Dinosaur Choir: Designing for Scientific Exploration, Outreach, and Experimental Music

Courtney D Brown, Thomas Dudgeon, and Cezary Gajewski

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

  • Year: 2023
  • Location: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Track: Work in Progress
  • Pages: 525–530
  • Article Number: 73
  • PDF link

Abstract:

Lambeosaurine hadrosaurs are duck-billed dinosaurs. Scientists hypothesize that their large, bony crests which encapsulate complicated, hollow nasal passages function as resonators for vocal calls. This paper discusses the work-in-process, Dinosaur Choir, which recreates these vocal capabilities as musical skull instruments. The skull and nasal passages are fabricated based on Computed Topology (CT) scans of hadrosaur skulls, and larynx design is informed by scientific research. Musicians and participants voice the instruments by blowing into a mouthpiece or microphone, and a larynx mechanism creates the sound in response, which is then resonated through the nasal passages. The instruments are intended both for interactive exhibition and for on-going musical performance practice. Dinosaur Choir aims to give life to the voices of dinosaurs, allowing an embodied experience with extinct animals long lost to the past. This paper focuses on the development of the first musical instrument in the series, based on an adult Corythosaurus skull. We consider how scientific research as well as musical and practical concerns impact the design process and what trade-offs must be contemplated and made in order to achieve our aims of dinosaurian embodied sound.

Citation:

Courtney D Brown, Thomas Dudgeon, and Cezary Gajewski. 2023. Dinosaur Choir: Designing for Scientific Exploration, Outreach, and Experimental Music. Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. DOI:

BibTeX Entry:

  @article{nime2023_73,
 abstract = {Lambeosaurine hadrosaurs are duck-billed dinosaurs. Scientists hypothesize that their large, bony crests which encapsulate complicated, hollow nasal passages function as resonators for vocal calls. This paper discusses the work-in-process, Dinosaur Choir, which recreates these vocal capabilities as musical skull instruments. The skull and nasal passages are fabricated based on Computed Topology (CT) scans of hadrosaur skulls, and larynx design is informed by scientific research. Musicians and participants voice the instruments by blowing into a mouthpiece or microphone, and a larynx mechanism creates the sound in response, which is then resonated through the nasal passages. The instruments are intended both for interactive exhibition and for on-going musical performance practice. Dinosaur Choir aims to give life to the voices of dinosaurs, allowing an embodied experience with extinct animals long lost to the past. This paper focuses on the development of the first musical instrument in the series, based on an adult Corythosaurus skull. We consider how scientific research as well as musical and practical concerns impact the design process and what trade-offs must be contemplated and made in order to achieve our aims of dinosaurian embodied sound.},
 address = {Mexico City, Mexico},
 articleno = {73},
 author = {Courtney D Brown and Thomas Dudgeon and  Cezary Gajewski},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression},
 editor = {Miguel Ortiz and Adnan Marquez-Borbon},
 issn = {2220-4806},
 month = {May},
 numpages = {6},
 pages = {525--530},
 title = {Dinosaur Choir: Designing for Scientific Exploration, Outreach, and Experimental Music},
 track = {Work in Progress},
 url = {http://nime.org/proceedings/2023/nime2023_73.pdf},
 year = {2023}
}