MapFund

About the Grant

$27,500 to support Playing with the City (MAP 2005), a public installation with live performances based on Indian ragas and jazz improvisation performed by five musicians and a 4-story wind harp.

About the Project

Dancing in the Streets has commissioned architect/composer ChristopherJanney to create City Harp—a 5-story stringed instrument that will beinstalled for 10 days in October 2006 in a centrally located New YorkCity public location. Modeled after the Aeolian harp—an ancientinstrument played by the wind—City Harp will be played by the wind and, using electronic receivers and filters, it will transform the urban din of the city into a vivid musical soundscape.

As the harp’s strings are activated by the wind, they will trigger the sound inherent to their material and sounds which are in the air—radiowaves, television waves, etc. Janney and his associate musicians will process and mix these sounds, altering and embellishing their basic sonic patterns through a mixing console to create a strange but beautiful urban choir.

City Harp includes Playing with the City, acomposition by Janney comprised of 10 original musical pieces. The work is based on structured jazz improvisation as well as Indian ragas, in which certain musical progressions are designed for different parts ofthe day. During the 10-day installation, the work will be performed daily, beginning on the first day in the morning and each day progressing to a later time.

Playing with the City will be performed on tabla, saxophone, bass, and other instruments, together with the giant harp, which will serve as the work’s “drone instrument.” Janney will control the harp and be joined by an ensemble of leading Indian and jazz musicians.

Artist's rendering of Christopher Janney's <EM>City Harp.</EM>
Artist's rendering of Christopher Janney's City Harp.

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