of performances. Composing the piece was central to the research process (Candy and Edmonds, 2018) which involved a cyclical, iterative process of literature review, system-building/composing and reflection. While common in experimental styles, the use of interactive music systems in popular music is limited (Marchini et al, 2017). Several studies have demonstrated the potential of using real-world metaphors as a design strategy for interactive systems (Johnston et al, 2009) to facilitate audience understanding and focus the compositional process. The cassette tape’s simple functioning and status as an aesthetic object of nostalgia make it a suitable metaphor as the basis for the interactive system and elements of the composition. Piece for Tape demonstrates how an interactive system can be used to develop an initial song idea into a full composition in a highly-structured popular music context. This composition can then be recreated live in performances that demonstrate high levels of several aspects of liveness (Sanden, 2013). Findings have been shared with international academic and professional audiences at Innovations in Music 2017 (London); Tracking the Creative Process in Music 2017 (Huddersfield) and Loop 2017 (Berlin). Recordings of the piece and accompanying commentary have been published online and the piece has been performed at MTI concerts (De Montfort University) and NoiseFloor 2017 (Staffordshire University). Software for the piece is available for free download.
Uncontrolled Keywords: interactive music systems live performance experimental electronic music max for live ableton audio-visual liveness interactivity liveness transparency
Faculty: School of Computing and Digital Technologies > Film, Media and Journalism
Depositing User: Si WAITE
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2017 11:46
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2019 10:55
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/3766

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