Ashmolean Supersonic
'Supersonic' was the latest LiveFriday event to be held at the Ashmolean Museum

A supersonic night

Matt Pickles

The decibel level was raised at a sound-themed event at the Ashmolean Museum on Friday night (3 March).

SUPERSONIC was the latest event in the Museum's popular 'LiveFriday' series, and it involved Oxford University’s Music Faculty, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), Oxford Contemporary Music, and Oxford Brookes University’s Sonic Art Research Unit (SARU).

On the night, there were bite-sized lectures from many academics from the University’s Music Faculty, including Professor Eric Clarke.

‘LiveFriday’s ‘Supersonic’ theme was a great opportunity to showcase a whole variety of fascinating activities in and around sound, sound-art and music, involving the Oxford Faculty of Music, Oxford Contemporary Music and other guests and contributors,’ says Professor Clarke.

‘There are no human cultures without music - so music is as defining of what it is to be human as anything else. What better way to explore and acknowledge that fantastic human attribute than by coming to the wonderful Ashmolean Museum, and hearing, seeing and participating in all the musical performances, workshops and talks that will be on offer.’

Professor Clarke told an attentive audience about his new research into the link between music, empathy and cultural understanding. ‘Our research demonstrated that just listening to the music of other cultures can have significant effects on people’s more general cultural attitudes,’ he said.

There were performances from student electronic ensembles such as Sal Para (Tremor Recordings) and Wandering Wires.There were sound art installations throughout the museum, and an interactive songwriting workshop.

Perhaps the most eye-catching part of the event was a ‘swinging’ concert grand piano suspended high above the ground in the Ashmolean’s atrium.