MusicLab vol. 2: Breath

MusicLab Vol. 2 explores the concept of breathing - in music and in the body. All within MusicLab’s unique blend of research and edutainment through hands-on workshops, intellectual warm-ups, performances and data jockeying.

Breathing is vital for human life, hence also for music performance and perception. But what is breathing, what does it mean for music, and how can we measure it? These are questions we address in this second volume of our new research edutainment concept MusicLab.

Recent technological developments allow for non-invasive and portable solutions to collect breathing data, making it easier to quickly and efficiently see and use information from our bodies. We invite everyone to learn more about such sensing, and will test out the sensors in a musical setting in the evening.


Time Content Location
13:00 Workshop on the FLOW sensor Informatics library
14:00 Coffee break Informatics library
14:15 Hands-on with FLOW Informatics library
16:00 Dinner for workshop participants Canteen
19:00 Intellectual warm-up Escape
20:00 Concert Escape
21:00 Data jockeying Escape

Workshop: FLOW breathing sensor

The workshop will focus on the new breathing sensor FLOW, made by the Norwegian company Sweetzpot. This is wearable breathing monitor that gives you the complete picture of your breathing activity, pattern, and rate.

Participants will be introduced to FLOW by research scientist Sagar Sen, and led through the basics of breathing data collection. Next, they try FLOW through practical exercises. Eventually, participants combine hardware and software to generate breathing patterns and visualizations. At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to keep their own breathing prints and visuals.

Who can attend?

The workshop is open to anyone passionate about sound, music, physical activities, and technology. Musical and academic background does not matter as long as you are ready to get in touch with new technologies and explore the possibilities of understanding more about how you breathe.

What to bring?

Bring a laptop and/or a smartphone.

How does it work?

See below for breathing data recorded of opera singer Njål Sparbo.

Intellectual Warm-Up

The evening programme starts with an intellectual warm-up with an exciting panel:

They will discuss questions such as:

  • What is breathing?
  • What is the difference between volume and flow in breathing?
  • How is breathing important for a singer
  • How can breathing be measured?
From the panel discussion, from left: Alexander Refsum Jensenius, Njål Sparbo, Elisabeth Edvardsen, Sagar Sen. (Photo: Sophie Barth/UiO)


The performance features three renowned Norwegian performers:

They will perform a varied set of composed and improvised pieces:

  • Harp solo
  • Edvard Grieg: Harpen
  • Edvard Grieg: Osterlied
  • Geirr Tveitt: Marskveld
  • Percussion solo
  • Arne Nordheim: Den første sommerfugl
  • Harp solo
  • Magnar Åm: Det var mjukt
  • Harp/percussion improvisation

Each of the performers will wear breathing sensors during the performance, and data from some additional audience members will also be collected.

Njål Sparbo and Ellen Sejersted Bødtker performing Grieg. (Photo: Sophie Barth/UiO)

Data Jockeying (live remixing of concert data)

After the gig we invite you to stay for a beer accompanied by a data jockeying session lead by PhD fellow Tejaswinee Kelkar. This includes live analysis and remixing of data recorded during the performance.

Data jockeying
PhD fellow Tejaswinee Kelkar leads the data jockeying session, showing breathing patterns of the audience members. (Photo: Sophie Barth/UiO)


fourMs and The Science Library
Published June 16, 2018 12:03 PM - Last modified Mar. 7, 2022 12:04 PM