Composer dubbed ‘King Canute’ performs music made from waves in a swimming pool

November 1, 2012 | by | 0 Comments

A composer dubbed ”King Canute” has become the first in the world to perform music created by waves – in a swimming pool.

Dr Alexis Kirke’s became a “giant baton” by covering himself with motion sensors that controlled the water in a swimming pool-like wave tank.

The more he moved his arms, the louder and more intense the music became – just like a normal conductor.

Dr Kirke, 42, used the sensors on his arms to manipulate the number and size of waves created by 24 giant paddles in the pool.

His movements controlled waves in the tank and gauges in the water then measured the water’s movements.

The gauges then sent electronic signals to a synthesizer which warped the music people could hear.

Raising his arms changed the pitch of the music while joysticks also enabled him to change the volume.

Dr Kirke’s “Orchestra of Waves”  was watched by hundreds of people at The University of Plymouth in Devon.

It was performed after The Duke of Edinburgh, who opened the university’s new £19m Marine Building which contains the 35m by 15m tank.

Dr Kirke – who says he has been nicknamed King Canute – has put together the 12-minute show with co-composer Samuel Freeman,

Dr Kirke said: “I told him I wanted to be like King Canute, controlling the waves.

“The show went very well and people in the audience were asking whether they could buy the music.

”You are in a building and hear the noise of the waves and the smell and see them crashing down.

“There’s no way of explaining what it’s like to have dramatic sounds synchronized with that.”

In the pool there was also a special buoy which made a sound like a deep bell ringing when hit by a wave.

The more the waves struck it, the more times the bells rang. Four students joined in with drumming.

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