Transforming musical performance: Activating the audience as digital collaborators

Adrian York

20.1 INTRODUCTION

There has been little research found with a focus on exploring the compositional and perfomiance protocols and technological infrastructure that need to be developed to create successful interactive audience participation within an existing popular music genre using pre-existing technology. This research presented here attempts to respond to that and continue "a dialogue between performer, audience, composer and technology” (York, 2019, p.3). The following text presents a structured case study to address the associated research questions:

  • 1) What is the experience of audience members engaging in interactive musical participation within contemporary jazz?
  • 2) What are the opportunities for incorporating interactive musical participation within contemporary jazz?

The composition Deeper Love was composed specifically for this research, as a creative vehicle to implement the findings that emerged out of a perfomiance of The Singularity, a pilot study presented at the Innovation in Music conference in 2017. Hodl, Kayali and Fitzpatrick (2012) describe Interactive Musical Participation (IMP) as being "when a spectator can take part or at least make a contribution in a live concert through a technically driven system” (Hodl, Kayali and Fitzpatrick, 2012, p.236). Following on from York's (2019) "Transforming Musical Performance: The Audience as Performer”, this chapter illustrates the integration of IMP into the author's artistic practice as a jazz musician.

Several novel elements w ere developed for the performances of Deeper Love including the Deeper Love Soundpad App (Toulson and York, 2018), compositional protocols for sampled ‘improvised’ lines, triggered within Ableton Live by the audience-soloists using WiiMote controllers, the conceptions of audience-performers and audience-soloists as new- performer categories in jazz, akin to Biles' (2007) "audience-mediated performance” and a new7 performance context of audience takeover’.

The Deeper Love performances are designed to investigate whether this research can relocate this artistic practice from the context of an academic

conference to something more real-world such as a conceit or club. It also seeks to explore the experiences of the participants in the performance and to make critical judgements on the quality of the interactivity, to analyse the usability and scalability of the technological solutions being used, to develop the performance protocols that underpin this practice, and to evaluate whether the compositional and improvisational methodologies were appropriate and successfully applied. The results taken from the performances will also provide data that will be applicable to further research in this area.

20.2 BACKGROUND AND RELATED WORK

Freeman has created three ranks of interactions in his survey and taxonomy of research and artistic practice in the field of IMP (Freeman, 2005, pp.757-760). The first rank features compositions in which the audience feature directly as ‘performers’, the second has the audience functioning as ‘sound transmitters’ of “pre-composed or curated sonic material through the medium of ubiquitous personal handheld digital computing devices such as mobile phones” (York, 2019, p.5). Freeman’s third rank sees the audience as ‘influences’, interacting by methods including voting via handheld digital devices or waving light sticks in the air. “The data from these inputs is then analysed and presented to the performers as some kind of visual cue that triggers a pre-detennined sonic gesture” (ibid., p.5).

York (ibid.) has extended Freeman’s survey identifying key influences on the research presented in this chapter. The work of Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV), a composer’s cooperative set up in 1966 in Rome is notable and in particular Frederic Rzewski’s composition Sound Pool (1969), which Rzewski describes as “a form in which all the rules are abandoned” (Rzewski and Verken, 1969, p.94). In Sound Pool, the audience is asked to bring along their own instruments and to perform with the MEV, thus becoming part of Freeman’s first rank - the audience as performers.

In the context of Sound Pool musicians are no longer elevated to the position of a star but instead work with the audience managing energies and enabling the audience to experience the miracle without overwhelming the audience/performers with their virtuosity. The outcome of this process is that the audience no longer exists as a discrete entity.

(York, 2019, p.6)

Freeman’s second rank of audience participation - the audience as sound transmitters - was mapped in the first systematic study of what has become known as ‘distributed music’ by Taylor (2017). Golan Levin’s Dialtones: A Telesymphony (Levin, 2001), a composition that uses the audience’s mobile phones as sound sources, is identified by Taylor as a “foundational composition of this emergent genre”. The experience of participating in a performance of birds (CoSiMa, 2016) at Music Tech Fest in Berlin in

2016 in which the audience downloaded and then triggered sounds from a web application, played a major role in the creation of the technical infrastructure for this project allowing the audience to become both sound transmitters and performers. The author noted the ubiquity of smartphone ownership amongst the participants and the relative ease with which the web applications were downloaded and then triggered.

Paterson et al. (2017) demonstrated various audience-interaction methods with pre-recorded music in an iOS app format called variPlay. This system was one of a number that offered complex control over playback permutations of multiple stems inside an app, yet still with a very simple GUI.

Building from Cook's (2001) principle for designing computer music that researchers should "Make a piece, not an instrument or controller’ and Rosenkransa's (2010) proposal that interactivity is measured by the "frequency of engagement’ within a "mediated communication’, another objective of the Deeper Love performances is to test out the criteria for a successful audience-participatory experience as proposed by Lee and Freeman (2013, p.450):

  • • To make participation easy (accessibility)
  • • To collect gestures from the audience and turn them into a single musical composition (musical security)
  • • To drive audiences to start participation without reservation (initiation)
  • • To motivate people to participate and sustain the interest (attraction)
  • • To provide a clear relationship between their gestures and outcome in music (transparency)

Carrying out the research performances in the context of club and concert performances creates the opportunity for data collection in something approaching a real-world performance setting compared with the constraints of an academic conference. The analysis of this data will lead to the creation of "performance protocols’, a framework for compositional design, and suggestions for a technical infrastructure that will give the outcomes of this research the potential to be carried forward into the mainstream of popular music performance.

There are two separate visions driving this research: [1]

20.3 DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION

The compositional construction of Deeper Love is partially developed from conclusions drawn from the evaluation of the pilot perfomiances of The Singularity. As with The Singularity the chosen metre is 4/4 but for Deeper Love a hip-hop swung 16ths feel is utilised at a tempo of eightv- two beats per minute. One of the potential outcomes of this research is to move IMP from being a research-based practice to becoming part of mainstream popular music performance practice. Hip-hop was an influence on 89% of songs in the USA Top 100 charts in 2018 (Hit Songs Deconstructed. 2019) so working within a sub-genre such as hip-hop/jazz rather than something more esoteric creates a link to the mainstream of popular culture. Presenting the research in a musical context not too far removed from the mainstream of popular music may be a factor in gaining acceptance for IMP.

The heuristic analysis drawn from the perfomiances of The Singularity indicated that the harmonic complexity of the composition created unwanted dissonances when some of the pitches triggered by the audience- soloists using the WiiMote controllers clashed with the chords. By using modal harmony - one of the archetypal methodologies of modem jazz harmony - for the pitches selected for the Deeper Love Soundpad App as well as for the melodic and harmonic material in the composition, no problems were created with the chord-scale relationships, which were then able to function without any issues of dissonance across the hannonic structure of the whole piece.

The scale chosen for Deeper Love is the Dorian mode (Figure 20.1), a minor scale with a major 6th and a flattened 7th.

The tune is built around a two-bar double bass ostinato figure (Figure 20.2) which is constructed around two three-note motifs. The first motif consists of the tonic (C) followed by the minor 3rd (Eb) and then the perfect 4th (F). The second motif uses the same intervallic relationships but builds from the fifth degree of the scale of C Dorian (G) moving to Bb and then returning to C. The two motifs then repeat with the repetition being rhythmically displaced. The ostinato figure features all the notes from a C minor pentatonic scale (C Eb F G Bb). all notes but one from C blues scale (C Eb F [F#] G Bb) as well as having five notes out of the seven from the

Dorian mode in the Key of C

Figure 20.1 Dorian mode in the Key of C

Deeper Love Double Bass Ostinato

Figure 20.2 Deeper Love Double Bass Ostinato

C Dorian scale (C [D] Eb F G [A] Bb). This ambivalence from a chord- scale perspective allows for improvisation using all three of these scales. The structure of the piece as shown in Table 20.1.

The first solo from one of the two audience-soloists is featured in the third section. As in the performances of The Singularity, they are tasked with pressing buttons on a WiiMote controller to trigger sonic events. The first soloist using WiiMote 4 (Table 20.2) has a series of pre-composed samples of vibraphone motifs and improvised lines in the Dorian mode to use as improvisational source material. There are seven samples in all, and the sample set went through several iterations in a heuristic process of development. One of the conclusions drawn from the research performances of The Singularity was that sounds triggered by the audience-soloists should have gentle attack envelopes to avoid rhythmic incompatibility.

On reflection it seemed clear that having a slow attack would lead to less 'interesting' performances; ’interesting' being one of the key criteria for this research. The challenge was to develop samples that could:

  • • be triggered at any point in the bar and still lead to a satisfying musical conclusion
  • • allow the audience-soloist to improvise with the samples through a process of discovery; playing, retriggering and joining different sample elements together
  • • create an informal, immediate, accessible and natural experience for the audience-soloist thus addressing more of the key criteria for this research

The outcome that seemed to be most effective was to use trills, scale and pattern-based motifs and lines that floated over the rhythm affording

Table 20.1 Deeper Love Structure

■)

Introduction

8 bars

Head

8 bars

iii)

Vibes solo (audience-soloist)

open duration

iv)

Synthesizer solo (audience-soloist)

open duration

v)

Audience Participation 1(audience-performers)

open duration

vi)

Introduction

8 bars

vii)

Head

8 bars

viii)

Audience Participation 2 (audience-performers)

open duration

Deeper Love Vocal Melody

Figure 20.3 Deeper Love Vocal Melody

Table 20.2 WiiMote Sonic Element Control for Deeper Love

WiiMote 3

Triggers arpeggiated synthesizer patterns

WiiMote 4

Triggers pre-prepared improvised vibraphone motif and piirase samples

a freeform approach to metric displacement (Love, 2012) rather than being locked into a strict metrical structure. This approach obviated the need to address any issues of latency management because the accuracy of the trigger point was not relevant. The accompaniment for this section kept the same bass and drum feel with a simplified Dorian mode electric piano part creating a less sonically dense texture than in The Singularity, thus ensuring that the audience-soloists can identify their own contributions with clarity.

The fourth section is designed to work as the sonic bed for the second of the two audience-soloists to trigger synthesiser patterns via WiiMote 3 (Table 20.2) using a lead-synth-type sound. The bass and percussion accompaniment remain the same as for the previous section, but the electric piano drops out creating even greater sonic clarity for the improvisors.

The fifth audience-participation section creates a clear contrast, with the previous compositional elements being the moment when the rest of the audience are activated as audience-performer participants in the performance - by triggering the audio samples from the Deeper Love Soundpad App on their iPhones. The rhythm is defined by a repetitive shaker loop, and hannony and texture are partially provided bv a thirty-bar loop featuring Dorian-scale textures using a single-pitched waterphone- esque sample from Live, to create a suitable soundscape bed. The other textural element is a loop of 31-bar and one beat, with an Ableton bell- type sample featuring a lengthy reverb or backwards reverb tail. This was another improvised part using the Dorian mode. Having the two textural elements looping around different bar lengths implies a polymetric approach (Rubbra, 1953) and creates textural variety as the loops do not cycle together. In this section, the samples are played by the audience- performers, who touch the buttons on their GUI. a 5 x 5 Soundpad grid. There are twenty vocal samples, all of which are either single notes or licks. The other five samples are made up of three more ambient sound- scapes, a whispered 'Deeper Love’ and a whispered aaaalT vowel sound. All the pitched samples use the Dorian mode.

The following two sections are reprises of the introduction and vocal head. The tune ends with a repeat of the audience-participation segment of the composition w ith the programmed loops gradually fading out leaving the sounds from the audience’s iPhones as the final moment of the composition.

Deeper Love is an archetypal modal jazz composition with a structure constructed around a head/solos/head model; however, the interactive elements create the novel structural conception of the audience bringing the performance to a close in the novel performance context of 'audience takeover’.

20.4 TECHNICAL INFRASTRUCTURE

The technical infrastructure for the performances of Deeper Love builds on the framework that was utilised for the pilot project, with samples being played back via Ableton Live running on a Mac Book Pro. However, in the performances of The Singularity an audience-performer was controlling an iPhone running TouchOSC (Hexler, 2019) to trigger different sections of the composition. On reflection, use of such a bespoke installation did not seem like an interactive performance element that could realistically be scaled up. another key objective of this research. As a solution to the issue of upscaling of the numbers of interactive performers. Deeper Love audience members instead used distributed sound on their mobile phones via the Soundpad app.

Audio aif files were imported from a Logic Pro X session into Ableton Live (Figure 20.4) as clips into the various tracks and then eight 'scenes’ were created to form the master song structure. Two discrete tracks were set up for the two WiiMote audience-soloists. The first marked Vibes Wii4 is running the Ableton Sampler and hosting the improvised vibraphone samples. The second called or peg beep Wii3 contains a synthesiser patch entitled Dual Osc 2 Pure Lead and an arpeggiator with a Classic UpDown 8th setting.

Both vocal and ambient samples for the Deeper Love Soundpad were first trialled within Ableton Live (Figure 20.5) to see how they worked with the backing track for the audience-participation scenes.

Deeper Love Ableton Live Session

Figure 20.4 Deeper Love Ableton Live Session

Deeper Love Ableton Live Samples for the Deeper Love Soundpad App

Figure 20.5 Deeper Love Ableton Live Samples for the Deeper Love Soundpad App

Deeper Love Performance Rig

Figure 20.6 Deeper Love Performance Rig: Push 2, laptop. WiiMote, Roland RD-700

An Ableton Push 2 controller (Figure 20.6) was used within the performances to control the Master Track of Live which made its selection much easier in a perfonnance context, since the buttons on the Push 2 w ere larger and more accessible fortriggering than clicking directly on the track in Live's GUI.

As in The Singularity, the WiiMote controllers were connected to the laptop via Bluetooth, which connected to Ableton Live via OSCulator (Osculator, 2019).

The Deeper Love Soundpad App (Figure 20.8) was developed in conjunction with Professor Rob Toulson (University of Westminster), who undertook the coding. The app is downloadable from the Apple App Store.

The app enables all members of the audience who have access to an iPhone or iPad to be active participants in a musical performance. This is achieved by the audicnce-perfonners triggering pre-prepared audio samples by touching the virtual buttons on the 5x5 Soundpad grid. The process of IMP mobilises the audience members who are transfonned from being ‘passive receivers' of information into audience-performers' - now- able to engage in sonic dialogue both with each other and the on-stage performers. However, the audience-performers have a limited degree of agency since their samples are pre-composed. They do have control over the order in w hich the samples are triggered, how- much of the sample is triggered, its volume, the metric positioning of each sample trigger point, and they have also the ability7 to retrigger samples and create sample combinations to form new textures.

It is primarily digital technologies that create the possibility for novel ty pes of interactivity such as that presented in this study. Yang and Coffey state that "Digital technology is revolutionizing the way people consume media, creating . . . interactive opportunities such as multimedia

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Adrian York

WiiMote controllers

Figure 20.7 WiiMote controllers

offerings and two-way communication” (2014, p.78). They also observe that audiences are familiar with interactive processes and this combination of digital familiarity with the ubiquity of smartphones creates the conditions for straightforward digital interactivity, and the subsequent creation of what has been described as a "communication pathway”. The simplistic

Figure 20.8 Deeper Love Soundpad interface-design of the app and its choice as a container for the audience- performer's interactivity was to enable the research questions to be evaluated in the context of creative practice rather than impose technological process upon the participants.

To enable what Rosenkransa (2010) describes as ’frequency of engagement' for the audience-performers and synthesising the conclusions draw n from previous research, eight principles were developed for the design of the technological infrastructure for this project and were applied to the grid design of the app, which needed to be:

  • 1. informal
  • 2. interesting
  • 3. immediate
  • 4. accessible
  • 5. natural
  • 6. necessary
  • 7. affordable
  • 8. scalable
Deeper Love Audience-Perfonner Agency

Figure 20.9 Deeper Love Audience-Perfonner Agency

The Deeper Love Soundpad App builds on the research carried out by Lee and Freeman (2013) using a networked musical instrument application that they had developed for mobile phone called echobo that audience members could download and perform on instantly, engaging with other members of the audience and generating sound that contributed to the performance. As with echobo, the Deeper Love Soundpad App sits in a hybrid rank within Freeman's taxonomic system of participatory performance modes (Freeman, 2005, pp.757-760) affording both the distributed sound of a sound transmitter (audience as sound transmitter) and unmediated perfonnance to the audience (audience as performer).

As with the audicnce-perfonners, the audience-soloists using the Wii Mote controllers have a degree of agency (Figure 20 .10) over how much of the sample is triggered, the order in which the samples are triggered, the metric positioning of each trigger point and the potential for retriggering and sample combination to fonn completely new melodic, rhythmic and textural material. However, with the ability to create both motivic development and also rhythmic displacement, only the audience-soloists have the capacity to apply some of the improvisational techniques of the non-interactive instrumentalist or 'scatting' jazz vocalist.

As with The Singularity, the Deeper Love pilot in September of 2018 at the 'Crosstown Traffic' conference at the University of Huddersfield had no additional musicians; however, some of the subsequent performances

Deeper Love Audience-Soloist Agency

Figure 20.10 Deeper Love Audience-Soloist Agency

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Adrian York

Deeper Love Performance at Area 51. University of Westminster

Figure 20.11 Deeper Love Performance at Area 51. University of Westminster

Deeper Love Performance 2 at Area 51. University of Westminster

Figure 20.12 Deeper Love Performance 2 at Area 51. University of Westminster

of Deeper Love used live musicians in addition to the author (Figure 20.11). For the first three performances (Figure 20.12) at the Area 51 performance space (University of Westminster in December 2018. February and March 2019) a saxophonist, a percussionist, electric bass player and electric guitarist were added. A novel addition to industry -standard sound reinforcement at the third performance was the placing of two radio microphones in the audience area. This extra reinforcement allowed the audience-performers to amplify the sound coming from their iPhone speakers at appropriate times.

There is a video available of this performance available for streaming on YouTube at https://youtu.be/oRYjKNtZvlA. The performances at the East Grinstead Jazz Club, and the Toulouse Lautrec jazz club in Kennington just featured the author plus the audience-performers and the audience-soloists.

20.5 PERFORMANCE PROTOCOLS

As with The Singularity, the lead performer for Deeper Love functions as the musical director/conductor/MC of the performance, leading the onstage musicians, audience-performers and audience-soloists as well as setting up and managing the equipment and software. At the start of the performance, the performer follows the instructions listed below' which involve finding two volunteer audience-soloists, encouraging the audience to download and to use the app and explaining the app's functionality and the performance process.

Performance Instructions:

  • 1. Ask the audience to download the Deeper Love Soundpad App and explain the app's functionality and the performance process
  • 2. Find two volunteer audience-soloists
  • 3. Give WiiMotes to audience-soloists plus verbal instructions on WiiMote function
  • 4. Explain composition structure to audience-soloists and audience- performers
  • 5. The lead performer triggers the Ableton Live scenes and cues solo sections. Each audience-soloist goes in turn - short exploration followed by a musical dialogue with the lead. This is followed by the audience-performers
  • 6. During the second audience-participation segment, the lead performer cues the sound engineer to fade out the master fader
  • 7. The lead performer cue musicians, audience-performers and audience- soloists to stop playing

Contrasting w ith the performance of The Singularity for w hich each of the audience-soloists w ere given a set of colour-coded performance protocols and technical instructions to read before the performance, all the Deeper Love instructions were delivered verbally thus meeting three of the eight principles (informal, immediate and natural) that the technological infrastructure for this project was based on.

The audience-performers were asked to download the app at the beginning of the event with posters in the performance space displaying the app's name to make the process straightforward. Following this the audience-performers were asked to open up the app, turn the volume up on their iPhones and were then told about triggering the sounds from the 5x5 grid. It was also suggested that they should move around during the audience-participation segment, and on the final Area 51 performance to use the radio microphones positioned in the performance.

20.6 METHODOLOGY, RESULTS AND EVALUATION

The process of collecting data from the audience-performers and audience- soloists to address the research questions has been approached in a variety’ of ways. A number of relevant methodological approaches follow.

Monson (1998) uses both ethnographic and journalistic interviewing techniques in a study on the interactivity that takes place between the musicians performing during a jazz performance. She is sensitive to the issues raised by the entextualisation of both spoken and musically transcribed content and presents her findings under a series of themed headings.

Sawyer and DeZutter (2009) study the process of distributed creativity within an improvisatory theatre group. Distributed creativity takes place when a ‘shared creative product' is produced by a group of people working together. The group processes that generate unexpected outcomes in the context of distributed creativity are known as ‘collaborative emergence’ (Sawyer, 2003), which is “a defining characteristic of social encounters that are improvisational because only when the outcome is not scripted can there be unpredictability and contingency” (Sawyer and DeZutter, 2009. p.82).

Exploration of both distributed creativity and collaborative emergence were applicable to Deeper Love. The analytical methodology of choice applied within Sawyer and DeZutter's research is ‘interaction analysis’, a method of studying repeated patterns of observable behaviour using the medium of digital video. However, interaction analysis is probably less suited to the relatively small movements generated by audience- performers and audience-soloists such as tapping a smartphone icon, pressing a switch on a games controller or even pressing down a note on a keyboard, than the broader gestures and vocal utterances of an improvising actor.

The quantification of real-time interactions in improvisation is a research instrument yet to be developed, but a more fruitful direction for this research may be drawn from Breel (2015) in a paper that focuses on audience agency in participatory performance. Breel's methodology takes its inspiration in part from participatory action research (PAR), described by Kind, Pain and Kesby as being "a socially constructed reality within which multiple interpretations of a single phenomenon are possible by both researchers and participants” (cited in Breel, 2015, p.371). Using PAR as a tool creates an opportunity’ for the researcher to use a variety of methodologies and engage in research processes that afford collaborative knowledge production. The second element in Breel's methodology is drawn from interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) research which: combines a phenomenological perspective of embodied, situated experience with a hermeneutic approach, encouraging awareness that experience is necessarily already interpreted when expressed and in IPA is then interpreted again by the researcher . . . IPA focuses on the attempt to make meaning out of the experience through interpretation.

(Breel, 2015, p.372)

Breel's research utilises three survey instruments:

  • 1. A questionnaire to try to identify which performance elements were most meaningful
  • 2. A creative response to the performance
  • 3. Individual interviews to add more detail to the responses to the questionnaire

This research utilises the first and third instruments from Breel (2015) as the creative response option was not suitable in a jazz concert and club environment.

Quantitative data has been gathered through the use of several instruments including group-administered self-completion questionnaires, with qualitative open-ended interviews expanding on the quantitative results. All the studies were cross-sectional in nature with the individuals sampled for the questionnaire being self-selecting from the attendees at the four Deeper Lave audience research events. The collection of information from performers and audience follows a mixed-method approach integrating both qualitative and quantitative data from a pragmatic perspective.

The Launch Event was held on 10 December 2018 in the Area 51 per- fonnance space at the University of Westminster. The perfonnance had been publicised through the university w ith an open invitation to staff and students to what was a free of charge and non-ticketed event. There were approximately thirty standing attendees with at 70:30 female to male gender split, most of whom were of student age and with five older attendees drawn from members of the university staff. Nearly all of the audience owned iPhones running IOS 12 or later and were able to move around the room and participate. Whilst some interesting results emerged from this event, other research perfonnances were scheduled so that the data could be tested in a variety of contexts.

The second performance (Figure 20.13) was held on 18 December 2018 at the East Grinstead Jazz Club. There were forty-three audience members seated at tables and therefore unable to move around freely during the performance, with an equal gender split and an average age of sixty. Only nine members of the audience filled in questionnaires as notably most of them did not own recent iPhones or have a model that runs IOS 12, the minimum operating system to run the Deeper Love Soundpad App. Some expressed resentment that the app wasn't available for the Android operating system.

Toulouse Lautrec jazz club in Kennington, London was the venue for the third perfonnance which took place on 19 December 2018 in front of

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Deeper Love Performance 2 - East Grinstead Jazz Club

Figure 20.13 Deeper Love Performance 2 - East Grinstead Jazz Club

fifteen audience members of mixed gender and an average age of approximately fifty-five. The audience was seated at tables for this performance and the audience members were again unable to move around the room. At this performance only three people submitted the questionnaire and there were issues with finding enough audience members who had access to iPhones.

On the 23 February back in Area 51 at the University of Westminster another performance was held in front of an audience of applicants to the university and their guests. It was not run as an audience research event, but as a technical experiment responding to a handwritten comment on one of the questionnaires from the first performance. The comment read: ‘'volume for the parts would help create more sense of agency and cohesion”, referring to the volume of the samples being triggered from the app. Two radio microphones were positioned in the audience section of Area 51 to reinforce the sound level from the iPhones and to allow audience-performers to move as close to the amplification as they wished. This sound reinforcement made a noticeable difference to the level of the sounds being played from the iPhone. Comments relating to the use of the extra amplification from the sound technicians at the event included “That worked really well” and “Yeah, that was really cool”.

The final audience research event took place on 20 March 2019 again at Area 51 to an audience of university applicants and their guests. As with the previous Area 51 event the audience was standing and able to move around freely. The same sound reinforcement for the iPhones w as used as on the 23 February performance. The audience of twenty-four members had a 50:50 gender split and w as mostly comprised of sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds with some middle-aged parents in attendance. This audience with its high level of young people had an iPhone usage of 71%.

20.7 QUESTIONNAIRE

The responses to the questionnaire completed by the audience-performers at the four Deeper Love audience-research events have been turned into percentages with data having been collected from fifty-five individuals in all with high response rates from all participants. The data has also been summed (Table 20.3) to give an overview of the findings. Even with the results from the four audience research events combined this is still a relatively small data set to draw conclusions from and as so should be approached with some caution. However, with some comparisons between the summed responses and those from each audience research event it should be possible to see some trends emerging. A seven-point Likert scale has been used to report on the responses with 1 representing Strongly disagree and 7 Strongly agree.

Table 20.3 Audience Questionnaire Summed and Calculated as Percentages

Question and results

Total respondents

I felt a sense of agency during the performance

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

54

2%

0%

3%

7%

20%

24%

44%

My participation made a contribution to the work

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

54

4%

5%

9%

20%

17%

17%

28%

I did not feel that other audience participants made a contribution to the work

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

54

22%

22%

15%

20%

8%

9%

4%

I felt that the interactive moments in the work were meaningful

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

53

4%

6%

7%

17%

23%

24%

19%

I enjoyed being able to make a contribution to the work

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

55

0%

0%

2%

11%

28%

22%

37%

I felt that participation via the technology was easy to access

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

54

7%

2%

4%

5%

24%

19%

39%

I felt a bond with the other paiticipants

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

54

4%

11%

13%

17%

19%

18%

18%

I felt a relationship with the performers

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

55

2%

5%

13%

16%

15%

27%

22%

Responses

"I felt a sense of agency during the performance (i.e. the ability to make free choices in respect to your contribution)"

At both the Area 51 launch event and at the Toulouse Lautrec event there were no negative choices at all. These responses indicate that a large majority of the audience-performers did feel a sense of agency during the performance.

"AAy participation made a contribution to the work"

The tendency towards the neutral is partly explained by the results coming from the two smaller sample sets with two out of the three Toulouse Lautrec responders opting for this option as did 37% of the eight East Grin- stead responders. There may have been an issue with the older participants at these two events not finding the technical elements of the participation particularly easy to manage and this is borne out to a certain extent by the data relating to the sixth question that relates to ease of access to the technology.

"/ did not feel that other audience participants made a contribution to the work"

The Toulouse Lautrec and East Grinstead participants again bucked the trend with 66% of the Toulouse Lautrec and 75% of the East Grinstead responders on the neutral or negative side of the question. Some participants mentioned that they found this question confiising which may have created some false answers.

"I felt that the interactive moments in the work were meaningful"

A possible explanation for this might be that the younger audiences at the Area 51 events were more receptive to the research than the participants for the Toulouse Lautrec event where 67% made the neutral choice, and at East Grinstead where 37% made the neutral choice with the same percentage of participants on the negative side of the scale.

"I enjoyed being able to make a contribution to the work"

The positive results extrapolated from this data bode well for future work in this area since this theme is central to this research. However, it is important to bear in mind any possible bias in these responses as well as understanding that caution must be applied because of the relatively small sample size.

"I felt that participation via the technology was easy to access"

82% of the summed participants were on the positive side of the scale however 50% of the East Grinstead audience were either neutral or on the negative side of the proposition suggesting that despite enjoying the process, many of them were unable to access the app because of their lack of an iPhone running OS 12 or later. In future research making the app platform agnostic bv creating code and building the app for both the iOS and Android platforms may be a way of addressing the lack of ease of technological access reported by many of the East Grinstead respondents.

"I felt a bond with the other participants"

This outcome may stem from the fact that the East Grinstead audience- performers were seated and unable to move around the room; but with all the Toulouse Lautrec participants who were also seated being either neutral or on the positive side of the spectrum it would take further research to verify this conclusion.

"I felt a relationship with the performers"

There is an interesting comparison with the 54% of the East Grinstead respondents who also selected the negative side of the scale. With the Toulouse Lautrec results being based on only three returned questionnaires it is hard to draw many conclusions from those results in isolation; however, with the larger East Grinstead sample there seems to be a correlation between the higher level of negative scale results and the lack of mobility in the room, the age of the respondents and the lower iPhone to Android ratio displayed by those participants.

20.8 INTERVIEWS

Three qualitative open-ended interviews were undertaken with audience- soloists from the first Area 51 audience research event, the East Grinstead and the Toulouse Lautrec events. The first was carried out face to face and the second two by phone. The data was analysed using thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke. 2006) with six broad themes emerging.

Considering the holistic analysis of all data implies the following. No major changes need to be made to perfomiance protocols although there are issues with both the harmonic makeup of compositions and the rhythmic elements of any triggered material that need to be carefully managed. An affordable, scalable and accessible technological framework has been developed which has been tested in real-world gig conditions and found to be reliable and robust thus opening up the field to other practitioners across popular music. The development of compositional and performance protocols enabled the research to move from the arena

Adrian York

Table 20.4 Results of thematic analysis

Theme

Comment

Ease of accessing the participatory process via the technology.

All interviewees supported the idea that the participatory process had been easy to access.

Level of audience- soloist agency.

There was a generally positive response to the theme of audience-soloist agency.

Feeling blended into the perfonnance.

This theme focused on the level of integration into the perfonnance that the audience-soloists felt they had experienced. Most comments supported the idea that there had been a good level of integration.

Sonic dialogue

Evidence of a sonic dialogue between the audience- soloists and the musicians emerged supported by audience-soloist.

Bonding with the other participants.

Tliis theme was extrapolated from a number of comments.

Were the interactive inoinenls in the

work meaningful musically?

Tliis addressed the potential of the research to be extended and to create a “meaningful” musical experience. One audience-soloist noted that “It was like a demo of what could be ... it could branch out into sometliing more ... if it was done at a bigger scale with crowds and stuff like that..

326

of an academic conference to the real-world context of a jazz club. The development of the app created a potentially limitless scaling up of the numbers of audience-performers.

To evaluate the success of the technological infrastructure for this project it is necessary to revisit the eight principles that guided its construction. It set out to be:

  • 1. informal
  • 2. interesting
  • 3. immediate
  • 4. accessible
  • 5. natural
  • 6. necessary
  • 7. affordable
  • 8. scalable

Principles 3,4 and 5 are met by the responses to the questionnaire question “I felt that participation via the technology was easy to access” to which 82% of the summed participants were on the positive side of the scale. The scalability and free of charge nature of the app address principles 7 and 8, and the evidence for principles 1 and 2 comes from the 'informal' nature of the event itself, far away from the classical-music concerts described in Small (1998) and by the engagement of the audience- perfonners and audience-soloists throughout the event and comments such as "There's a lot of potential there”. In regard to principle 6, developing an affordable and accessible technological infrastructure for IMP within jazz is embedded in the core of this research, and is taken from an identified gap in research.

Revisiting the Lee and Freeman (2013) set of criteria to enable a suc- cessfi.il audience participatory experience, it can be seen that as with The

Singularity.

  • 1. Participation was easily accessible
  • 2. Gestures from the audience were turned into a single musical composition
  • 3. Audience-soloists had no reservations about participating
  • 4. Audience-soloists were motivated to perfonn and sustained interest in their participation
  • 5. Audience-soloists in some instances identify a clear relationship between their gestures and the musical outcomes
  • 20.9 FUTURE WORK

Further investigation and experimentation into the way IMP can be integrated within popular music genres and other areas of interactive performance is strongly recommended. Future research might be broadly divided into three areas:

  • 1. Technical improvements and developments
  • 2. New compositional concepts
  • 3. Therapeutic contexts

A number of ideas for developing the Soundpad App have emerged during the research process.

  • • Having the buttons on the app play back different samples for each song
  • • Being able to turn the sound of the app on and off remotely via a data automation system
  • • Sending new samples to the app at each interactive moment via a device automation system (Hagins and Hawkinson, 2013) or using remote virtualisation technology (Zhao et a!., 2013)
  • • Being able to trigger more than one button on the app at once
  • • Having the app display instructional messages

These improvements should increase the practicality of using the app through the duration of a complete perfonnance as well as aiding the artist in controlling the interactive performance soundscape.

Further experimentation needs to take place in the area of reinforcement for the sounds triggered by the app using smartphones. Part of this would entail assessing the utilisation of the app at a larger concert, festival or stadium gig to see if it is more effective in those environments with a mass, full-house audience than in a club or small concert context. This area of research could see the realisation of McLuhan's (2001, p.22) proposal that the mass audience becomes a "creative participating force'’.

Future studies could be undertaken to develop novel compositional concepts using IMP. Building on Levin (2001), CoSiMa (2016) Lee and Freeman (2013), audience-performers within a performance context could be mobilised to be the prime source of sound generation with other performers improvising around and responding to these audience-generated soundscapes.

Some investigation would be warranted to explore the feasibility of using technologies such as the Soundpad App or the WiiMote for triggering pre-prepared samples in the field of music therapy or other therapeutic interventions that involve music, sound production or perfonnance. Extending the research of Hunt et cd. (2004), the therapeutic application of IMP could be analysed to see if it allows all perfonnance participants to operate on a level playing field.

20.10 CONCLUSION

Although the current study is based upon a small number of participants and despite its exploratory nature, the findings contribute to knowledge by adding to the growing body of literature on IMP, and by providing novel contributions to the performance practice of popular music. This research adds to existing knowledge by providing for the first time a study of the application of IMP to the contemporary jazz genre, meeting Hodl et al.'s (2012, p.236) definition of IMP: “when a spectator can take part or at least make a contribution in a live concert through a technically driven system”.

The findings add to the existing literature on IMP through an analysis of IMP when applied to a popular music genre that has specific performance protocols and compositional and improvisational structures. The creation of a technical framework to enable the research performances has provided a template that can be used or adapted by other researchers or practitioners entering the field.

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The online composer-audience collaboration

Luis Ramirez

  • [1] At large concerts or music festivals, audiences of many thousandscould be transformed into audience-performers, moving from a stateof alterity to being part of a new homogenous entity with the performer; that instead of using their phones for shining lights, filming ortaking photographs, audience members will become sonic collaborators in the performance creating an 'ontogenic' composition in a process of distributed creativity (Sawyer and DeZutter, 2009). 2. At jazz concerts at clubs and festivals, as well as becoming audience-performers as detailed above, volunteer audience members can becomeaudience-soloists, engaging in improvisation and sonic dialogue witheach other and with the other performers.
 
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