The Decibel Scoreplayer as a Portable Medium for Spatial Performance

Stuart James and Lindsay Vickery




The Decibel Scoreplayer is an iOS application for the presentation and network-synchronised scrolling of musical scores and audio on multiple iPads. In the scoreplayer formatted scores (.dsz. files) can be networked if they have the same file name and are of the same format (in this case “scrolling”), however the audiofile embedded in any instance of the .dsz need not have the same name. Therefore the number of channels of audio is only limited to the number of iPads in the network. The ability to pair withBluetooth speakers provides an extremely portable option for multichannel audio in site specific performances. In recent performances by the new music ensemble GreyWing, the scoreplayer has been used in this fashion to perform works by in site-specific and small-room concert locations and also as a source for multiple click-tracks. In this paper we explore the practice of diffusing multiple channels of audio using the decibel scoreplayer. In particular, we examine how well the platform performs for the purposes of multichannel audio synchronisation. The potential obstacles to precise synchronisation include the iPad response time, network issues and Bluetooth latency The implications of these findings will be discussed in terms of suitability for a range of spatial audio requirements.


Stuart is an award-winning Western Australian-based composer, performer, sound designer, audio engineer, and producer. His compositional work explores both acoustic and electronic instruments, and he has been commissioned to write compositions for the ABC, Decibel Ensemble, Tetrafide Ensemble, the WASO New Music Ensemble, and his work has been released on Tall Poppies. Stuart has been a founding member of the Decibel ensemble, and has performed as part of this ensemble throughout Europe and Asia. Stuart also manages and operates a commercial recording studio where he has collaborated with ShockOne, Kele Okereke, JMSN, Ta-ku, Loston, Jaime Page, and others. Stuart also completed his doctorate for research in spatial audio, spectral synthesis, and wave terrain synthesis, and has continued to publish regularly on music technology.

Composer/performer Vickery’s music includes works for acoustic and electronic instruments in interactive-electronic, improvised or fully notated settings, ranging from solo pieces to opera and has been commissioned by numerous groups for concert, dance and theatre. He is a founder member of ensembles GreyWing (2016-), Decibel (2009-), HEDKIKR (2001-) and Magnetic Pig (1993-2003). He writes and presents on a range of topics, most recently on the emergence of the “screenscore”, nonlinear music and the realisation of Cage’s music, in publications/conferences. He is coordinator of Composition and Music Technology at the WA Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University.