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DANTE: Ancient Barbiton instrument played for first time in two thousand years at GeANT launch event
[December 14, 2009]

DANTE: Ancient Barbiton instrument played for first time in two thousand years at GeANT launch event

Cambridge, UK, Dec 14, 2009 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) -- The sound of the Barbiton, an ancient Greek instrument similar to the double bass, has been heard for the first time in 2,000 years, due to the power of research networking.

Recreated by the ASTRA (Ancient instruments Sound/Timbre Reconstruction Application) project, using computer modelling technology and the high-bandwidth pan-European GeANT and EUMEDCONNECT networks, the Barbiton took part in a unique inter-continental concert earlier this month as part of the GeANT Launch Event in Stockholm, Sweden. It was joined by another ancient Greek musical instrument, the harp-like Epigonion which was first heard again in 2008.

Accompanied by percussion, the instruments were played by the Lost Sounds Orchestra, following melodies from a musical score written by Dr Domenico Vicinanza of DANTE, the organisation that operates the GeANT and TEIN3 networks. The background music underpinning the melodies was based upon network traffic flows in the GeANT and Asia-Pacific TEIN3 networks, converted into sound through a "data sonification" process developed by Dr Vicinanza, which converts seismic data into sound-waves,.

The music was sent 9,300 km from the venue in Stockholmacross the GeANT and TEIN3 research networks to provide music for dancers from the Arts Exchange of Asia, allowing them to perform to the music at a simultaneous event in Kuala Lumpur, the ASEM (ASIA-Europe Meeting) workshop Gala Dinner. A recording of the performance is available at "Being able to hear the sound of the Barbiton, lost for many centuries, is a major step forward in our understanding and makes the past real for researchers and academics," commented Dr Vicinanza. "The sound-waves generated by the network have an incredible power and intrinsic richness. It was a fascinating challenge to write this piece of music for a dance performance based on the data the network engineers use every day. The sound of percussions and the warm notes of the Barbiton worked perfectly with the background melody from the GeANT and TEIN3 networks. The fact that we were providing music for a live dance performance on another continent only added to the challenge and the impact." The Barbiton is a heavy, multi-stringed instrument popular in ancient Greece. Producing a sound similar to a double bass, it was described in many poems and paintings of the time, and is known to have been played by the poets Alcaeus and Sappho. The ASTRA project used archaeological data as an input and then transformed it by a complex digital audio rendering technique to model the actual sound of the instrument. This advanced physical modelling synthesis creates a virtual model and visualisation of the instrument and reproduces the sound that it might have made by simulating its behaviour as a mechanical system.

ASTRA's computer modelling procedure demands enormous computing power. To achieve this it uses the advanced GeANT and EUMEDCONNECT research networks to link high capacity computers together, sharing information across grid computing infrastructures to enable the computer-intensive modelling of musical sounds.

The Lost Sounds Orchestra performing at the GeANT Launch Event in Stockholm, 1-2 December.

About DANTE DANTE is a non-profit organisation, coordinator of large-scale projects co-funded by the European Commission, and working in partnership with European National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) to plan, build and operate advanced networks for research and education. Established in 1993, DANTE has been fundamental to the success of pan-European research and education networking. DANTE has built and operates GeANT, which provides the data communications infrastructure essential to the success of many research projects in Europe. DANTE is involved in worldwide initiatives to interconnect countries in the other regions to one another and to GeANT. DANTE currently manages projects focussed on the Mediterranean, Asia-Pacific and central Asiaregions through the EUMEDCONNECT, TEIN and CAREN projects respectively.

About GeANT GeANT is the high speed European communication network dedicated to research and education. In combination with its NREN partners, GeANT creates a secure, high speed research infrastructure that serves 40 million researchers in over 8,000 institutions across 40 European countries. Operating at speeds of up to 10 Gbps, GeANT is the world's largest and most advanced multi-gigabit network dedicated to research and education. Building on the success of its predecessors, GeANT has been created around the needs of users, providing flexible, end to end services that transform the way that researchers collaborate. GeANT is at the heart of global research networking through wide ranging connections with other world regions, underpinning vital projects that bridge the digital divide and benefit society as a whole.

Co-funded by the European Commission under the EU's 7th Research and Development Framework Programme, GeANT is the e-Infrastructure at the heart of the EU's European Research Area and contributes to the development of emerging internet technologies. The project partners are 32 European National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), TERENA and DANTE. GeANT is operated by DANTE on behalf of Europe's NRENs.

About ASTRA The ASTRA projects aims to reconstruct the sound or timbre of ancient instruments using archaeological data as fragments from excavations, written descriptions and pictures. The technique uses is the physical modelling synthesis, a complex digital audio rendering technique which allows modelling the time-domain physics of the instrument. Sound is then generated using parameters that describe the physical materials used in the instrument and the user's interaction with it.

CONTACT: Paul Maurice, DANTE Tel: +44 (0)1223 371 300 e-mail: [email protected] WWW: Chris Measures, Speed Communications Tel: +44 (0)20 7842 3200 e-mail: [email protected] Matthew Watson, Speed Tel: +44 (0)20 7 842 3272 Tel: +44 (0)7810 187 043 e-mail: [email protected] WWW: GeANT WWW: ASTRA WWW: ((M2 Communications disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at on the world wide web. Inquiries to [email protected].

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