Networked_Music_Review

Live Stage: Music for Flesh II [uk Edinburgh]

xth-sense_inspace.jpgMusic for Flesh II by Marco Donnarumma :: March 15, 2011; 8:00 pm :: Inspace, 1 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AB.

As a part of our Non-Bio Boom season we are delighted to host a new work development residency by Marco Donnarumma, with Brendan F Doyle (Production Sound Engineering). The residency will conclude with two concerts over the course of one evening for bio-sensing wearable technologies.

The first concert will include Music for Flesh II, a new solo piece by Marco Donnarumma; the second concert will be the premiere of a multi-channel work specifically created by the artist for Inspace, which will actively involve the audience in an augmented Cagean Musicircus.

Xth Sense is an ongoing research project which investigates experimental applications of Open Source based, bio-sensing technologies for musical performance and responsive milieux. The Xth Sense software framework is implemented in Pure Data.

Marco Donnarumma is a performer, new media and sonic artist currently interested in critical analysis and development of experimental paradigms for embodied interaction in performative environments.

More about Music for Flesh II

Music for Flesh II is a solo sonic piece for augmented muscles sounds, which aims at demonstrating an experimental coupling between theatrical gesture and biological sounds of human body.

Composition was developed as a first milestone of the Xth Sense project, a broader ongoing research which investigates exploratory applications of biophysical sound design for musical performance and responsive milieux. The long-term outcome is the implementation of low cost, open source tools (software and hardware) capable of providing musicians, performers and dancers with a framework for biosensors-aided auditive design in a real time environment; such framework will be re-distributable, customizable and easy to set up.

Presently Xth Sense technology consists of a low-cost, biosensing wearable hardware device and a Pure Data-based framework for capture, analysis and real time processing of biological sounds of the body.

In Music for Flesh II the only musical instrument available to the performer is his own body. Performer’s voluntary muscles contractions produce kinetic energy, an acoustic sound which is captured by the biosensor and deployed as only sonic source. At the same time the biological signal undergoes a feature extraction which provides control parameters for the real time processing of muscles sounds.

Performer uses his body not only as a controller, but, more importantly, also as a truly real musical instrument; he is capable to actually creates music in real time exciting his muscles fibres.

Such paradigm attempts at informing classical gestural control of music and musical performance itself. During the execution both performer and listeners can perceive an authentic auditive and cognitive intimacy; the neat and natural responsiveness of the system prompts a suggestive and unconventional coupling of sound and gestures.

One of the major aims of the design of Music for Flesh II was to avoid a perception of the sound being dissociated from the performer’s gesture. The dissociation I point at does not only refer to the visual feedback of performer’s actions being disjointed from the sonic experience, but it also concerns a metaphorical level affecting the listener’s interpretation of the sounds generated by the performer’s somatic behaviour. Therefore, chosen sound processing techniques were evaluated according to their capability of enhancing the metaphorical interpretation of performer’s physiological behaviour.

Additional Information

The use of open source technologies is an integral aspect of the research. The biosensing wearable device was designed and implemented by Marco Donnarumma, with the support of Edinburgh Hacklab, Andrea Donnarumma and Marianna Cozzolino. The Pure Data-based framework for real time analysis and processing of biological sounds was designed and coded by the author on a Linux machine, with inspiring advice by Martin Parker, Sean Williams, Owen Green and Andy Farnell.

Below you can view a live recording of the performance at The University of Edinburgh, UK, March 2001.
Music for Flesh II, for solo performer Marco Donnarumma (Xth Sense biosensing technology).

Music for Flesh II – solo piece for Xth Sense biosensing wearable device from Marco Donnarumma aka TheSAD on Vimeo.


Mar 15, 2011
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Networked_Music_Review (NMR) is a research blog that focuses on emerging networked musical explorations.

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