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.
I am happy to announce that Springer has now released a book that I have been co-editing with Michael J. Lyons: “A NIME Reader: Fifteen Years of New Interfaces for Musical Expression“. From the book cover:
What is a musical instrument? What are the musical instruments of the future? This anthology presents thirty papers selected from the fifteen year long history of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME). NIME is a leading music technology conference, and an important venue for researchers and artists to present and discuss their explorations of musical instruments and technologies.
Each of the papers is followed by commentaries written by the original authors and by leading experts. The volume covers important developments in the field, including the earliest reports of instruments like the reacTable, Overtone Violin, Pebblebox, and Plank. There are also numerous papers presenting new development platforms and technologies, as well as critical reflections, theoretical analyses and artistic experiences.
The anthology is intended for newcomers who want to get an overview of recent advances in music technology. The historical traces, meta-discussions and reflections will also be of interest for longtime NIME participants. The book thus serves both as a survey of influential past work and as a starting point for new and exciting future developments.
The ebook (PDF/epub) is a free download for all institutions/libraries affiliated with Springer Link.
We have been running our free online course Music Moves a couple of times on the FutureLearn platform. The course consists of a number of videos, as well as articles, quizzes, etc., all of which help create a great learning experience for the people that take part.
One great thing about the FutureLearn model (similar to Coursera, etc.) is that they focus on creating a complete course. There are many benefits to such a model, not least to create a virtual student group that interact in a somewhat similar way to campus students. The downside to this, of course, is that the material is not accessible to others when the course is not running.
We spent a lot of time and effort on making all the material for Music Moves, and we see that some of it could also be useful in other contexts. This semester, for example, I am teaching a course called Interactive Music, in which some of the videos on motion capture would be very relevant for the students.
For that reason we have now decided to upload all the Music Moves videos to YouTube, so that everyone can access them. We still encourage interested people to enroll in the complete course, though. The next run on FutureLearn is scheduled to start in September.
I am super excited about starting up my new project – MICRO – Human Bodily Micromotion in Music Perception and Interaction – these days. Here is a short trailer explaining the main points of the project:
Now I have also been able to recruit two great researchers to join me, postdoctoral researcher Victor Evaristo Gonzalez Sanchez and PhD fellow Agata Zelechowska. Together we will work on human micromotion, how music influences such micromotion, and how we can get towards microinteraction in digital musical instruments. Great fun!
This week we have already made some progress, both in terms of analysis and synthesis. A sneak peak below, more to come…