Third City project

Aveyard, Jon orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0063-6848 and Wilkinson, Dan orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1747-888X (2018) Third City project. De Gruyter. (Unpublished)

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The subject of this collaboration between Dr. Jon Aveyard and Dan Wilkinson is the relationship between acoustic and digital musical instruments (DMIs) using live sampling in improvisation. This practice-based research took place in Preston, 2016-2018, leading to multiple performances, record releases, conference presentations and journal publication.

The research is framed by a consideration of the affordances and limitations offered by acoustic and digital instruments as identified through literature review, particularly Magnusson and Hurtado Mendieta (2007). The Third City research argues that using different acoustic instruments and different audio paths to link the acoustic instrument and DMI leads to different improvisational roles being adopted by the performers, and that some of the perceived limitations of DMIs can be mitigated against through the use of live sampling.

Furthermore, an acoustic-digital hybrid instrument was developed with which samples, when selected on the DMI, were only triggered when sounds from the acoustic instrument surpassed a given intensity meaning performer co-operation could lead to timbrally different but rhythmically synchronised musical events, acoustic and digital together. The research identified additional ways in which this hybridisation could overcome perceived limits of DMIs and that the hybrid made far more apparent in the performance the performers’ use of co-operation and blocking (i.e. a chosen absence of co-operation by one performer).

The significance of the research, therefore, is in engaging with the implications of using acoustic and digital instruments linked by live sampling in improvisational performance practice, and in the development of an acoustic-digital hybrid whose need for performer co-operation to trigger samples adds to the perceivable performer dynamic.

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