Running up Blueberry Hill: prototyping whole body interaction in Harmony Space

S Holland, Paul Marshall, Jon Bird, SN Dalton, R Morris, N Pantidi, Yvonne Rogers, A Clark
in TEI '09 Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction, Conference paper (text)


Musical harmony is considered to be one of the most abstract and technically difficult parts of music. It is generally taught formally via abstract, domain-specific concepts, principles, rules and heuristics. By contrast, when harmony is represented using an existing interactive desktop tool, Harmony Space, a new, parsimonious, but equivalently expressive, unified level of description emerges. This focuses not on abstract concepts, but on concrete locations, objects, areas and trajectories.

This paper presents a design study of a prototype version of Harmony Space driven by whole body navigation, and characterizes the new opportunities presented for the principled manipulation of chord sequences and bass lines. These include: deeper engagement and directness; rich physical cues for memory and reflection, embodied engagement with rhythmic time constraints; hands which are free for other simultaneous activities (such as playing a traditional instrument); and qualitatively new possibilities for collaborative use.