Composer Scott L. Miller’s SonAR II, a “soundwalk” app is now available and offering users an immersive audio experience at Minnehaha Regional Park in Minneapolis. Miller composed new music using the environmental sounds of Minnehaha Falls and the surrounding park as inspiration for the public to interactively experience while on a self-guided walk through the park. The SonAR II app will be available to the public on June 25 through the Apple App Store and Google Play.
SonAR (Sonic Augmented Reality) II was created for listeners to experience Minnehaha Regional Park with a new and unique perspective. Using GPS, users follow a map on the app with a recommended path and start location. With headphones in, they hear Miller’s composition layered over the ambient sounds of the park while exploring the path. Each person’s unique movement, Miller’s composition, and the sounds of the park, combine to create a unique experience.
Tips for experience the soundwalk:
- It takes about 30 minutes at a comfortable walking pace to travel the recommended path, but can be as long or as short as desired by the listener.
- Users best experience the intended layering of sound when wearing earbuds or headphones that allow ambient sound to come through (not noise-canceling headphones).
SonAR is a shared, but individual public art experience. Listeners wearing headphones each have an individual experience while together in a common, public space. Exploring this phenomenon has taken on even greater relevance in light of the transformations that COVID-19 is imposing on our notions of art and shared cultural events.
Miller’s SonAR I: St. Cloud State University first explored the potential of a smartphone-based music connected to the environment. It was a single composition in 10 parts designed for the St. Cloud State University campus that sounds different based on where a listener is standing and changes as the listener walks and hears natural sounds. Participants access the composition through an app on their cellphone. SonAR I is also available on Android and Apple.
Dr. Scott Miller’s website for Sonic Augmented Reality (SonAR) II Minnehaha Falls contains information about the project and Dr. Miller’s background.
SonAR II app
Minnehaha Falls is a 53-foot waterfall and is a feature attraction at the Minnehaha Regional Park in Minneapolis.
Dr. Scott Miller is a professor of Music at St. Cloud State and a composer best known for his electroacustic chamber music and ecosystemic performance pieces.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote about SonAR II, the Minnehaha Park soundwalk app in August.
The Hellervik Prize is awarded annually to a St. Cloud State faculty member advancing knowledge on issues of important through research our creative work.