DuoTube is an interactive online work using the YouTube video linked here as its score, the instrument, and fixed media. (Instructions on set up are in the video itself and below). It was inspired by flutist Robin Meiksins‘ interest in moving her YouTube channel toward more of a performance space.
Originally designed as a space for a single performer to play on their personal computer at home or elsewhere, it also can be performed in a concert space as a piece for one to many laptops (as many as can get on that space’s internet). Ideally, in either situation, it is a piece that can welcome people to performing on laptop or performing electronic music in general.
How to set up DuoTube:
Create two browser windows, each with this link. With two windows of the video open, one is allowed to play as normal with the performance instructions in the upper left corner. With the other window selected, each performer uses their computer keyboard’s number keys to manipulate the video. To play it, start the left video and allow to play as normal. As the left video’s score shows different numbers (corresponding to the number keys on your keyboard) select the right side video and press those numbers. This should allow the right side video to be played as an instrument. (It will look approximately like this).
Here is a live example of DuoTube with an ensemble of five people from November 2019 at University of Illinois:
Here is a short clip of DuoTube being played by Monash Electronic Music Ensemble at the 2019 TENOR Conference (International Conference on Technologies for Music Notation and Representation):
Concert Staging Suggestions:
DuoTube can be staged with people who have a variety of comfort levels with music technology. Typically, a lead laptop’s screen and audio are projected and sent through house audio. In addition to playing the piece as described above, the project screen’s left window is used by all of the performers as the score. Their left window audio is the fixed media of the piece. The remaining laptop performers can play paced out throughout the concert hall and/or on stage using their laptop speakers.
Generally, participants figure out DuoTube in about 10 minutes or less (especially with gentle coaching). It can be scaled from one performer up to however many computers with wifi are available in the space. In the past year it has been played by high school students, college-level ensembles, festival attendees, music majors, and other groups. With notice, festival attendees tend to have laptops and are able to jump in to play the piece.
A lead performer sets their laptop as described above and has their laptop screen projected and their audio sent through the house speakers. (As mentioned earlier, with two browser windows open, the left window would be played from start to finish, as the score and fixed media part. They would use the right window as an interactive instrument following the score). All other performers would follow the projected score and have a single window of the YouTube video open, playing it as an instrument.
The resulting music is a gentle, percolating cloud that moves in duet with the fixed media flute part. Because of the ability to add as many performers as you would like to it, the small differences in their timing, and the occasional differences in how the wifi renders the gestures, the performance is somewhat different each time. That is part of the fun.
(Please feel free to contact me directly with questions or about other ideas for staging.)