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IF VI WAS IX: Roots and Branches | Experience Music Project (but how do they dust it?) | by AH in Pgh
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IF VI WAS IX: Roots and Branches | Experience Music Project (but how do they dust it?)

IF VI WAS IX: Roots and Branches” is a great starting point for visitors to begin their journey through EMP|SFM’s galleries and exhibitions, offering a dynamic, interactive, and historical journey into the origins and evolution of American popular music.


From the ancient Scottish melodies that eventually gave birth to folk music, to the "sweet home" Chicago blues, to the irreverence of punk rock, visitors receive an audio/visual tour of American musical roots and influences. Computer touch-screens equipped with earphones guide visitors through various musical permutations as live music, provided by the sculpture itself, plays in the background. Numerous customized robotic guitars attached to the sculpture play music on cue. Each customized guitar plays only one string at a time, so six guitars work together to create the sound of one chord—an effective mechanical metaphor for the way that musical styles and traditions have influenced one another throughout time.


About the technology:

More than 500 musical instruments and 30 computers were used to create “IF VI WAS IX: Roots and Branches.” The process began when short stretches of music were played into a computer by live musicians. These short segments of music were then organized by Trimpin into a continuous electronic composition, with notes assigned to specific instruments by what is called a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) platform. The computer activates a motor, the motor plucks the guitar string and the string makes the sound, much in the way that a player piano roll triggers the keys of a player piano.

The Artist and Creator: Trimpin

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Taken on April 3, 2008