The Robotic Orchestra, a creative collaboration between Interactive Media students from Wits Digital Arts, Music students from Wits Music, and a student from the Wits School of Electrical Engineering, had its first public performance in the Wits Amphitheatre on the evening of 17 November.
In front of a capacity audience, the Orchestra performed a recital of three pieces composed by Wits Music students.
Each of the instruments was "played" by a solenoid and the output collected by a microphone. One of the challenges of the work was the limited functionality of the solenoids which were not able to play different dynamics.
Interactive Media Masters students, Jans de Jager and Pauline Theart, explain the system to the external examiners.
The screen of the iMac, running MAX MSP, which was at the heart of the system. The Interactive Media students translated the Music students' compositions through MAX MSP. The data was fed into Arduino boards which, in turn, powered the solenoids operating the mechanical side of the system.
Interactive Media Masters student, Pauline Theart, operating the computer system.
The vibraphone, with five notes operated by solenoids. The limited musical range and tonal pallette of the orchestra was a compositional challenge for the Music students in the project.
The creative student team behind the successful premier of the Wits Robotic Orchestra.