Environment, Events, openFrameworks, Sound
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Youth Music Box [Environment, Sound, Events, oF]



The Youth Music Box, currently installed in the Royal Festival Hall, London, was commissioned by the Youth Music charity. It’s a collaboration between Silent Studios, Chris O’Shea with music & sounds created by Resonate, to create a free, interactive musical experience, allowing you to create your own unique track and video using cutting edge technology, all in under 10 minutes.

The “box” is a room with instruments for four people: 2 keyboards, an electronic drumkit and an electronic turntable. It enables people, regardless of their musical ability, to enjoy creating music together quickly and easily.

There’s a short practice session, then the participants are recorded with video cameras (along with the sound). The resulting output is mixed live and uploaded to the Youth Music website.

The sounds are created by hardware synths in the control room controlled by MIDI. Visuals, coded in openFrameworks, also controlled by MIDI, are projected down onto the table which the instruments are on, and also onto the instruments themselves, to give visual feedback to what the player is doing, and enhance the overall experience.

Four players can use the Box at any one time and will have the choice of four instruments: two Edirol MIDI keyboards (one for vocals and the other for melody) a Roland TD-9K drumkit, and a Denon 3700S digi-media turntable, which will create and record the track. Users will have a choice of six musical styles: reggae, drum and bass, urban, afro beat, classical and disco/electro. After selecting a sample track to keep the beat and play along to, there will be a chance to rehearse before the final recording.

Behind the scenes, two technicians in the control room deploy professional video mixing facilities from Edirol and digital audio controls in the shape of the RSS V-Mixing system. Inside the Box there are remotely-operated cameras built in, ready to film the creative process. Edirol’s V-8 vision mixer will be used to combine these camera feeds with graphics to create a finished package.

There is only one more week left to see the installation at Royal Festival Hall. For more details and how to visit see southbankcentre.co.uk. Ends 31st August 2009.

See also Chris O’Shea’s “Youth Music Box – Making of” flickr set for more.


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