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‘Soundpaths: Heptonstall’ is an immersive, interactive musical work that uses audio augmented reality (AAR) to blend the performed music with the soundscape of the performance location; the village of Heptonstall in West Yorkshire. The music is a blend of folk instrumentation and field recordings captured at the performance location itself. The composition is performed through a GPS-enabled Smartphone and headphones through the Soundpaths app which can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play Store. The piece can also be experienced through the free Echoes app. 

‘Soundpaths: Heptonstall’ is an arrangement of a traditional Yorkshire folk song, Lyke Wake Dirge, that tells of the hazards the soul faces on its way from the material world to purgatory. The song was chosen in reference to the belief that more than 100,000 bodies are buried in this small village, largely due to the fact that burials in the Upper Calder Valley could only take place in Halifax or Heptonstall until the 17th Century. By offering audiences an immersive, site-specific experience, they can be encouraged to develop a deeper engagement with the history of a performance location. The arrangement of the song is mapped to the location; changing as participants move from one section of the village to another; hear a lone voice singing the song in the ruins of the old church, or hear it underpinned by a hellish drone outside the Cross Inn pub; site of a grisly murder. The different sections of the song are seamlessly blended together to provide a fluid experience of a single piece of music across the performance area – but one that adapts to audience movement as they explore the village in any way they wish.

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The field recordings used in Soundpaths: Heptonstall include sounds that were captured in the village itself and on the surrounding moors. 

All of these field recordings were incorporated into the final work - some in their raw form, some after various degrees of processing. 



Soundpaths: Heptonstall: Using Placed Sound and Augmented Reality to Engage Audiences with the History of a Performance Location - Conference paper presented at Intangible Heritages Conference 2022, University of Kent, Canterbury, UKDOWNLOAD

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