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HEART CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

November 20, 2010

The Heart Chamber Orchestra uses the heart beats of its 12 constituent musicians to generate a musical score in real time which they then play.

Musicians are always saying that their compositions ‘come from the heart’, but in the case of the Heart Chamber Orchestra (HCO), this is literally true.

The orchestra uses the heart beats of its 12 constituent musicians to generate a musical score in real time which they then play.

The HCO comprises of 12 classical musicians and the artist duo Eric BergerandPure from audiovisual company Terminalbeach.

The orchestra starts out with no musical score. The musicians wear ECG sensors and a computer monitors the state of the 12 hearts in real time.  Software analyses the data and generates (in real time) a musical score which changes depending on their heart rates. This musical score is displayed on a screen in front of each of the musicians for them to play.

While the musicians are playing, their heartbeats influence and change the composition and vice versa, creating a virtuous — or should I say “virtuoso” — circle.

The heartbeats are not only audible but also visible through computer graphics generated from the ECG data. The unique animated visual representations of the heartbeats are projected onto a huge screen behind the orchestra. This allows for what the HCO describes as a “synaesthetic experience for the audience”.

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