Listen to Semaphore
Semaphore (2014-15) works between dance, music and text. It is a collaboration between the choreographer Jane Turner, the poet and writer Philip Terry and the musician, composer and technologist Richard Hoadley. The primary focus is on live processes, data from the dancers' movements are used to trigger and modulate text, audio and music notation. This is in turn performed and in some cases fed back to the dancers whose movements are then influenced by the music and text, and so on. Ideally, there is a balance between gesture, whether based on movement, music or text and the resulting translation that is not too trivial but is also not so remote that the origin and its result do not feel connected at all. Steve Mithen's Prehistory of the Mind suggests that it is natural for the human imagination to think creatively across domains: people can choose to imagine music that accompanies actions, although how this happens is not understood technically. There is evidence that cross-domain thinking is at the heart of creative activity; this practice-based research investigates this hypothesis. There has been significant research into efficacious methods of mapping one circumstance onto another, and more recently, the idea of mapping and its aesthetic value itself has itself become the focus of investigation. Increasingly, as a result, researchers and performers have been investigating the counter-intuitive idea of more less predictable forms of mapping (a reaction to the phenomenon of 'mickey mousing'), where neither performer nor coder/composer are aware of the full repercussions of their behaviours. The effect of certain actions on the predictability and purpose of systems and structures of performance, including the performers' intentionality and virtuosity, is fundamental to this research. The complexity of these investigations can make it seem as though research into any further attempted integration of expressive domains should pause until we are clearer about the current situation. This assumes, though, that the idea of static mapping structures for each new interface, perhaps imitating acoustic musical instruments, is a feasible, practical and aesthetically desirable goal. Composers, performers and researchers are now investigating 'composable environments' where the aesthetic goal is the production of rewarding, stimulating and challenging compositions and environments rather than tool-like new interfaces. This project also presents practice-led research implementing and investigating these ideas and issues. It charts the development of live work in dance/movement, music/audio and music notation and in addition considers the challenges arising from the semantic structures inherent in text.
Images of our Semaphore performance at Cardiff M.A.D.E. Gallery, courtesy of Sarah Vaughan-Jones
Listen to How To Play the Piano
Watch How To Play the Piano (on another site).
How to Play the Piano (2015) is a version of a passage originally from the dance-music-text piece Semaphore by Richard Hoadley (music and programming), Jane Turner (choreography) and Philip Terry (poetry) (http://rhoadley.net/semaphore). It uses a live audio analysis of the reading of an original piece of poetry to generate audio and, in 88 Notes, live notation to be played simultaneously by a pianist. In the first part of the piece, the poem is algorithmically remodelled textually, graphically and aurally and orally.
Listen to December Variations
Watch December Variations.
December Variations (2013-14) are automatically generated and notated variations for piano on the score December 1952 by Earle Brown. In a paper published in 2008 'On December 1952' Brown says: "In my notebooks at this time I have a sketch for a physical object, a three-dimensional box in which there would be motorized elements - horizontal and vertical, as the elements in December are on the paper. But the original conception was that it would be a box which would sit on top of the piano and these things would be motorized, in different gearings and different speeds, and so forth, so that the vertical and horizontal elements would actually physically be moving in front of the pianist. The pianist was to look wherever he chose and to see these elements as they approached each other,crossed in front of and behind each other,and obscured each other. I had a real idea that there would be a possibility of the performer playing very spontaneously, but still very closely connected to the physical movement of these objects in this three-dimensional motorized box. This again was somewhat an influence from Calder: some of Calder's earliest mobiles were motorized and I was quite influenced by that and hoped that I could construct a motorized box of elements that also would continually change their relationships for the sake of the performer and his various readings of this mechanical mobile. I never did realize this idea, not being able to get motors and not really being all that interested in constructing it." This project is an investigation into these ideas, differentiated by the idea of automatically generated notation. Some of the issues arising from the technique include the role of interpretation as opposed to sight-reading, legibility, possible interactions and the role of the graphic score itself, in both practical and theoretical terms, in this new environment. This project is related to the automatic, algorithmic and live notation compositions Quantum Canticorum, Three Streams, The Fluxus Tree, Fluxus and Calder's Violin.
Listen to Quantum Canticorum
Watch Quantum Canticorum (on YouTube).
Quantum Canticorum is my contribution to the music and dance piece Quantum². Quantum Canticorum is an Interdisciplinary performance in which dance and music interact using body tracking technologies and bespoke sensing environments to expand our understandings of the interrelationship between the body, its environment and expression, between science and art, culture and nature. Dance is converted into data which are then used to trigger and modulate expressive algorithms which generate in real-time both audio and music notation - also performed live. Although the piece is generated live each time it is performed, its duration remains approximately 10 minutes.This event is led by composer Richard Hoadley and Turning Worlds Dance Company, choreographer Jane Turner. It is a part of the Quantum² project which is supported by Arts Council England. Music: Richard Hoadley Dance: Jane Turner
The Fluxus Tree is an automatic composition centred around interactions with a collection of experimental interactive sculptures. Dancers (or anyone else) interacts with the sculptures and so creates data from sensors which generates electronic sounds and music notation live. This live notation is then played by the composer and occasional (and excellent) 'cellist Cheryl Frances-Hoad.
'Calder's Violin' is a composition for violin and automatic piano. The music is algorithmically generated, including the violin part which is notated live as the piece progresses. The general textures and references of the music are intended to be predictable, but detail is new each time: an attempt to emulate in the medium of electronically generated music the 'mystifyingly exquisite variation' of performance on traditional, acoustic instruments. Some of the material for Calder's Violin has been previously developed for the on-going dance and music project 'Triggered'.
Somewhere between improvisation and composition, art and science, lies Triggered - a dance-music-digital performance that builds on the Cage-Cunningham legacy of interaction between music, dance and technology. Dancers initiate music by interacting with free-standing and suspended sculptures. Sound and movement evolve in response to feedback, producing a sophisticated, highly-charged performance. Performing, choreographing, composing and building the production are composers Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Tom Hall, Richard Hoadley, choreographer Jane Turner with dancers David Ogle and Ann Pidcock. Special guest composers and performers are Sam Hayden and Jonathan Impett. http:rhoadley.net/triggered
One Hundred and Twenty-Eight Haiku is based on two developments from 2009: the generative composition/performance One Hundred and Twenty-Seven Haiku and the hardware and software performance tool Gaggle. These two items are joined by two other newly developed experimental devices: Touchtree and Gagglina, and these items are amalgamated into a performance which is in turn improvised, composed and automatically generated. Richard HOADLEY has as a composer in recent years focused on the investigation of the use of technology in the compositional process: the nature of indeterminacy in music and its aesthetic and philosophical ramifications, and the effect of the interface in different forms on the creative process. rhoadley.net 127 Haiku Audio (128KB, 11MB) 128 Haiku Audio (192KB, 16MB) Programme Haiku Generator Other Compositions Other Research