Musical Chairs: From Spectator to Stage (to be renamed “Toccata”) is an app for touchscreen devices where users watch, listen, and interact with previously recorded live performances. Using typical gestures such as pinch-to-zoom, and panning (as one would with a photograph) users are then able to select and focus on specific performers or instruments. This enables users to isolate specific audio and visual aspects of a musical performance; in essence, listening to the piece of music however they wish. If one zooms into the bassoon, that particular sound is isolated while the performance continues. There are additional features already included in the app, and many more that are being added as a direct result of the $50,000 Western Innovation Fund.
The project began several years ago with Mike Godwin and Dr. Leslie Linton in the Don Wright Faculty of Music, who were then connected with Dr. Mike Katchabaw and Justin Doyle in the Department of Computer Science. Shortly after, Dr. Natalie Sudzy of Western Research, and Jonathan Deeks of WORLDiscoveries joined the team. Once a prototype was ready, it began a development phase where presentation and feedback was gained through various audiences across Canada and at conferences around the world; New York, Brazil, and Los Angeles to name a few.
The Musical Chairs team is very excited about the Western Innovation Fund of $50,000 (administered through the Department of Computer Science) because of the resources that are now available. This will have a direct impact on the the growth and development of the app to reach its market potential while also providing valuable research opportunities on how people listen and interact with music.
The app is now in a beta-testing phase, where remote and local participants are using the app, and it will soon be available to the public. More information on the app can be found here: http://toccatina.ca/.