I am a first year PhD at the I School with an interest in augmented public spaces. Owen and I are potentially looking for a third member, ideally with a background in music.
Our current idea involve using tangible inputs to alter specific characteristics of music to intensify their capacity to induce chills/elicit an emotional response. In particular, we are interested in whether some kind of agency on the part of the listener can evoke a more intense emotional experience (since music typically is one-directional, from the composer/musician to the audience).
A simple idea would be to position 3 motion sensors in a darkened, enclosed space, and have each sensor modify a characteristic of the music (likely on an analog dimension). For instance, one sensor would change the relative loudness of the different voices (birdsong vs heavy strings vs. light strings), change the reverberation and atmospheric quality (in an echoing space), or alter the pitch or slow the beat of the music, etc. The quality of the music changes as the listener moves around the room, places his hand out, or if there are multiple participants in the room. Participants can “play” with the music by modifying their position and hand motions within the room.
Here is a piece by Andrew Bird we might start with: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbLIphmuBpo
The idea extends some work in a previous biosensors course with John Chuang – archival blog post available here: http://musiconthebrain15.blogspot.com/
If interested in chatting some more, email me at qchong(at)berkeley.edu or we can chat on Monday. 😀