In corporeal time

The body. The musical score. An exploration of the pulses of musicians and audience, their incorporeal and in corporeal rhythms during improvisational music


Educational module:

The project was offered as a part of the master level module, MUTP302 Music improvisation in music therapy, Integrated Master in Music Therapy, The Grieg Academy, Univeristy of Bergen, Norway

See Publications for a full list of publications and talks

Project inertia

Building on the earlier project titled In visible hands, the project "In corporeal time", provides another example of research projects that question the sole nature of the visible, and asks if time is experiencable as an incorporeal form through music, how might this be informed through the simultaneously happening core body rhythm of the human heart. The project asks what happens when we consider more than one aspect of time when musicians and audiences are engaged with improvised music.

Project description

Five students take on their role of active musicians and five students are'their' audience. All ten students are provided with a Polar H7 heart rate monitor belt which are linked via Bluetooth to an Apple iPad running the Polar Team App to capture their heart rates. If the group is large than ten, the additional students carry out the roles of researchers and research technicians by choice. The heart rates of those with heart rate monitor belts are registered whilst listening to a short improvisation by the 'musicians'. There is no instruction to the musicians, they may choose if, and how to prepare verbally prior to the improvisation. In addition to the heart rates, the improvisation is recorded on multi-camera video and audio recording.
After the improvisation, all members of the session are involved in a discussion of the research experiences, data, and a list of all hypothetic links between the data is collated and questioned in terms of ontology, rationale and argumentation, and if possible presentation of any supporting literature for any one of the singular perspectives. The aim of the reflection is to highlight the multiplicity of understanding, portraying, narrating and materialising a research project.

Project innovation

This project allows students to engage with advanced research technology in a simple and straightforward way. Importantly the project also allows the students to build on their pre-existing and pre-eminent skills and to engage with technology in a phenomenologically informed stance.
By combining advanced and consumer hardware and software, this project also engcourages a consideration of the nature of the effects of equipment and programming on researcher choices during the design of a research project.

What this project adds

The project excites the imagination of the many, many ways in which humans can be considered to have connections - with another, their surroundings and the living and non-living matter of which they are inseparable.

By maintaining a focus on live music improvisation this project remains close to active music practices and reminds about the experience of music making even though the data of the project is of multiple natures, numeric, narrative, visual, aural and physiological.

Below: Selected images of the equipment used in this project.

Example images

For more information about the software and hardware used in this project visit the Polar website.