Rae, a PhD student in Composition, travels to Abu Dhabi

Tacit Group held workshops and performances on 11 and 12 November in The Arts Centre at New York University Abu Dhabi. I have been a Tacit Group member from 2011 and this time, I participated as a main computer operator and a sound technician. Tacit was invited by NYU Abu Dhabi and we were treated extremely hospitably by the NYU.

Picture2Abu Dhabi is the capital of UAE but it has a quite short history. It started to be developed just decades ago and since that time, fabulous buildings and enormous educational facilities have been built to invest in the UAE’s future. NYU Abu Dhabi is one of them. The university is considered one of the world’s most competitive universities for admission accepts only about 0.9 percent of total applicants. Harvard accepts 7 percent.


NYU Abu Dhabi students can take advantage of lots of benefits; first, the school is equipped with excellent modern facilities to promote students’ well-being, and the quality of life. All students can win a full scholarship, accommodation as well as an round-trip air ticket which enables students to visit their hometown twice a year. As a electroacoustic music major, when I looked around the facilities of studio and classrooms, I envied their privilege that they can freely use the most cutting-edge equipment and devices.

To return, we ran workshops and performances three times. At the workshops, we presented our philosophies, methods of composition and approaches to sound. Especially, Game Over and Six Pacmen, Tacit’s repertoires that used rules of classic games such as Tetris and Pacman, were well received by the students. in C and Drumming by Terry Riley and Steave Reich, Tacit has recreated in its own style, were the highlights of the performance.


Tacit Group consists of 6 players and a main computer operator. The players control values through their laptops and then the values were sent to a server, the main computer through network calls OSC (Open Sound Control). Finally, the server makes sounds and visual output using data from the players. For example, the original piece of Drumming is for percussion and voice, but Tacit Group has changed it into electronic sounds and visualised the scores in a geometrical way. Players perform their own parts by controlling values such as amplitude, tone and speed like a percussionist. As a computer can control the values in full detail, the audience could listen to music different from that performed by humans. When it comes to Game Over, it involves the classic game Tetris. The computer generates melody according to the shape of laid blocks as six players compete against one another. As we perform, the game board becomes the music score in real time.

The tour schedule was very intensive but I experienced a special right as an artist which enables me to become part of the audience who had different nationalities and backgrounds. If I were not an artist, I could never experience it ever.


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