Sound Composition

Published on March 11th 2016 by Matías Vilaplana
The sound composition of Emovere was developed based on a set of decisions and boundary conditions that were addressed by experimentation and exploration. We decided to use audio files instead of synthesizing sounds with the data delivered by the sensors, which would have been much more complex for the sound composition and the design of the interaction modes. This way, everything that we composed was stored in an audio sound object (SO) that was activated and modulated in different ways by the dancers through different interaction modes. The particularity of each interaction mode established various conditions/limits for the composition, and all of this was intersected with the different emotions that the dance team experienced during the exploratory sessions. Therefore, the composition was inserted in these minimum conditions so it could allow the dance team to explore the body-sound/movement-sound relationship through biofeedback.

For example, in the interaction mode that works by layers of audio files, it was necessary to recognize by hearing how many layers were being activated. Each layer had to prevent silences in the audio file and differentiate itself in terms of sound, but also interact with the other layers in order for it to be a sound object. In another case, in the section where we worked with eroticism, a variation of the layer mode was used that divided each layer spectrally and assigned a different frequency spectrum to each dancer (we thought of it as a choir: bass, tenor, alto, and soprano). This meant that the file had to contain information without silences in the full spectrum. So we had sounds from different registers in all the layers and what changed from one layer to another were the intensity of these elements and/or the addition of elements with similar features that could make the sound environment denser. We used breathing sounds (recorded by the dancers in the studio), synthesized basses, rattlesnake sounds, high-pitched and continuous metallic sounds, and there was a second section where the bass acquired a pulse that slowly accelerated together with percussion elements and processed voices that also gradually increased their rhythmic density. When composing the sounds, we could try to anticipate the sound result by emulating the dancers and activating and deactivating layers and registers. But when it was controlled by the dancers, the sound composition acquired a different quality because they controlled the intensity, the silences and the spectrum of what was happening at a certain point of the sound objects. In this other dimension of the sound composition, the sound-dance relationships that appeared during the sessions started to model the compositions and their sonic nature through trial and error.