We are happy to announce that “Music, Communication & Technology” will be the very first joint degree between NTNU and UiO, the two biggest universities in Norway. The programme is now approved by the UiO board and will soon be approved by the NTNU board.
This is a different Master’s programme. Music is at the core, but the scope is larger. The students will be educated as technological humanists, with technical, reflective and aesthetic skills. We believe that the solutions to tomorrow’s societal challenges need to be based on intimate links between technological competence, musical sensibility, humanistic reflection, and a creative sense.
A core feature of the programme is the unique two-campus design. The student group is physically split between Oslo and Trondheim, 500 kilometres apart, but with a high-quality, network-based multimedia connection that allows for discussions, socialising and playing music. As a student you will get hands-on experience with state-of-the-art facilities, including motion capture systems, music production studios, and large loudspeaker arrays. The theoretical components include acoustics, music cognition, machine learning and human-computer interaction.
Abstract: This chapter looks at some of the principles involved in developing conceptual methods and technological systems concerning sonic microinteraction, a type of interaction with sounds that is generated by bodily motion at a very small scale. I focus on the conceptualization of interactive systems that can exploit the smallest possible micromotion that people are able to both perceive and produce. It is also important that the interaction that is taking place allow for a recursive element via a feedback loop from the sound produced back to the performer producing it.
Abstract: How do dancers engage with electronic dance music (EDM) when dancing? This paper reports on an empirical study of dancers’ pleasurable engagement with three structural properties of EDM: (1) breakdown, (2) build-up, and (3) drop. Sixteen participants danced to a DJ mix in a club-like environment, and the group’s bodily activity was recorded with an infrared, marker-based motion capture system. After they danced, the subjects filled out questionnaires about the pleasure they experienced and their relative desire to move while dancing. Subsequent analyses revealed associations between the group’s quantity of motion and self-reported experiences of pleasure. Associations were also found between certain sonic features and dynamic changes in the dancers’ movements. Pronounced changes occurred in the group’s quantity of motion during the breakdown, build-up, and drop sections, suggesting a high level of synchronization between the group and the structural properties of the music. The questionnaire confirmed this intersubjective agreement: participants perceived the musical passages consistently and marked the build-up and drop as particularly pleasurable and motivational in terms of dancing. Self-reports demonstrated that the presence and activity of other participants were also important in the shaping of one’s own experience, thus supporting the idea of clubbing as an intersubjectively embodied experience.
The chapter does not have an abstract, but the opening paragraph summarizes the content quite well:
As living human beings we are constantly in motion. Even when we try to stand absolutely still, our breathing, pulse and postural adjustments lead to motion at the micro-level. Such micromotion is small, but it is still possible to experience it in the body and it is also visible to others. This chapter reflects on such (un)conscious and (in)voluntary micromotion observed and experienced when one attempts to stand physically still, and how musical sound influences such micromotion.
I am happy to announce that the Research Council of Norway has awarded funding to establish RITMO – Centre of Excellence for Interdisciplinary Studies in Rhythm, Time and Motion. The centre is a collaboration between Departments of Musicology, Psychology and Informatics at University of Oslo.
Rhythm is omnipresent in human life, as we walk, talk, dance and play; as we tell stories about our past; and as we predict the future. Rhythm is also central to human biology, from the microoscillations of our nervous system to our heartbeats, breathing patterns and longer chronobiological cycles (or biorhythms). As such, it is a key aspect of human action and perception that is in complex interplay with the various cultural, biological and mechanical rhythms of the world.
The vision behind RITMO is to reveal the basic cognitive mechanism(s) underlying human rhythm, using music, motion and audiovisual media as empirical points of departure. No other interdisciplinary research environment has focused solely on rhythm and its direct and indirect impacts before. Given the fundamental role of rhythm in human life, such an endeavour is long overdue.
RITMO will undertake research on rhythm in human action and perception, and on the aesthetic and cultural ‘texts’ that such processes elicit. This venture will benefit from the combined perspectives of the humanities, cognitive neuroscience, social sciences and informatics. Now is the right time to establish such a centre, because we can finally explore some of the larger questions of the humanities via state-of-the-art technologies for motion capture, neuroimaging, pupillometry and robotics. Such a research strategy is as novel as it is essential to any engagement with the impact of human rhythm. RITMO will generate groundbreaking knowledge about the structuring and understanding of the temporal dimensions of human life. As such, it will change how we view human cognition and supply a cornerstone for the future exploitation of rhythm in applications for well-being and rehabilitation.