New Artistic Possibilities with

The Max Maestro - An Animated Music Notation System

for Non-Professional Performers

5. Reports from Three Concert Hall Performances

5.3 Put Your Hands Together


In Put Your Hands Together the ambition was to explore the artistic possibilities of using sounds of handclaps as the only sound source for the composition. The electronic music part consisted of recorded and electronically preprocessed sounds of various handclaps, which was to be mixed with the live sounds of the handclaps from the concert hall audience. Furthermore, the concert hall audience was divided into twenty-four individual parts to facilitate various advanced musical textures conducted by The Max Maestro. Spatialisation of sound was also a parameter for the composition, having the sounds of handclaps from the twenty-four parts of the audience moving in the physical space of the concert hall. The animated music notation of The Max Maestro was projected on the back of the stage visible for the audience, showing each individual part when to trigger a handclap and at which dynamics.


The premiere of Put Your Hands Together took place in the spring of 2016. The composition had a total duration of six minutes. The concert hall audience was approximately two hundred people with a diverse background in terms of gender and age. A five-minute introduction by the author with instructions on how to interpret the animated music notation of The Max Maestro preceded the performance.


The composition starts with single rhythmical accents performed at loud dynamics by various groups in the audience. The accents set the starting and ending points of some granular texture patterns of the electronic music part. As in the performance of Animated Notation for Mixed Orchestra the hits conducted by The Max Maestro were performed not totally in sync, but within an approximate timeframe of 200 milliseconds and probably less. Once again the large amount of performers not performing the hits in total sync actually made the artistic output quite fascinating in the context: long sounding percussive handclap hits. The composition continues with low-density textures at soft dynamics performed by the audience together with the electronic music part. The individual hits of the twenty-four part audience are spatially spread in the physical room of the concert hall with an interesting artistic output as a result. Moreover, the handclap textures are further varied at different densities and dynamics performed by various groups in the audience. Quiet spontaneous laughter could be heard at various places and the experience was that the participants seemed engaged and thrilled to be part of the performance. In the middle of the composition a polytempic texture appears. The audience is performing eight different pulses in various tempos simultaneously with the polytempic texture of the electronic music part. The more pulses that appeared simultaneously in the music the more indistinct the hits were together as a result. However, this is not surprising since it is quite hard to perform hits at a regular pulse, within a texture where various tempos are performed simultaneously. When analysing the audio recording it seemed like the performers were confused with the different tempos and not used to the artistic approach. Still, the artistic output was interesting as a result. Furthermore, the polytempic section in the composition was finally dissolved into a rhythmical beat in one common tempo. The audience was enhancing the beat by clapping rhythmical accents mainly at the first bars of the beat. However, as in previously described performances it seemed hard to follow the fixed straight beat of the electronic music part. The hits of the audience were not performed totally in sync with the electronic music part, but the result was still acceptable. Finally, the composition reaches its climax with a high-density texture at loud dynamics performed by the audience divided into twenty-four individual parts together with the electronic music part. The performance ends with a final hit of the audience followed by a short diminuendo handclap texture sound of the electronic music part.


Summarising the analysis of results from the concert hall performance of Put Your Hands Together highlighted two positive aspects and one negative aspect:


+ The Max Maestro was shown to organise the twenty-four individual parts of the concert hall audience in the performance, resulting in interesting polytempic textures with various densities and dynamics and long sounding handclap hits.


+  Only five minutes of instruction was needed for the audience to participate in the performance when conducted by The Max Maestro.


- The rhythmical material to be executed in sync with the electronic music part seemed to be difficult to perform as intended, even though the final result was acceptable.

Concert Hall Live Performance of PUT YOUR HANDS TOGETHER