SHORT INFO ABOUT RESEARCH:
As a composer I am interested in exploring new approaches on how to perform electronic contemporary art music. In general, I explore participatory approaches with the ambition of generating flexible and high-end artistic expressions. In particular, my aim is to develop a Mobile Phone Orchestra (MPO) approach, with similarities of a traditional philharmonic orchestra, but for electronic sounds, embracing novices as performers. In recent years several composers and researchers have explored MPO as a new performance concept [e.g. 21; 1]. Smart phones and other mobile devices have been used as both participation interfaces embracing novices [e.g. 9; 4;], and as sound generating music instrument interfaces in ambitious artistic performances [e.g. 15]. However, there are very few MPO examples (to the best of my knowledge), which aim for high-end and flexible MPO-generated artistic expression, and still having novices as performers. Embracing novices as performers has two purposes for me: Firstly, it would simplify the staging of large-scale MPO-concert hall performances, since almost anyone would be a possible performer. Secondly, it would make way for new experiences of contemporary art music for musical novices.
Two overall research questions have been and are still guiding the process: How can an easy-accessed MPO-platform be developed to facilitate high-end, flexible artistic expressions suitable for concert hall performances?. Moreover, What artistic challenges and possibilities arises with a novel MPO-platform embracing novices as performers?.The development process of the platform evolves in multiple cycles inspired by action research. Using an autoethnographic approach, I am participating in the cycles both as composer/ artist and as researcher. Until now school children/youths between ten- to seventeen years old have been addressed as MPO-performers in the cycles. The cycles have included performances of fixed compositions for standalone MPO, MPO and chamber ensemble, and MPO and sinfonietta.The findings have so far shown that the musical material to perform as: amount of pauses, type of artistic expression, dynamics have an impact on affecting the MPO-performers motivation. Moreover, the findings show that the motivation level of the MPO-performers are deeply affecting the quality of the artistic expression in a performance.
The musical material which I in these findings have evaluated to be suited for the MPO platform in a concert hall setting are: slow six-part polyphonic melody lines, sustained and granular atmospheric and noise- textures in various densities and dynamics. However, rhythmic accents and patterns are still an issue, at least to be used in performances within professional concert hall settings. Furthermore, the findings have shown that the platform could enable performance synchronization between a MPO and a traditional ensemble or sinfonietta. I argue that the key for this platform is the animated notation, which can give performance instructions for multiple parts. In addition, designing instrument interfaces, which could be performed on without the need to look down at those is another key factor of the platform. As a conclusion the findings have so far shown that the platform both is intuitive and easy to use for novices and has potential of providing flexible high-end artistic material and expression for concert hall performances. I specifically highlight the use of mobile music interfaces in combination with animated notation as a novel approach for a MPO-concept.