Sound, Space & Interaction – Dancer vs Music

Have you ever experienced when you are nightclub that you become one with the music? You think you are dancing to the music, but maybe the music follows your rhythm. Everything is one, you certainly do not have to think about following the rhythm, it flows out of you.

This work ‘Dancer vs. Music’ is an interaction between a music rhythm and the rhythm of a dancer. The music is created with alternating snare and bass sounds. The rhythm is randomly chosen between 600 and 1400 milliseconds, after which the snare sounds, after a delay of half this random number, the bass sounds. This will create a rhythm between 84 and 200 beats per minute. The rhythm of the dancer is followed by an application (GyrOSC for iOS) that measures horizontal movements with a compass. When standing southwards and moving your phone from left to right, a dance rhythm is created. We measure the average rhythm with ‘maxlib’ every 10 occasions. If this dance rhythm is similar to the rhythm of the music, determined by checking if the rhythm is within a divergence of 200, the music rhythm will change into a new randomly chosen rhythm to follow for the dancer.

After a randomly chosen time between 10 and 20 seconds, the music rhythm will adapt to the rhythm of the dancer. That is, for a randomly chosen time between 5 and 10 seconds, the music rhythm will conform to the rhythm of the dancer. The rhythm of the dancer is determined by measuring the last 4 movements with maxlib average. We used an ‘else/selector’ to transfer the dancer’s rhythm to the music rhythm generator. After this delay between 5 and 10 seconds, a bang is send for the music to create a new rhythm again.

This way, an interesting interaction will develop, where sometimes the music will guide the dancer, and sometimes the dancer will guide the music.

For further applications, it would be an addition to this interface if the phone could give some feedback that, for example, the dancer is dancing in the rhythm of the music, or that the rhythm of the music is now following the dancer. This could be by, for example, vibration of the phone. We chose not to give this feedback by sound, because this would interfere with the symbioses between the rhythm of the music and dance.

The collaboration process between the developers of Dancer vs. Music, Melle and Marthe, went very smooth. We were both enthusiastic about this project, and have contributed the same amount of effort into it.