ICCMR research at the Contemporary Music Festival

The Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival (24 - 26 February 2017), organised in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR) at Plymouth University, has developed a national reputation combining artistic creativity with scientific development, opening up new research opportunities and musical avenues that would not normally have been explored.

The Festival is directed by Simon Ible, Director of Music of Peninsula Arts and Artistic Director and Conductor of Peninsula Arts Sinfonietta and Eduardo Reck Miranda, Professor in Computer Music at Plymouth University and Director of ICCMR.

VOICE 2.0 offers a glimpse of how musicians, scientists and linguists are re-inventing voice through an ambitious programme exploring new means, forms and usages of voice in communication and musical creativity. It will premiere new compositions by Plymouth University composers and guests.

Featured research

Eduardo Reck Miranda

Eduardo Reck Miranda is a classically trained composer and an Artificial Intelligence scientist with an early involvement in electroacoustic and avant-garde pop music. In addition to concert music, he has composed for theatre and contemporary dance. The recording of his symphony Mind Pieces (available via www.intelligentarts.net) and an accompanying e-book introducing his ideas about using computers to harness musical creativity, have recently been published by Intelligent Arts, New York (available from Amazon and Apple).

He is Professor in Computer Music at Plymouth University, where he leads ICCMR and is co-director of Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival with Simon Ible.

Vōv

Vōv is a composition for four singers accompanied by computer-generated voices and sound effects, in three movements: Lāsēh, Rezire and Rai. Vōv is also the name of the language invented by celebrated language creator David J. Peterson, who wrote the lyrics for the piece. The word ‘vōv’ means love and the names of the movements translate as ‘dawn’, ‘dusk’ and ‘dark’ respectively. Vōv, the composition, is an ‘Ode to Love’. It pays tribute to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, and Schiller's philosophy of love and his idealistic vision of the human race becoming a universal human brotherhood.

Vōv could be a language from an imaginary world, or from a parallel universe. But make no mistake: the lyrics are not just isolated made up words. It is not Dadaist poetry either. Vōv is a fully-fledged artificial language in its own right, in the same way that Esperanto is.

The piece stems from Miranda’s research into the origins of language and music, using synthetic voice and models of Darwinian evolution, and Peterson’s fascination with creating would-be languages. Various pieces of software that are routinely used at ICCMR to conduct this research were employed creatively to compose the piece.

A significant part of Vōv was composed at Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Composition (HUSEAC) during Miranda’s residency at Harvard’s Department of Music in 2016. The authors thank Plymouth University’s ICCMR PhD student Jared Drayton for developing the software that generated the synthetic vocal utterances deployed in various sections of the piece.

Marcelo Gimenes
Silicon Voices

Silicon Voices for contralto, bass voices and live electronics draws from the composer’s research into music and Artificial Intelligence. It showcases software that simulates a group of agents communicating with each other by means of musical phrases. As these virtual musicians communicate with each other they progressively evolve a repertoire of generative musical rules collectively.

Pierre-Emmanuel Largeron: 
Voices Without Borders

Voices Without Borders gives a voice to an audience in a live musical performance based on a mobile application created at ICCMR by Marcelo Gimenes. This cloudbased system answers a specific compositional need, where an improvisation is led by participants' choices through pre-selected soundtracks. The audience activates soundtracks by voting that will in turn influence a live improvisation on stage.

Núria Bonet

Núria Bonet is a composer of electroacoustic and instrumental music, currently a PhD student at ICCMR, Plymouth University researching the use of scientific data in composition. Her works often use unusual instrument combinations as she seeks to adapt her writing and enjoys solving compositional conundrums.

She hopes to engage a wide range of audiences in contemporary and electroacoustic music as well as scientific topics. This approach has seen her works performed in venues such as the Eden Project and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. She has worked with ensembles such as Psappha and Vaganza (Manchester), Lucilin (Luxembourg), the Ten Tors Orchestra (Plymouth), and the Edinburgh University Composers’ Orchestra. In her spare time, Núria researches the organology of Catalan folk instruments.

The Voice of the Sea

"The Voice of the Sea will use information gathered by a marine buoy in real-time to determine compositional choices. Parameters such as wave height, period, direction, water temperature, and so on will directly influence musical parameters. The data collected at the buoy is analysed and sent to a computer programme to develop the musical material; a microphone on the buoy will provide sounds used in the process.

The Voice of the Sea is a piece reflecting the state of the sea at the time of the performance. Therefore, every performance will be unique as the resulting music will be determined by the location of the buoy and the weather conditions at the time of play. The audience can expect recordings of the marine environment and electronic sounds and their transformations as determined by the buoy data. Surrounded by speakers, the listeners will be immersed in an extended and real-time marine sonic world.

For the festival performance, I will combine the installation with a live performance. The installation as determined by the buoy data and the programme will be evolving into material that I will react to instrumentally, be that an electronic or acoustic instrument. Again, each performance will be unique as my response to the music will depend on the sea conditions recorded.

The project is being developed in collaboration with Plymouth University’s Marine Institute and the Plymouth Coastal Observatory who will supply the buoy data."