Txalaparta Workshop

Join us in learning the Basque txalaparta percussion
Thu Mar 09 2023

Applications are now open for a workshop on the traditional percussive instrument: Txalaparta! The workshop will be held on April 11th from 1-6 pm followed by a concert at 8pm. The workshop will be held in the Dynjandi auditorium at LHÍ at Skipholt 31 - and outdoors if the weather gods allow.

Date: 11th April 2023
Workshop: 13:00-18:00
Concert: 20:00-22:00 (optional)
Deadline for applications: March 28th 2023
A couple of people playing a wooden percussion instrument.

Sophie and Victor from the lab trying out the txalaparta.

The txalaparta is a traditional Basque percussion instrument for two performers. It has a unique performance method as it needs two performers to play - its performance is about the commuication between the two players. The instrument is played by hitting wooden batons straight down onto wooden planks (not tuned in any notes) and controlling weight, force and velocity. It is a play between physics and control.

The two performers then communicate rhythmically: one person strikes, another replies, and slowly a conversation takes place that gets more exciting as time passes. This is pure improvisation, there is no notation or compositional pieces for the instrument.

Two example performances (without AI):

The txalaparta is perhaps a method rather than an instrument, and this is one of its beautiful qualities: how easy it is to build. People can play the txalaparta anywhere out in nature or at the dinner table (warning, take care of your furniture though). The name of the instrument is believed to refer to “racket”, which relates to the sound of the instrument.

A txalaparta stick connected to cables.

We're collecting data from players to develop creative AI

The workshop will introduce the percussive techniques used to play the instrument and the possibilities of introducing creative AI technologies developed at the lab. We have been exploring how machine learning models can perform with a human player. The workshop will therefore teach the technique and also give workshop participants the opportunity to play against an AI system (name of your own choosing).

For the workshop we seek participants of diverse musical and cultural backgrounds, everyone is welcome, but the workshop size will be 12-18 participants plus workshop leaders. Musical education or experience is a big plus but not necessary.

In this workshop two experienced txalaparta players from Bilbao (Ibon and Enrike) will introduce the performance technique, we will do some exercises and improvise. We will also explore the Intelligent Txalaparta, a machine learning addition to the instrument made by the members of the Intelligent Instruments Lab at the Iceland University of the Arts. We will study how new artificial intelligence technologies can become part of musical performance. But most importantly we will have fun getting to know this amazing instrument with a fascinating musical tradition and history.

The workshop will culminate with a concert at 8 pm at the end of the workshop day where music from the workshop will be performed.

See a live performance by the Basque music duo Ibon RG and Enrike Hurtado on Basque TV here

APPLY HERE: https://forms.office.com/e/qk00dWNRxy

The workshop is free and we are running it only for one day. Applicants must send in a short application using the form before midnight on March 28th. We will aim to invite a diverse group of 12-18 people for the workshop. All applicants will be notified about the selection via email.

Txalaparta planks stacked side by side with sensors at the bottom.

How can artificial intelligence become part of musical performance?

The IIL is also hosting an experimental Basque concert in Mengi on April 6th, with Ibon RG and Enrike Hurtado. https://iil.is/news/experimental_basque

A man playing txalaparta, in the background a yellow shelving system.

Lab associate Karl Jóhann with the txalaparta he's developing with creative AI