Ethnomusicologist Dr John Morgan O’Connell – along with Sonic Art Scholar Alexandros Kontogeorgakopoulus and User Experience Designer Anthony Mace – has recently been awarded £50,000 as part of REACT’s Objects Sandbox scheme. Dr O’Connell’s project – The God Article – revolves around the Turkish ney , a musical object steeped in cultural significance. This team will be developing ney replicas with breath sensors that will facilitate online learning.
Dr O’Connell updates us on progress to date…
“The team recently met in the Watershed to discuss project progress. In addition to the build issues (developed by Alex and Aris) and the design issues (developed by Ant and Stefan), I was asked to suggest the musical requirements of five prospective clients who might use ‘The God Article’.
These were: 1] a beginner; 2] a professional; 3] a scholar; 4] a scientist; 5] a composer. To this end, we identified a number of variables that measured touch and breath. We also agreed that a microphone would be employed to measure frequency, amplitude and timbre.
Since we argued that the representation of all of these factors would be difficult to project onto one interface, we decided that a maximum of six elements would be usefully itemized.
At this stage, I am delighted that the mouth piece (başpare) of the ney is now digitally fabricated. I am also very pleased that a touch-sensitive aperture is already digitally generated. To simplify matters, I understand that a microphone (which is a sensor) can used to measure breath, amplitude, frequency and timbre.
My task is as follows: I will research the types of microphones used by professional neyzen-s, both in popular and classical contexts. To this end, I agreed that we should aim to fabricate a plastic ney, an object that is equivalent to producing a ‘practice’ ney. Although relevant to our research questions, I thought that we should leave the measurement of noise/ tone with respect to breath production to a later date.”