London: A British composer dubbed ‘King Canute’ has become the first in the world to perform music created by waves — in a swimming pool.
Dr Alexis Kirke transformed his body into a ‘giant baton’ by covering himself with motion sensors that controlled the water in a massive wave tank at the University of Plymouth, Devon.
The more he moved his arms, the louder and more intense the music became —just like a normal conductor, the Daily Mail reported.
Kirke, 42, used the sensors on his arms to manipulate the number and size of waves created by 24 giant paddles in the pool.
His movements controlled waves in the tank and gauges in the water then measured the water’s movements.
The gauges sent electronic signals to a synthesiser which created the music, which vaguely resembled whale song.
Raising his arms changed the pitch of the sound while joysticks also enabled him to change the volume. Kirke’s Orchestra Of Waves was watched by hundreds of people at the university.
It was performed after the Duke of Edinburgh opened the university’s new Marine Building, which contains the 35m by 15m tank.
Kirke has put together the 12-minute show with co-composer Samuel Freeman.
“I told him I wanted to be like King Canute, controlling the waves,” Kirke said.
Canute, the second son of King Sweyn of Denmark, became King of England in 1017. He is best remembered for his association with trying to turn back the tide.
It is said that his courtiers flattered him into believing he had the power to make the sea recede.
Some say that he then took his throne down to the shore and tried in vain to command the waves, until he nearly drowned.
Others suggest that he put on the futile demonstration to show his courtiers he was no fool—and thus put an end to their senseless talk.
“The show went very well and people in the audience were asking whether they could buy the music,” Kirke said.
“You are in a building and hear the noise of the waves and the smell and see them crashing down. There’s no way of explaining what it’s like to have dramatic sounds synchronised with that,” Kirke said.
The pool also contained a special buoy which made a sound like a deep bell ringing when hit by a wave.
The more the waves struck it, the more times the bells rang. Four students joined in with drumming.