Nye Parry

contemporary sound and music

Ludus

Ludus was a lot of fun. It was the 2009 Rawsthorn commission for the Colourscape festival on Clapham Common. Colourscape is an amazing structure in which visitors walk around and experience the fascinating mixtures of coloured light filtering through the canvas walls. The structure is owned by the Nettlefold Trust who run it as a music venue for contemporary music. I had been struck by the similarity of a map of the structure to the layout of board games like Ludo and decided to devise musical games that could be played by two groups of musicians by throwing dice. Four games were devised with different rules and different musical materials. The throw of dice could generate the spatial structure of the pieces by determining the moves of the players. Decisions about the way the musical materials were treated was linked both to the numbers thrown and the colours the musicians landed in. An additional technological element was added (of course) with the two team captains carrying colour sensors that fed back to a central computer using wireless MIDI. Thus the colours influenced the spatial diffusion of the sound as well as the balance of various electronic materials and effects.
The game was originally played by the Apollo Saxophone Quartet and the Navarino Saxophone Quartet. It was also performed as the finale to the Colourscape residency at the 2011 Capital of Culture in Turku, Finland with local musicians.

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