A Door To The Past

University of York students Beau Stocker (PhD Music), Katie Campbell (MSc Digital Heritage) and Ben Eyes (MA Music Technology) combine their work of improvised music, live electronics and 3D visual modelling to present an improvised music performance that explores concepts surrounding the Recusant period in York. The acoustic characteristics of each key historical space are captured through the use of acoustic impulse responses. Each piece of music is then informed by, and will reflect, the sound footprint of that particular space. Alongside this technology, Katie’s work with photography and 3D modelling will offer a visual representation of the relevant historic events that took place in each location. The free performance on Friday 20th November will take place in King’s Manor, a building which plays a role in the story.


Rehearsal four and five

  • IMAG0203    Margaret Clitheroe's house
  • Katie and I went to the Shambles in York to record a “typical Saturday night” in hopes that it would be representative of the 1500s, albeit with varying modern technological sounds, and from the resulting video recordings I put together an audio piece to use as an interlude entitled “shambles ramble” (Thank you Richard and Ivanna)
  • after the open rehearsal we reviewed our recordings and videos of the work to date, resulting in the need to practise “part 4” – which we did… the use of synth instead of guitar for this contrasts the other pieces as well, the music also developed an “uplifting” feel to it – which tends to be a good thing to end on
  • cues, buttons, pictures, hitty things, plucky things, videos, adjectives and nouns all came together in a synchronized conglomeration of so unds and visuals…  what we think anyway, of course the next rehearsal and subsequent performance will have their own versions

Open rehearsal

  • Margaret's statue
  • The process up to now: story of Margaret Clitheroe and Recusancy in York came from Izzy Bartley (fireflyheritage.com, @FireflyHeritage) who worked at the Bar Convent on a research placement as part of her MA in Cultural Heritage Management at the University of York. Bartley was inspired by these stories and wanted to raise awareness of them in the community and therefore assisted in the beginnings of this project, by passing them on to us.
  • We have used the acoustic properties of the buildings and themes from this story to inspire the music as well as visuals.

                         The open rehearsal:

  • It was daunting having an audience in the room while rehearsing, but it was also really useful in prodding us into “performance ready” poise
  • After the rehearsal, guests asked about how the improvising was being informed, where the ideas were coming from – which told us that we should revisit how clear we are with aspect
  • another guest had been researching Margaret Clitheroe and was interested in how we were going to tell the story, as there are numerous versions of the story

Rehearsal three

  • Some sounds from rehearsal 
  • we practiced with visuals and stage setup and completed the first three pieces, also have a good idea on how the themes will be performed musically
  • the concept of shambles sounds as interlude music has come up

Workshop/Question period – mid show:

  • Ben and I found that our Being Human Festival Performance inspired audience members to come up to the stage and inquire about the equipment and tech behind the project
  • they wanted to see and “try” the percussion instruments and technology
  • This engagement with the audience helped to further their understanding of what we were doing, and in turn, inspired us to delve further into our creations