Mental Music is a composing experiment which brings together art, science and technology. This intricate combination will enable to create compositions involving traditional and visual instruments, as well as an electroencephalograph. The novelty of this project lies in the method used to compose parts played with traditional instruments.
What did you create?
Mental Music is a composing experiment which brings together art, science and technology. This intricate combination will enable to create compositions involving traditional and visual instruments, as well as an electroencephalograph. The novelty of this project lies in the method used to compose parts played with traditional instruments. Those parts will be based on the musicians’ brain waves recording transferred onto stave with descriptions creating a graphic score, which will be performed during the final concert by each artist. Thanks to such composing method the composer creates a piece which is open to improvisation and enables to perform music abundant in countless reinterpretation shaped by both artists’ subconsciousness and creativity. In this sense the electroencephalograph as well as the instruments become tools for creativity and the whole experiment can be reduplicated by other musicians using different instruments. It can also involve the audience as their brainwaves could be recorded during the process of listening to the composition. Therefore, the whole performance is an open cycle expressing the flow of individuals’ creativity sparked by the composer’s initial idea. I have applied for scholarship from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in order to realise the project.
Why did you make it?
As an artist I am constantly experimenting searching for new ways of expression. I feel that traditional composing process as well as the constant focus on perfection of one’s performance which involves endless repetition of the same notes has exhausted itself leaving both musicians and audience as passive recipients. It became a rigid scheme that leaves little space for free improvisation and abstract thinking. I believe that inviting science in form of EEG could introduce unknown solutions and permeate the whole creative process with new meanings. I am also aware of the threat the technology poses as music programmes could substitute real musicians with their skills in the future. In my view Mental Music is an answer to that as it is not in opposition to technological advancement, but it brings together traditional and virtual instruments filtrating the whole composing process with subconscious brain wave activity subtly shaped by the composer and then loosely interpreted by the musicians. It expresses meaning through playing at a precise moment in time without practising beforehand. This performance could be the first step to transform composing by being a synthesis of individual’s creative need, freedom of expression and respect towards personal independence in art.
How did you make it?
I would like to explain the whole Mental Music project in points: 1. I will create a short piece of music that I call sketch using virtual instruments. 2. Musicians will listen to this sketch with the electroencephalograph on their heads. Then they will improvise to the sketch once again with the electroencephalograph on their heads. I decided to use the device twice in order to register any changes between ”passive” and ”active” listening. I was thinking about four musicians to begin with. 3. I will compare and analyze the data with a specialist from Copernicus Science Centre located in Warsaw. Then I will transfer each brain wave chart onto stave adding individual notes to subtly guide the musicians. Each musician is going to be presented with an individual graphic score before the final concert in order to get accustomed to the new music record. 4. During the final concert we will perform using the music scores composed earlier by me. The performance is based on loosely interpreted brain wave activity by means of free improvisation. There will be shared parts in which we will play the same notes added by me to the score.
Your entry’s specification
This project is a music performance in which I do not need to use any specific objects that would need description. Mental Music is an abstract concept not a physical one.