Rochester Laptop Orchestra


[David Heid] We can literally map these buttons to whatever we want. [synthesized music] You can add harmony…[more synthesized music] Music, there’s just this supernatural this higher power you really can’t explain in words. Add a baseline [music continues] It’s something that I feel when I’m performing and when I’m creating music. Drop down an octave. For a laptop orchestra, the way I kind of view it is the laptop is the technique and all the creativity, all the
musical nuance and expression comes from the human performer still. So, it’s a blend of
art, science and technology. [Edo Frenkel] It’s tracking the relative distance of my eye… [David] Edo took that into a whole new realm. I asked him to write a piece for “Face”. There’s a software program that maps
facial gestures to essentially whatever you want. [musical notes] [Edo] So this one, it’s measuring my blinks, which is where the
piano sounds are coming from. [David] And he’s creating this very unique duet piece that makes music out of
your face [Edo] So, this is the sine wave [robotic noises] For me, it’s really important as a
composer to adapt to new technology. I mean the same way
that in the 18th and 19th centuries they were following the sort of
development of the piano. [ascending piano notes] It’s only now a hundred years later
that we can look back and kind of assess the level of success or drawback to the
technology. Computers are the same. It’s just another
instrument. It’s something else to explore. [tap shoes] [Marissa Abbott] I think dance provides the
opportunity for communication, a way to express yourself, a way to
really connect with something deeper. And I love the feeling that I get when
I’m on stage performing in front of others. [more taps] [David] We’re taking the tap shoes and we’re trying to take the choreography
that the dancer comes up with and then map that to the synthetic sounds. [Marissa] So, when I tap either my toes or my heels, it
could be percussion it could be rain… [Vocal beatbox sounds] [Marissa] We have the YellowJackets doing some vocal cues and sounds that are being mapped to the shoes. So the idea that I can manipulate any
sound that I want with my feet. [Tongue clicking sounds] [David] There is no typical student at Rochester. Because your typical student is so diverse. [Rapping to a cappella]
[David] Because here you don’t have students that just major in biomedical engineering. they’re also in an a capella group. They’re
also a ballet dancer or you know they are president of five
different clubs at the same time. [Marissa] In some ways, we come from different worlds, like the engineering electronic musical world and then the dancing
world and I think that sometimes things get lost in translation so we’ve both learned a lot of valuable
communication skills. [synthesized music] [David] I mean music is a very personal thing to a lot of people and we’re moved
by it in different ways. I hope it just gets people thinking about how technology and music might interact or other disciplines might be able to interact with music.

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