Making Music with Indra

Indra is a virtual score platform for musical performance. A virtual score is musical notation designed to be presented digitally, rather than on paper, meaning that it can change in real time, during a performance.

A flowchart for making music with Indra.

Indra is a platform, not a composition, meaning that it can be the basis for live performances of many different compositions, as well as many different performances of the same composition. During rehearsals and performances, the conductor and performers are linked over a wireless network, allowing the conductor to transform the notation the performers see in real time.

Excerpts from two performances of Spring Flow by Drake Andersen using Indra. First performance: Kallie Ciechomski, viola; Ensemble Sans Maitre; Drake Andersen, conductor. Second performance: Kallie Ciechomski, viola; Mike Perdue and Jude Traxler, percussion; Drake Andersen, live electronics and conductor.

Compositions in Indra are called collections, and are made up of many short fragments of notation called clips. Each clip is tagged with metadata that describes its musical qualities, including pitch, register, key, articulation, duration, and other qualities. Metadata can be generated automatically by the software, or the composer can assign clips custom tags. During the performance, the conductor uses filters to select clips according to various musical properties, such as range, key, and duration.

The conductor’s interface in Indra, with filters for pitch range, key, density, and pitch class visible below.

Once performers sign on to the network, all they have to do is play. The performer patch displays a steady stream of clips on screen alongside dynamics, tempo and timing indications, and even instant messages from the conductor for troubleshooting. Performers can change their transpositions and clefs, and use the Practice Mode to shuffle through clips before rehearsal.

The performer’s interface in Indra, with the currently playing clip at top and the next clip previewed below.

Creating a collection in Indra is easy to do. Composers can use the native interface in Indra (with the help of the bach objects) to create clips, or import images and MusicXML files from the notation software of their choice.

Creating clips using the composer’s interface in Indra.

Click here to download Indra and try it for yourself.