Wii will rock you

UBC professor and students collaborate to make electronic music more human

Wii will rock you
CategoryFaculty
NameBob Pritchard
ProgramMusic
ActivitiesUBC Laptop Orchestra

Video killed the radio star, but UBC Music professor Bob Pritchard (above, third from left) thinks digital cameras and other gadgets might just save live electronic music.

Pritchard is using technologies that capture physical movement to transform the human body into a musical instrument.

Pritchard and the music and engineering students who make up the UBC Laptop Orchestra chalk up their desire for more human performance in digital music to attending one too many uninspiring laptop music sets. “Live electronic music can be a bit of an oxymoron,” says Pritchard, referring to artists gazing at their laptops and a heavy reliance on backing tracks during live sets.

The Laptop Orchestra is an extension of a music technology course at UBC’s School of Music. Comprised of 17 students from Arts, Science and Engineering, its members act as musicians, dancers, composers, programmers, and hardware specialists. They create adventurous electroacoustic music using programmed and acoustic instruments, including harp, piano, clarinet and violin.

Cross-disciplinary collaboration great preparation for the workplace

The unlikely pairing of members from different faculties is designed to better prepare students for workplaces that combine creative and technical professionals. The engineers come with expertise in programming and wireless systems and the musicians bring their performance and composition chops, and program code as well.

Taking the show on the road with Go Global and Arts Research Abroad

Earlier this year, the ensemble’s unique music took them to Europe. The class spent 10 days this February in Belgium where they collaborated and performed in concert with researchers at the University of Mons, a leading institution for research on gesture-tracking technology.

The Laptop Orchestra’s trip was sponsored by UBC’s Go Global and Arts Research Abroad, which together send hundreds of students on international learning experiences each year.

Dancing creates the music — not the other way around

In Belgium, the ensemble’s dancer Diana Brownie wore a body suit covered head-to-toe in motion sensors as part of a University of Mons research project on body movement.

The third-year Psychology student says the ensemble’s motion technology helps non-musical collaborators feel more part of the show. “As a dancer, the music typically dictates your movements,” Brownie says. “But with this, your dancing create the sounds – so it’s been a really great experience.”

Learn more and watch videos on the Laptop Orchestra’s blog.

 

Latest Stories

Previous
Danielle G UBC Okanagan Geography student

Pursuing a second degree in Human Geography

Danielle’s experiences as a Geography student UBC Okangan
student

Pursuing a second degree in Human Geography

"As someone who is interested in the humanities and social sciences, an Arts degree at UBC was perfect for me as it allowed me to broaden my knowledge through a variety of different classes, while gaining the necessary requirements for my career goals and graduate school." - Danielle G., Geography
Sophie H. on the Okanagan campus

Exploring cultural theory and social change

UBC Okanagan Arts student Sophie on the power of a Cultural Studies degree
student

Exploring cultural theory and social change

“It is one thing to identify what is wrong with this world, but it’s another to see how people are managing to live and finding joy within it. Because this is where the changes are happening.” - Sophie H., Cultural Studies

Choosing research in Nursing at UBC Okanagan

How Nursing student Dresya is tackling late detection of breast cancer to improve patient outcomes.
student

Choosing research in Nursing at UBC Okanagan

"The program pushes me to redefine what it means to be a 'nurse' daily. There has not been a day where I have not learned something new. Whether it is delving into the pathophysiology of a disease or acquiring a new clinical skill, the learning never stops. In my experience, the program at UBC Okanagan also understands the profound importance of people in nursing. It pushed me to look beyond mastering the scientific basis of nursing, and incorporate the patient's lived experiences into the care I provide." - Dresya D., BSN

Helping Indigenous communities through Nursing

How Ashley made the career change from marketing to nursing, with the aim of making a positive difference within the Indigenous community.
student

Helping Indigenous communities through Nursing

"Once I complete my schooling, my aim is to work closely within the Indigenous population. My passion lies in patient-centered care and ensuring cultural safety, and I'm eager to make a meaningful impact in these areas." - Ashley H., Bachelor of Science in Nursing

An artist's journey to building community

How UBC Okanagan Fine Arts student Ziv fosters community among UBC's international students as an International Peer
student

An artist's journey to building community

"As an International Peer, I aim to introduce the supportive and inclusive environment UBC has for new students to thrive in. I hope to foster a sense of community and belonging among the international student population, because building connections and relationships is crucial to a positive university experience." - Ziv W., Bachelor of Fine Arts

Having a blast getting to know UBC Vancouver

Bachelor of Science student Kayree on taking part in Jump Start Vancouver, Imagine Day and Collegia
student

Having a blast getting to know UBC Vancouver

"Jump Start helped me transition into university life by introducing me to people that took the same classes as me. The orientation leaders for Jump Start also did an amazing job touring us around UBC despite it being so big. I got used to the map of campus within a week." - Kayree R., Bachelor of Science

Getting ready for university

How Academic Essentials prepared Rajalakshmi for life at UBC Vancouver
student

Getting ready for university

"[Academic Essentials] was a great way to get a taste of university life and explore different aspects of academic work. I was able to see how the same content taught to me can be approached and understood in different ways. The feedback and support from the peers and mentors in the program helped me feel more confident in what I knew, while allowing me to learn and grow." - Rajalakshmi N., Bachelor of Applied Science

Finding confidence as a first-year student

How UBC Okanagan’s Orientations helped Soumil feel comfortable and confident before classes started
student

Finding confidence as a first-year student

“Jump Start was incredibly helpful in helping me to make friends before school began. Through the program, I was able to meet a lot of new people who were also incoming first-year students. We participated in a variety of activities and events together, which helped us to bond and get to know each other better. By the time classes started, I already had a solid group of friends who I could turn to for support and advice.” - Soumil C., BSc in Computer Science
next