Colour Music

by Ensemble Metatone

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Interweaving percussive gesture with electronic sound, Colour Music is a selection of works that seek to redefine how music can be made with touch-screen computers. The seven tracks include the results of a formal study of improvisation on three different iPad interfaces and notated compositions for iPad and percussion. This collection of Ensemble Metatone’s performances on touchscreen interfaces mirrors the formal explorations of percussion instruments initiated by composers such as John Cage in the first half of the 20th Century, an investigation that is made explicit by the group’s performance of Cage's Trio for 7 woodblocks, first on the original blocks, and then on iPads.

The tracks were recorded live at the ANU Drill Hall Gallery during the "Colour Music” exhibition. The catalogue for this exhibition notes that it features the work of visual artists who "speculate on connections between pictorial form and pitch, harmony, movement and musical notation” (Tony Oates, 2014). By improvising with the touchscreen interfaces of the iPads, Ensemble Metatone actively participates in this process; the apps’ visual interfaces are informed by percussion gesture and sonic affordance, but these interfaces also inform the individual and ensemble performances.

About Ensemble Metatone:

Ensemble Metatone was founded in 2013 by Charles Martin to explore percussive performance on custom-developed iPad apps. Following a successful series of research-focussed recording sessions, and a debut self-titled release, the group has performed at Electrofringe, Canberra’s You Are Here festival, and in galleries and pop-up venues.

Recorded Live at the ANU Drill Hall Gallery, 2014-08-24.

Includes digital scores for Gesture Study No. 1 and Correspondences in PDF format.


released November 2, 2015

iPads and percussion: Charles Martin, Christina Hopgood, Jonathan Griffiths, Yvonne Lam.
Software development: Charles Martin

Special Thanks: Tony Oates + ANU Drill Hall Gallery



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Charles Martin Canberra, Australia

Charles Martin is a specialist in percussion, computer music and interactive media from Canberra, Australia. His music explores formal structures from computing and logic situated in the context of percussive gesture and timbre. He links percussion with electroacoustic music and other media through new interactive technologies. ... more

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