Experimence: Considerations for Composing a Rock Song for Interactive Audience Participation

Hodl, Oliver; Fitzpatrick, Geraldine and Holland, Simon (2014). Experimence: Considerations for Composing a Rock Song for Interactive Audience Participation. In: Proceedings of ICMC/SMC Joint Conference: 40th International Computer Music Conference and 11th Sound and Music Computing (ICMC/SMC 2014). (Georgaki, A. and Kouroupetroglou, G. eds.), Michigan Publishing pp. 169–176.

URL: http://www.smc-conference.net/smc-icmc-2014/papers...


In popular music genres, typical songs are pre-composed and leave little or no space for improvisation during a live performance. That applies for the performing musicians as well as for the spectators in terms of interactive audience participation. In this study we question these improvisational limits and try to identify strategies for involving the audience as an additional and unpredictable factor in a pre-composed rock song. To do so we composed “Experimence” guided by the standard practice of song writing. The song was premiered at a public live concert where the audience could collaboratively participate in real-time by playing with a balloon together throughout the song. Using a Wizard of Oz technique, the movements of the balloon influenced the live music played by the pianist. We reflect across this experience and present notable issues raised during the composition, rehearsals and the actual performance. We then classify these aspects as abstract variables of consideration for a composition meant to promote such audience participation. We propose this proof of concept as a starting point for further discussion, suggesting that a song such as Experimence can be a unique and individual piece of music every time it is played although largely pre-composed.

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