Anders Lind

The first work to discuss is by Anders Lind from Sweden. Below you will find three videos. The first two are concert recordings of his work: “Voices of Umeå: Everybody Scream!!!”. The third is a presentation for this symposium describing Anders’ aparoach on animated notation.

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Anders himself writes about the work: ”

Everybody Scream!!! was the grand final composition made within the artistic research project Voices of Umeå, initiated and conducted by Swedish composer and senior artistic lecturer Anders Lind. The composition is divided in eight movements with a total duration of 45 minutes and composed for large crowd of citizens using their voices, three interactive instruments (Voices of Umeå: Singing Instruments!!) and electronics (prerecorded sounds of voices from the citizens). The premiere performance was held in May 2014 at Norrlandsoperan in Umeå, Sweden as a part of the Umeå 2014 European Capital of Culture programme. Approximately 200 citizens, including school children participated in the performance. An animated music notation system (the Max Maestro) conducted five of the eight movements of the composition (1, 2, 4, 6, 7). The ambition was to facilitate a performance, where anybody regardless their musical background could participate and contribute to a unique and still highly artistic musical expression.

 

7 comments on “Anders Lind”

  1. cmfischer Reply

    The following words are posted on behalf of Elma Miller:

    His “Voices of Umea: Everybody Scream!!!” was for ‘animated notation for audience and performers with prerecorded sounds from both.

    There was no score; the explanation was in Swedish and we were not shown what the singers were singing from and the filming was such that we were not seeing what they were seeing. The skateboard, bike wheels were visually appealing but I wasn’t sure what their role was. The side explanation was helpful. But what really interested me was the unique and fascinating idea of using a subdivided crowd who by means of an animated notational system acts upon dots moving across a coloured box projected on a screen. In effect the dots serve as loudness indicators by their size, how fast or slow they move for speed and when to stop and start – much like a light switch. Lind is ushering in a new audience concept beyond the old passive model where they sit and listen. With the audience as performer participant, the performance becomes lively, engaging and fun. We see how his system works and the reactions from the audience members as they perform. There is also no possibility of a bad performance since the composer allows for pleasant surprises.

    Anders Lind in his other selections offer yet another version of his thought processes. In #35, where he uses animated music notation with an electronic conductor system in a concert hall performance for 30 school children with a chamber orchestra and electronics; he combines both standard and animated notation. It was hard to come to a full picture without seeing the complete score, as it were. But the video explanation was very helpful.

    His “Put your hands together” was my favourite. The composition is built upon the same premises as Lind has indicated before but this time a much simpler layering of clapping sounds is heard. I really enjoyed seeing the orchestra as audience. The piece was just long enough for everyone to get the hang of the notation and then the composer asks for a little more by speeding up the action a little. There may have been some anxious moments where some thought they got lost – or perhaps they were nervous. Well, even pros get ‘lost’ though they hide and recover well. It didn’t matter, the composition was robust enough to conquer any wandering claps. It was a delightful demonstration of what a simple system of notation can achieve. Lind has taken notation out of the concert hall formality into the community. The success is palpable when the slightly confused and amused audience, sensing the irony, doesn’t know whether to clap at the end but they eventually do, both for themselves and for the composer.

    Lind has come up with a simple notation system that everyone can ‘read’. The animation has an urgency when it is sped up or slowed down, loudness comes from the size of the dots and when to start or stop is like a light switch: on and off. With the audience being subdivided up into sections and a further layering of reprocessed handclapping, the piece is musically satisfying and engaging to the ear. The added fun component was a bonus.

    • Anders Lind Reply

      Thanks for your comments!.
      Sorry for the explanation in Swedish in the first Voices of Umeå videoclip. The video documentation of the concert was made for another setting…
      Here is a short background of the performance and the Voices of Umeå artistic research project it was a part of, which hopefully could bring some light to the composition:

      Voices of Umeå was a three-year interdisciplinary artistic research project initiated in 2012 by composer and senior artistic lecturer Anders Lind at the department of Creative studies/ Umeå university/ Sweden. The main aim with the project was to explore new artistic possibilities for composition and performance practices within the field of contemporary art music. More specifically, artistic possibilities, which arises when non-professional performers regardless musical backgrounds enables to participate in the composition and performance processes. The idea was to develop and explore new pedagogical methods to involve non-professional performers by using new technology and combining knowledge from the fields of artistic and educational practices. The Max Maestro –an animated music notation system (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iePLi5uQzU) was developed within the project as a result of that. The artistic outcomes of the project featured two interactive voice recording instruments, three compositions, including two concerts and one exhibition. Voices of Umeå: Everybody Scream!!! (presented here) was the grand finale composition/ performance within the project.

      The musical idea of Voices of Umeå: Everybody Scream!!! was to take advantage of the rich capacities of the human voice as a sound source and the possibility to create advanced musical textures with a crowd of non-professional performers. The idea was to compose advanced musical textures, consisting of layers of individual “simple to perform” sounds.
      The individual sounds were supposed to be raw and naïve in contrast to sounds executed by a high skilled professional performer, which probably would be perfectly controlled and balanced. Primarily extended techniques for the human voice were used for the composition rather than something we could call normal singing. For example the crowd were instructed to; – sing approximate pitches, – speak in various amplitudes (including whispering), – make noise sounds (hiss on “s”, “sch” “f”), – use of isolated syllables/phonemes, – scream, make vocal glissandis and so on. The idea was to use the human voice as a musical instrument making isolated sounds rather than communicating a text with a melody of different pitches. Electronically preprocessed sounds of voices were mixed with the crowd in the live performance. These sounds had been recorded within the project by two interactive voice recording instruments (The Voice Harvester and U-Paint! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaLBcY6mHgk ). Approximately 10 000 soundfiles had been recorded by the citizens of Umeå using these installations. These sounds were processed and used as the fundamental sound sources together with the live performing crowd in the composition. The artistic idea was to combine these two opposite musical elements: – The human voices as the natural acoustic sound source and – The electronic voices as the processed electronic sound source into a new unique musical body. The electronic sounds were put out through a 6-channel speaker system and through the three interactive instruments, which also was included in the performance. These interactive instruments were taken form the Voices of Umeå: Singing Instruments!! (including the skateboard+bikewheels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLQ5Hs4GTeU ) exhibition created within the project.

      The premier of Voices of Umeå: Everybody Scream!!! was performed by a crowd of approximately 200 citizens of Umeå, mainly children/ youths in the age between 11-14 years old. The composition was organized in 8 (movement 1,2,4,6,7 conducted by animated notation) movements with a total duration of 45 minutes and the crowd consisted of a mix of five units. The Max Maestro (animated notation) conducted three out of five units (the other two units were conducted by a human conductor and are therefor not important here:). The three units conducted by the Max Maestro consisted of: Pupils in the seventh grade, a mixed children choir and music students from the Department of Creative studies/ Umeå university. Two rehearsal sessions with a total length of approximately three hours had been carried out separately with all the three units before the concert. The whole crowd was first gathered all together for the grand rehearsal, which was only two hours before the premiere performance. The visual output of the Max Maestro was projected on the upper left and right sides of the balcony of the stage in the concert hall. One output was also shown on a computer screen not visual for the audience.

      Thanks again!

      /Anders Lind

  2. Guðmundur Steinn Gunnarsson Reply

    Thank you for this presentation. I think it was very well done and clear. I think the way the project was done technically was very smart, it seems very stable and works very well. I only wonder what was used to render the visuals from max/msp to video, because I find various video capture programs at times jittery no matter what you do. But thanks for mentioning Bino, I had never heard of it and have tried similar things that didn’t work so well on many occasions, I will check it out.

    I can understand why the chamber orchestra would have paper notation as they are playing something very beat oriented or pulse based in the composition as well. If it wasn’t for that, I would ask: Why have paper, why not have everything animated?

    As for working with school children, composer Áki Ásgeirsson made a piece for 1400 4th graders, (9 year olds) and my informal research confirms that kids need to be about 9 years old to follow animated scores with any rhythmic precision. So it would be interested to see an elaborate piece like in the example above with even younger kids participating.

    Here is Áki’s piece:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt0N3J9DLKc

    Very interesting,

    thank you

    Guðmundur Steinn Gunnarsson

    • Anders Lind Reply

      Thanks for your comment! and for the link to Áki´s piece, Interesting.

      The visuals from Max/msp was rendered in quicktime version 10.3. Worked ok. The audio-part was embedded in Premiere PRO.
      Bino actually was a hit! Was very stable and I had no problems with synchronization.

      Yes, maybe I could have used animated notation for the chamber orchestra as well, definitely in the third movement where they are mainly performing “box” notated crescendo-diminuendo patterns. Although I find it most suitable working with “traditional” notation when dealing with a chamber orchestra, especially those who are more “conservative” orchestras. Too much valuable rehearsal time to get them comfortable with a new system they are not used to:). Furthermore, in this particular case as you mention some of the music was beat oriented, which made it easier with traditional notation. Moreover, I find it very interesting to combine the two worlds of traditional notation and animated notation to get the best of them united in one musical body.

      Interesting with the piece from Áki and I share your interest of testing animated notation with younger kids than 9-years olds. Actually I´m currently working with animated notation for an interactive exhibition (LINES) I´m exhibiting now at Västerbottens Museum in Umeå/ Sweden. So far I have done some workshops with 5-year olds having them performing with the interactive instruments in multiple parts (5 individual parts at the most) conducted by animated notation. It´s very interesting. They can understand and follow the animated notation as intended, but of course their concentration do not last so long:). It works for informal workshop sessions, but maybe not for concert hall performances:). However, I definitely think kids also younger than 9-year olds could participate in concert hall performances conducted by animated notation. More tests to come!

      thank you for your inputs.

      Anders Lind

  3. Shane Mc Kenna Reply

    Anders Lind’s work here is a great example of the organizational power of animated musical notation and its benefits in creating new types of performances with new types of ensembles.

    The notation itself is simple to interpret and clear in its intent (with a little room for different interpretations). The ball, moving left to right, in the rectangular box can communicate the moment of action, dynamics, duration and timbre with the help of letters and words in the case of Voices of Umeå. This simple ball and box can also work as a powerful organizational tool when multiplied and with numbers added.

    The intuitive nature of the notation makes it accessible for a range of performers and also for the audience. The combination of different musicians from different backgrounds and also the combination of animated notation, traditional notation and electronic parts was well conceived and shows how old and new methods of notation can contrast and compliment. It is hard to get across on a video or audio recording but I can imagine, from experience, that the varied ensemble and the use of animated notation made it an exciting performance to be there in the flesh.

    The key strength in this work is using this simple notation to arrange a performance that is interesting and engaging, musically and in terms of performance, for individuals and as an ensemble.

    I feel that using animated notation in this way focusses attention more on the experience of the performer than that of the listener. For me, this is the reason that animated notation is worth exploring as an alternative to (and with!) conventional notation. It allows us to take a different perspective to music making, as appose to the “composer via performer to listener” tradition.

    Anders Lind’s work is a great illustration of this potential in animated notation.

    • Anders Lind Reply

      Thanks for your comment!
      I totally agree with you that animated notation is worth further exploration as an alternative to and with conventional notation. For me, animated notation has open up the possibility of exploring new artistic expressions involving large setups of non-professional performers. The collective as musical expression have lots of interesting artistic potentials. With the possibility of dividing a large crowd into multiple parts and controlling their performance with intuitive animated notation fixed compositions could be performed with very limited (or no at all) rehearsals. Simple to perform sounds for the individual performer could be organized into advanced musical structures in multiple parts for the crowd/orchestra. As a composer I specially find it interesting to facilitate performances with crowds of non-professionals together with an electronic music part and/or a professional orchestra. Seen as a compliment to the rich possibilities for artistic expression within the tradition of orchestra and electronic composition this approach could be fruitful.

      Not to forget that animated notation seems to be engaging (similar to interacting in a videogame) for the performers, which is important for the final artistic results of a performance. Furthermore, the use of animated notation could bring new light to experimental music for a new audience and contribute to democratize and make contemporary art music relevant for more than a few selected.

      /Anders Lind

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