Interview with conductor Halldis Rønning

“To have the possibility to control almost intuitively control via movement and gestures move sound and visual expression would be very interesting.” I must confess that initially at the beginning of my artistic research it I did spend a considerable long time trying out possibilities to integrate gesture recognition to the ConDiS system. Using the MuBuForMax – hhmm library I tried to have it learn a standard meter conducting gestures such as 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, small gestures for soft volume value and large gestures for loud values. Unfortunately, the learning accuracy was not enough or about 80% but what but what weighed even more heavily is the fact that conductors have each their own way of conducting and that way might variate from one performance to the next. Therefore I listened to my co-supervisor Wayne Siegel when he advised me to retreat to older technology but at the same time simpler and more reliable. Hence bending sensors and buttons.

During my research, I needed to do some tests on how much information the conductor could be fed at a given time. For that reason as well for my artistic need (my compositional style is rather complex) I made the decision to make no compromises in the composition process and therefore Kuuki no Sukima is rather complex work. The conductor, therefore, needs to use a lot of concentration and energy conducting the ensemble, the tone, the volume of the sound and the tempo, while controlling the same things ie. the input, strength, and tempo of the electronic sounds.

It was therefore unavoidable that the next question was whether there would be a too complex task for the conductor to ad a video to the performance.

The threshold of Complexity?

Obviously, Halldis is aware of the limitations of the human being including conductors. Therefore it is her recommendation that if to add other media to the conducting job the music should be a bit simpler at least for the conductor.

Her response has provoked me a strong desire to make an effort to use video for my work. With that, I could shoot two flies in one stroke so that the conductor could see the volume of the electronica through the spectrum of the video.

Later in the interview, it appears that the conductor sometimes had difficulty detecting the headroom of the volume of the electronics, ie whether she had been lifting her hand to full volume or not. Here might be a solution to that problem.

There is no doubt that future research will include other media and therefore I am looking forward to my next composition that without a doubt would be a concert for a conductor, orchestra, and video.

Following blogs will continue clips from the interview with conductor Halldis Rønning seeking further answers to my artistic research and reflections.


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