welcome, new-music traveler
This composition is the latest evolution of symphonist Keith Lay’s “Distance Music,” series: an exploration of live immersive music where audiences freely walk through a geometrically organized field of 18 simultaneous musical sources. It is a large-scale outdoor concert environment where distances between the locations of those sources are equivalent to the distance required for sound to travel in subdivisions of the music’s tempo. In Distance Music, musical rhythms are measured in feet, and distances are measured in milliseconds and note values. By walking and listening during a performance, audiences walk through the parking lot and discover the many locations where musical time and geometric space intersect.
Keith Lay’s invention of radio-controlled train horns and glockenspiels that he calls “sounders” and metronomes to synchronize conductors makes it possible.
Distance Music began in 2012 with a stirring fanfare of radio-synchronized brass musicians perched on the tops of downtown buildings of Orlando.The first large-scale attempt using radio-controlled train horns occured in 2014 at Lake Eola from a navy of swan boats. For this concert, a composition of brilliant brass, thrilling rhythms, and rich harmonies will fill the air from six points on a 961 ft. symbol of overlapping circles called “the Flower of Life. “The beautiful spatial proportions of its sacred geometry will create unique rhythm patterns with the same proportions. This event will feature Mr. Lay at the central controls, the Brass Band of Central Florida, three conductors, and six radio-controlled train horn-glockenspiel sounders.
This page is a living document of the development and mounting of the new Distance Music project called “Distance Music @ Full Sail FS4” scheduled for March 2, 2024. THIS DATE MAY CHANGE.
Ticket Price: FREE
Parking: FREE (in Full Sail Building 3 parking lot, a short walking distance just north adjacent of the event)
Learn more about Distance Music and how it works:
- The superb Brass Band of Central Florida, an English style brass band. BBCF has competed regularly in the Championship Section of the North American Brass Band Championships (NABBA) and the US Open, winning NABBA in 2005 and the US Open on 4 occasions.
They have also appeared once at the British Open Brass Band Championships and three times at the Brass in Concert Championship, gaining 2nd Prize in 2011.
Distance Music Tech:
A Distance Organ comprising of six Sounder apparatuses.
Each apparatus is built on a wheeled cylinder dolly and houses one pitch of a Nathan AirChime train horn and, new for this event, one bar of an antique Leedy orchestral glockenspiel (thanks go to Mark Goldberg, percussionist with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, who is loaning me the needed bars).
Each sounder is over 9 feet tall and weighs over 200 lbs
Train Horns are powered by 304 cu. feet of Breathable Air stored in a steel cylinder at 2500 psi
After being regulated to 75psi, gas is allowed to enter and sound the train horn through a Parker Pneumatics Poppet solenoid valve.
The glockenspiel is fastened to the apparatus with a 3D printed frame and sounded by the piston of a push/pull solenoid.
Both of the solenoids and the telemetry circuitry are powered by a 12v lithium-ion battery
The custom-designed Pribusin Telemetry uses an ISM band of digital radio, transmitted from a master radio mounted in the composer’s backpack, also powered by a Lithium-Ion battery. The system boasts a 2 mile range and responds in 10 milliseconds or less.
A hex code is broadcast by the composer containing all ON/OFF instruction data for the radios in real time.
That code enters via USB from a Mac laptop containing two applications: Logic Pro notation and Max8. The sequence controlling the entire production is composed in Dorico Pro. Then it is compiled into LogicPro. At the concert, the laptop, with the Logic sequence plays the data to Max through an internal bus. Max programming interprets the MIDI and converts it into serial data that the telemetry is coded to respond to.
Sounders and musicians are accurately placed at the concert location using Trimble Catalyst DA2 GPS/GNSS hardware and software using latitude and longitude numbers from the design stage using a Unity-based simulation application created by Christopher Lay.
How to make sense of these videos: The white guy with big ears is you, the Listener. This Unity game engine software you’re seeing simulates what the sound/music will be if all of the horns (the colored downward pointing cones) play at the same moment. The horns are set upon intersection points of multiple sets of concentric circles. When activated, each horn emits a dim, quickly expanding circular sound wave moving at the speed of sound (according to the desired temperature). When each horn sound wave passes the Listener, you hear a sample of the train horn note.
- — 00:00 DM1, built on 2 circle-sets with 112.8ft as the first radius and Primary Interval (PI). Train Horns C4, Eb, F, Gb, A, Bb, D Interesting rhythms here, but, would be difficult for musicians to play to.
- 01:07 DM2, 2 circle-sets, with a larger 174.91ft Primary Interval (PI). Tried to get a large hemisphere shaped array with a center point that would allow a Listener to hear every horn that fires simultaneously. However, outside that center point, the rhythms are again, too complex to play in sync with.
- 01:49 DM3 Two circle-sets with a125ft PI. Another attempt at a useable hemispherical array of sounders. Same issues as DM2
- 02:33 DM4 The most attractive yet. Two circle-sets of 125ft PI, but placing the sounders on various PI points of intersection (I call these primary interval points or PIPs). Lots of common distances that are in simple ratios – which translates into METER.
- 03:25 DM5 Also attractive. Like DM4 except for different choices of PIPs and some pitch changes: Eb is now E. Bb is now B.