Vocal Vibrations: A Multisensory Experience of the Voice

Holbrow, Charles and Jessop, Elena and Kleinberger, Rebecca

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Vocal Vibrations is a new project by the Opera of the Future group at the MIT Media Lab that seeks to engage the public in thoughtful singing and vocalizing, while exploring the relationship between human physiology and the resonant vibrations of the voice. This paper describes the motivations, the technical implementation, and the experience design of the Vocal Vibrations public installation. This installation consists of a space for reflective listening to a vocal composition (the Chapel) and an interactive space for personal vocal exploration (the Cocoon). In the interactive experience, the participant also experiences a tangible exteriorization of his voice by holding the ORB, a handheld device that translates his voice and singing into tactile vibrations. This installation encourages visitors to explore the physicality and expressivity of their voices in a rich musical context.