Immersive History
Immersive History project logo

Early Music performers

The Immersive History project will equip performers with a new set of tools and methods, and provide audiences with new ways of engaging with and experiencing site-specific performances.

In addition, by providing musicians with unconstrained access to virtual acoustic spaces, performers will be able to rehearse in a site-specific way, which is simply not possible otherwise.

The physical dimensions and locations of many historic Scottish spaces impose limits on their use in performance.

Scotland's unique geography and population distribution presents challenges in engaging geographically-dispersed and other hard-to-reach communities in site-specific performances.

This embedding of space in performance practice should lead to new insights and perspectives on established repertoire, the nature of historic performance practice, and perhaps new or rediscovered performance technique in response.  

Our performance partner: the Binchois Consort

The Binchois Consort are a world-renowned vocal ensemble specialising in the performance of Medieval and Renaissance music.

They already have an interest in working with heritage partners (Nottingham Castle Museum) in order to broaden their own audience and to bring others into museums, and engagement with academic partners.

The Consort will benefit from a strengthening and enlargement of their audience.

The online presence of the multimedia output will enable the consort to access a market which might not traditionally attend Early Music concerts and which might have difficulties accessing concert venues.

The link with St Cecilia’s Hall and other heritage partners will similarly give them access to new audiences.

They will also benefit from the opportunity to explore the potential of virtual reality and immersive media to reinvigorate and challenge existing modes of performance.

Our performance partner: the Royal Scottish National Orchestra

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra will benefit from our research about the potential for immersive media to enlarge audiences and, particularly, to bring in new and hard to reach audiences.

Impact activities

Find out how the project encourages active engagement with partners from the national technology sector in the three disciplines of

  • Early Music,
  • sonic interaction design,
  • and physical, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) computing.

Research context

Early Music currently stands somewhat at a cross-road, from the perspective of both performance and musicology.

The number of universities offering Early Music as part of the curriculum continues to dwindle. It is therefore important that new public audiences are found in other ways.

At the same time, interest in historically informed performance, and particularly in the recreation of historical performance contexts, continues to be important to the scholarly community.

An important recent project, the AHRC-funded Experience of Worship, provides an analogue for what we hope to achieve digitally.

Experience of Worship used a physically recreated 15th-century church for the historical recreation (including music, liturgy, decoration, lighting, and clothing) of a performance or worship context.

We hope to compare these two approaches, examining

  • what additional benefits a digital recreation may offer against physical recreation,
  • where it might fail to live up to analogue models, and
  • what this might teach us about immersion in Virtual Reality more broadly.