Mobile Technology Joins Music, Poetry And Audience In Innovative New Recording

Written by Jennifer Hambrick / WOSU Radio

Composer and sound artist Matthew Burtner says he understands the sound of snow.

“Growing up in Alaska, the sound of snow is what really got me into computer music,” said Burtner —professor of composition and computer technologies and chair of the McIntire Department of Music at the University of Virginia — in a recent phone interview. “I just understand the sound of snow really well, and I’ve used it in my music for a long time.”

Snow is the first thing you hear in The Ceiling Floats Away, an innovative work of texted electroacoustic music Burtner created with Akron native and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove. Ravello Records released the first commercial recording of the work earlier this year.

The Ceiling Floats Away joins Dove’s recitations of her poetry, backed by Burtner’s original chamber music compositions with “bridges” of audio created from audience-generated feedback translated by Burtner’s own mobile software application, called NOMADS.

“The main idea is that the audience is engaged with the work through mobile technology,” Burtner said.

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P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176

Email: music@virginia.edu