The Big Idea
Playing with music with 3-D Spatial Interaction.
The goal of this project is to explore how 3-D space can act as a medium for users to interact and create music. This interaction can be prototyped in the virtual world Second Life using the internal building and scripting system. Users would interact via simple interface – touch, grab, possibly dialog menu, and arrange music elements into an overall composed piece.
Through the exploration of 3D space as a way to interact with music, it would provide educational value in expressing the concept of relationships between elements being a key element of structure and form. This highlights the way in which this concept can be applied across multiple realms: visual composition and musical composition. Thus, it invites the learner to contemplate this concept of structure as it applies to other areas.
Method – Using Space as an Analogy
The musical arrangement would not just be audio, but physically would take up virtual space. The objects would form a physical analogy, such as a constellation, a galaxy, a solar system, or an atomic compound. (We are looking for input as to which one might make the most sense.) Thus, as the user interacts with the objects, it would change their position and relative location within this structure. Not only would the position change the music element, but the positions of elements relative to one another could affect each other.
At the same time, this analogy creates an artistic value. Things like color, size, shape, and location of elements can be altered with each interaction. So onlookers would also be able to enjoy, even walk in the midst of the exhibit and experience the music differently depending on where they stand. (This is due to volume differences defendant on distance to the sound emitter.)
Possible Musical Changes
We're looking to consult with a professional musician or music theorist on what might be possible, but we suspect we should be able to play around with:
* Switching between similar sounds (different drums, different string noises, etc)
* Changing tempo or beat
* Changing volume
* Changing pitch, if we had multiple sounds recorded of different pitches
Potential for real museum exhibit
This project does have the potential for a real exhibit, either using a discreet mechanical system, motion sensors, or optical object tracking. The potential is there for the exhibit to be displayed virtually and be operated in a real meat-space location using some of these technologies. By prototyping the interaction in a virtual world, we can see if this sort of activity will be compelling for guests enough to warrant research into technology to make it work in the real world.
* Musical expertise
* Lots of sound files
* Brainstorming on the analogy
* End-user testers who want to play around with some basic mechanics and give feedback
See the wiki pages for this project for daily details.
Also, see Ron's blog for summary updates.