Music and virtual reality intersect with increasing frequency in today’s technological landscape. Numerous artists have recorded 360-degree music videos for viewing with a VR headset. While others, like AmplifyVR, utilize VR technology to create immersive listening experiences in which artists perform in otherworldly locations with influence from their audience. The new technology also enables listeners to play along with their favorite songs. Now, a new innovation called SolsticeVR intuitively merges music and VR for music composition.
What is SolsticeVR?
SolsticeVR is described as an “electronic music composition sandbox” by its creator, Dr. Roy Magnuson, a professor at Illinois State University’s School of Music. This virtual reality experience places users in a digital composition space where they can interact with audio, alter sounds to achieve a vast array of effects, and make recordings. While many electronic music software offerings exist, they often have steep learning curves and high price tags. SolsticeVR is more accessible to the layperson and offers a different type of user experience.
In SolsticeVR, even novice musicians can quickly grasp exploratory, playful means of composition. Users can reach out and grab sounds and then move them around in order to alter pitch, echoes, and 3D positional audio. In addition, they can choose from an array of menus that includes options, such as mic effects, to apply different qualities to the audio.
Built on the Unity Platform
Dr. Magnuson took online courses and certifications in Unity in order to learn how to do the code work on Solstice VR. The software itself was inspired by his love of music and gaming and his commitment to utilizing technology to benefit artists, including his students. Dr. Magnuson told Illinois University News:
“VR is a tool, not a gimmick. We are witnessing the inception. We’re entering a new computing age, and just how profoundly mixed reality will be – with a convergence of virtual and augmented reality – we can’t comprehend. I want to figure out how to own that for art and for creatives to do good.”
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