nebulae for harp, live electronics & video

Technical Note

The piece requires a G4 Macintosh or faster running Cycling 74’s Max/MSP. The harp is miked into a mixer, which the computer patches into as an effects loop. MSP software patches and sound files, as well as detailed instructions for the computer operator, are available from the composer. The video component of the work requires the harpist to wear a strong-colored wristband on the left hand, or a wristband with a small battery light on it; a videocamera onstage tracks the wristband and uses this motion-tracking data to control a live video animation in Jitter, running on a separate computer, projected onto a screen behind the performer.

Screenshot of the main Max patch:


The Jitter patch works as a kind of "magic screensaver": the patch by itself will present a series of drifting, animated paintings. But when a videocamera (or simply mouse control) is hooked into the patch, then the direction of the moving image, as well as its color intensity, are determined by the motion of the harpist's hand on the strings. On the high-register strings the image is brighter; in the low register, the image becomes dark red and blue. Both the Max and Jitter patches are cpu-hungry, so the piece really needs two computers, one each for the audio and video.

screenshot of the Jitter patch:

Last updated October 12, 2008 by Stephen Andrew Taylor,