, by Anna Xambó

Sonorities Symposium: Presentation on Live Coding with Audio Commons

The biennial Sonorities Festival Belfast is an international festival of music that showcases the latest world-wide work in experimental music. Organized and hosted by the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), Queen’s University Belfast, it was scheduled 18-22 April, 2018. This included a one-day symposium on Saturday April 21, “Techno-Human Encounters”, programmed by Zeynep Bulut and Kurt Werner, where we had the opportunity to present our work “Live Repurposing of Crowd-sourced Sounds: Challenges and Opportunities of Using Online Repositories in Music Performance”.

Sonorities Symposium Program

In this talk, I presented the state-of-the-art of repurposing crowd-sourced sounds in music performance. Then, I introduced the project AudioCommons and related work by our industry partners Jamendo, AudioGaming, and Waves, as well as the in-house side projects Playsound.space and the e-textiles project. Finally, I reflected on my own practice in musical live coding, a music improvisation practice that is based on generating code in real time. I presented code examples and musical results from using the self-built library MIRLC, which is based on SuperCollider, the FreeSound quark, the online database Freesound, and the use of music information retrieval techniques in creative forms. The challenges of repurposing this material in live performance were discussed, such as dealing with an heterogeneous sound palette consistently, making visible the performer’s actions to the audience, collaborating with other musicians, and making sure to attribute correctly the work to the authors during performance and in future dissemination.

With this year’s motto “You might not like it”, I was curious to know more about SARC and Sonorities. Our work was well received among composers, practitioners, musicologists, and digital humanists. It was great to meet old and new friends. I will definitely keep an eye on the forthcoming edition.

A follow-up of this work on live MIR will be presented at NIME 2018 during a poster session on Wednesday, June 6, 2018: Xambó, A., Roma, G., Lerch, A., Barthet, M., Fakekas, G. (2018) “Live Repurposing of Sounds: MIR Explorations with Personal and Crowdsourced Databases”. Come and see our poster and demo if you are around!

Top Photo: The MIRLC library shown in a Raspberry Pi during the workshop “Collaborative Network Music” led by Alo Allik and Anna Xambó at the Rewire Festival / Music Hackspace (April 2018).