CNMN > Projects > sonic cellphone meditation

Kathy Kennedy

  • Voice
  • Digital devices
  • 13 to 18 years of age
  • Adults
  • Intergenerational

20 minutes minimum

  • Community associations
  • Health

sonic cellphone meditation


This son­ic med­i­ta­tion allows par­tic­i­pants to impro­vise vocal­ly while explor­ing an out­door space with oth­ers. It is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to walk while singing, observ­ing the con­stant­ly chang­ing sounds of oth­er singers and phones. It is also an oppor­tu­ni­ty to lis­ten to the effects of phys­i­cal space on cer­tain sounds as well as the evolv­ing respons­es of oth­er singers. It invites focal lis­ten­ing (to one’s own cell­phone) as well as glob­al lis­ten­ing (to the oth­er voic­es, oth­er cell­phones and sur­round­ing sounds.

The cell­phone, using a free app ( plays a series of GPS trig­gered sounds as par­tic­i­pants walk through each zone. Instruc­tions are giv­en (son­i­cal­ly) at the begin­ning of the walk, invit­ing singers to either sing in uni­son or on any oth­er note any­time in response to the son­ic prompts they receive from their phone. The prompts are eas­i­ly pro­gram­ma­ble on the Echoes app.

In one case, the words ‘here’ and ‘now’ were sung on extend­ed tones and played in dif­fer­ent zones around a park area. Grad­u­al­ly par­tic­i­pants began to explore inter­act­ing with each oth­er. See video below.

It is social singing while being out­doors, ide­al­ly in a pub­lic space giv­ing every­one equal foot­ing on the area. (GPS is not as effec­tive indoors).

Where: Any out­door area with any par­tic­u­lar inter­est, geo­graph­i­cal­ly, social­ly, logistically
Dura­tion: 20 min­utes would be a minimum
Participants/Target Audi­ence: Any­one who loves group singing and listening.
Group Size: Any size is pos­si­ble. The greater the num­ber, the more vocal and cell­phone prompts, enrich­ing the son­ic possibilities.

Find a site that you would like to explore vocal­ly with oth­ers, one that you enjoy being in. Use the app to cre­ate your own walk by cre­at­ing ‘zones’ of any size filled with any sound you like, on a loop or just once. Invite par­tic­i­pants to down­load the free app which plays your walk when enter­ing the des­ig­nat­ed zones. One can stay in any zone for any length of time.

Par­tic­i­pants sing along in uni­son or any oth­er note any­time in each zone. Oth­er son­ic med­i­ta­tions can be cre­at­ed from dif­fer­ent kinds of son­ic prompts to elic­it dif­fer­ent kinds of vocal responses.

“The chal­lenge of com­pos­ing loops, their tonal­i­ties and rhythms, was inspir­ing for me. To hear stac­ca­to orches­tral hits, on my device and then mil­lisec­onds lat­er on another’s tick­led me. To hear har­monies and dis­so­nances dance at their own whim also was endear­ing. ” Josh Four­ney, participant.

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