Caroline Poon, School of Information-Information Policy; School of Music-Carillon Performance
Sipkje Pesnichak, School of Music-Oboe Performance
Justin Crowell, School of Music-Media Arts
What is the social relationship between performer and audience? How do the parameters of music define and structure space? Can musically-defined place be leveraged as a tool for community and expression? The carillon experiences unique problems of space, while providing unique solutions. Evolved from the time-keeping bells of the Low Countries, early carillons gave sonic and affective coherence to market day crowds through sharing music in a public setting. In America, they are church, public park, and school bells, continuing to provide music, foster communities, and define spaces. Yet the carillon could do more than provide background music. By engaging its audience, the carillon can transcend ambience to awareness–of the elements of music and of the construction of a communal place. To accomplish this, the carillon must collaborate with its audience in a way that goes beyond established concert procedure.
We created an installation that uses a touch screen networked to a MIDI-controlled hammer system in conjunction with the live carillonneur to create interactive musical works. Passing listeners, gallery visitors–as community members with a stake in the space defined by this music–are encouraged to participate. In Cage’s philosophy of composition, “to make music is not to complete an object of attention, fixed and frozen, but to engage an audience on the level of audition, in the moment of sound’s becoming.” (Brandon LaBelle) The act of listening, the state of being a listener, is as vital to the life of the music as its composition and performance. To collaborate with the carillonneur from the ground is to become aware of this role. Here, the computer serves as an interface to enhance listening by engaging the audience in a participatory act of music-creation, and through this draw attention to the sociality of this music, in this space
Read full project proposal (pdf)