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Mus~ync
Musically motivated experiences

Author: Haraldur Unnarsson (Iceland)
Supervisors: Neil Churcher and Yaniv Steiner

Idea/problem/context Music reaches beyond the borders of language, effortlessly touching most of humanity, regardless of gender or race. What once could only be experienced live, mostly in the concert hall or by performing it oneself, was over the last century made constantly accessible through the gramophone, radio and, recently, networked and portable devices. Despite music’s ubiquity, however, its role as an accompaniment to other activities – marching to battle, hoeing fields, repetitive tasks in kitchen and workshop – has been forgotten. This project aims to revive that use of music to focus our attention on our everyday activities.

What it is A golf ball, perfectly hit, makes a ‘sweet’ sound. A perfect ski turn sounds unmistakably satisfying. Similarly, Mus~ync, a musical interface, playfully rewards you by making a ‘right’ sound when you do something ‘right’ – and vice versa.

How it works When you perform an everyday action like brushing teeth, cooking or driving, Mus~ync reads your movements through sensors and plays your favourite music from your music library. False or inattentive movements, however, distort your favourite tracks; you must therefore correct your action, listening carefully to the music until it sounds right again. Your body’s actions are mentally visualized and critiqued through music – your music.

Value/Potential The eye is the primary channel through which our performance in most tasks is controlled. So using text or images to ‘tutor’ our performance can overload our ability to absorb visual information, This project shows how the ear, the neglected channel in human-machine interaction, can convey information through something as pleasant, easily assimilable and potentially playful as music. Music becomes the humble master we learn from.

download QuickTime Movie (video by Andrea Pierri) - 1.66 MB


Haraldur Unnarsson
2005 graduate
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