Skin Music: an audio-haptic composition

    Lauren Sarah Hayes - Skin Music

    Skin Music (2012) is an intimate work that explores the relationships between sound and physical sensation from the listener’s perspective. While a piece of music can touch us by arousing the emotions or triggering a memory, music also touches us physically, through vibrations in the air, which our ears perceive as sound, but which are felt, often subconsciously, by the entire body.
    To experience Skin Music, the audience member is asked to lie on a chaise longue. The piece begins and the music is transmitted through loudspeakers placed underneath the piece of furniture, and also through the listener’s body directly from the structure of the chair.
    Six vibration motors were embedded in the chair. By utilising the pulse-width modulation pins of an Arduino via Max/MSP, different intensities of targeted vibration can be felt. Additionally two tactile transducers were attached below the chair. These can deliver targeted low frequency audio signals (60-70 Hz) to the feet and spine areas. This allows for two main sources of tactile sensation to be used and combined within the piece. The piece is triggered when a participant sits in the chair. The audio plays via Max/MSP and a live haptic score runs in Max, sending out both various intensities to the vibration motors, as well as the low frequency audio signals to the bass shaker speakers.