Considering musical structure in location-based experiences

Hazzard, Adrian and Benford, Steve and Chamberlain, Alan and Greenhalgh, Chris

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Locative music experiences are often non-linear and as such they are co-created, as the final arrangement of the music heard is guided by the movements of the user. We note an absence of principles and guidelines regarding how composers should approach the structuring of such locative soundtracks. For instance, how does one compose for a non-linear, indeterminate experience using linear pre-composed placed sounds, where fixed musical time is situated into the indeterminate time of the user’s experience? Furthermore, how does one create a soundtrack that is suitable for the location, but also functions as a coherent musical structure? We explore these questions by analyzing an existing ‘placed sound’ work from a traditional music theory perspective and in doing so reveal some structural principals from ‘fixed’ musical forms can also support the composition of contemporary locative music experiences.